Monday, August 25, 2014

Black and White Thinking

Korea is now a first world country; little difference from other countries enjoying material prosperity. A professor writing in the diocesan bulletin continues his discussion with obstacles to communication, and this time it is the black and white thinking: either-or fallacy-- all or nothing. With  material prosperity we seem to be  prone for this either-or outlook.

In society we have: the conservative progressive divide, right and left, the government in power and those wanting the power, the young and old, city and country, the polarization is becoming more serious. The country is divided into camps of black and white thinking.

Logic makes clear that  we are dealing with contradictory positions. There is no middle way. The black denies the white and the white the black. Right or wrong, good or bad they are against. Both positions are not able to exist together-- one has to  overcome the other.This kind of thinking does not allow for co-existence but confrontation and conflict.

In the past when the left confronted the right and the right the left, we talked about the center. Those in the center disliked both positions. Black and white thinkers  saw the center as opportunists without a position.They were not accepted by either group-- objects of scorn and ridicule. When two whales are fighting the squid in between gets squashed. While the fight continues both are hurt as is the society in which they live.

This black and white position does not allow for dialogue and prevents dialogue from happening. Each group is wedded to what they agree, and will not open the door to understanding something new. The idea that communication has to do with what is similar and what is different is a premise for communication which has little value to these two  antagonists, and the reason for using force and violence. This is the reason we have violence in the family, school, society, work place, in politics and religion.

A bird needs both the left and right wing to fly.  When one of the wings  is out of commission the bird can't fly. But even with the two wings the bird can't fly for it is the body that gives the wings the motor power necessary. The wings have to be attached to the body to fly; with two equal wings we have harmony and balance.The wings with harmony and balance are able to carry the bird to where it wants to go. A conflict between the wings brings disaster. 

What is necessary to overcome this black and white thinking is to allow this middle area to have some different in-put. When the black and white join together we have all kinds of different colors that enter into the mix, making for harmony and balance. We have communication and co-existence. We have a healthy society.

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