We are told that the world is black and white. Politics, wars, debates, choices, thoughts they are black and they are white. You are either left wing or right, for or against, you read this paper or that one, PlayStation or Xbox, iPhone or Android. You make a choice, you pick a side, you join a tribe and feel somehow safer, immersed, warm in the solid tone of your choosing.
Of course the world has more definition, it is not just shades of grey that occupy the vast chasm, but every single shade, tone and colour imaginable.
How did we get to a state where the colour of the world has been replaced with black and white? Control. Everything is so incredibly complex isn’t it. Politicians, newpapers, tv-channels, academics, youtubers, even friends swarm around vying for your attention. But how can they influence and gather a tribe when the planet, and every story within it, is so infinitely faceted. The answer is simplicity itself – by simplifying – like magic the world is suddenly less frightening and much easier to understand, the spiralling falling sense of existential dread curves into a straight line. You step to the left or to the right with satisfaction and thanks to the controlling party for explaining in a way you understand. You can learn all the key points impacting the world while gazing at your iphone (or android) stirring your morning cup of coffee (or tea).
Technology, binary by nature, is happy to assist you. Your algorithms alter. 1’s become 0’s, 0’s become 1’s. The information flooding into your eyes from your precious glowing square provides a sense of having made the right choice, joined the right gang. Your mind is rewarded, your thoughts become fixed, the algorithm strengthens.
To step away from this form of control takes effort and ultimately means you no longer feel safely ensconced. To acknowledge that the world is a terrifying and ultimately chaotic place takes guts. To stand up and argue a different point of view may lose you friends. But you become wiser, stronger and no longer under anyone’s control.
My ask to you is to exercise empathy, seek first to understand another perspective before dismissing it. Understand what you can and cannot influence in the world and be accepting of this. When you take the time to do this you will feel that you are taking control. And when those oddly secure walls of black and white start to crumble around you, you will realise it was a prison and the colour of the world can be observed in all it’s beauty.
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