In psychology, “black-and-white thinking” is a defense mechanism that helps the brain cope by pushing things to their extremes. If there is a crisp division between “right” and “wrong,” things are easier, yeah? It’s not so overwhelming to decide how to behave if we can boil a situation down to two basic options.
Like a lot of fairytales, it sure does sound nice on the surface.
But so few things in life are truly black-and-white, all-or-nothing, either/or. The problem with “black-and-white thinking” is that it’s almost always a logical fallacy.
And a logical fallacy is just that: it is false, illogical. You can‘t reason with a fallacy. You reject it and find a frame that suits the situation better.
So why do people avoid hanging out in all that gray between black and white? Because gray is blurry. There are way more decisions to make when we navigate the gray.
I’m sorry to say it, but life is already mostly in the gray in-between. And it is no time for us to splinter into camps when we all could stay on the same team. Nebraskans are suffering tremendously as COVID-19 continues to move through our communities and swamp our hospitals and care systems.
What if we didn’t splinter in the face of such challenges? It is easier to hang out in the gray when we accept that we are here together. The extremes get lonely: we’d rather face reality and work through it with each other.
Across the coming years, we will learn more about the science of this pandemic and the damage it will continue to inflict even on those who survive. In the meantime, we don’t need things to be totally “black-and-white” to move in the right direction.
Stay safe enough.
Avoid unnecessary risks.
Use our resources as wisely as we can.
What do we stand to gain when we hang out in this blurry space? We get share each other’s strength in this tough time. We get to hold out some hope for the road ahead, the other side.
Clients, we’re grateful to get to work with you, even in this tough time. Have questions about your own options? Let’s talk.
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