enlightenment and shades of gray

grays black and white

“You can’t just lump things into two categories.

Things aren’t that simple.”

=

Donnie Darko

——–

“… for one thing I’m glad

the goal of enlightenment means being stupid

enough to slip out the door

each morning & live. With no second-guessing,

no poses,

just this leaning & slouching

the experts term … hope.

So people like me cannot be held guilty.

In our travels

we’d never laugh at passing streets,

we’re not like those grins they have

plastered to the sides of every bus. “

=

David Rivard

——–

So.

This is about Life and tying things up with a colorful bow versus living with some <the> gray.

Ok.

uncertainty is a bitchLet’s call this thought ‘uncertainty.’

Well.

Let me state a couple of obvious things about uncertainty.

Uncertainty is a bitch. And uncertainty pretty much sums up about 99% of Life.

Bottom line?

Life is certainly uncertain <there is a conundrum>.

 

Guarantees are never guaranteed. A truth today can be very different than a truth from yesterday.

And control from one moment to the next is slippery, elusive and … well … uncertain … at best.

 

Now.

Despite the fact I want to discuss Life, and gray, I will begin with the human eye because … well … it is interesting and it will help me make a point. The human eye is capable of seeing any shade of gray and a zillion different colors. Ok. Not a zillion. But, in total, the eye can distinguish over 500 shades of grey and over 2.7 million colors <although I found another source that suggested over 5 million colors>. <source: NZ Eye Institute>

 

By the way <let me digress>.

I found it interesting that grey can also bring any color to life.

rose-colored-glassesApparently grey often contains other colors  ranging from yellowish to orangey-brownish to purplish, bluish and greenish grays … and apparently depending on what hue of gray you use their psychological effects on people can be quite different.

Anyway.

I began there because … well … gray has a bad rap in today’s world.

Black & white have a significantly better reputation. It is unfortunate because Life exists mostly in a palette of grays.

We live in a world of uncertainties and contextual truths of … well … grays. I imagine that makes ‘vivid color moments’ of clarity that much more special.

Conversely.

It can be quite unsettling given the unfortunate fact the majority of time we dwell in the gray.

Me?

I can live with uncertainty in most things.

Even decisions.

Huh?

Well.

Honestly … a decision is most often a reflection of judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. And yet it is rarely a choice between right and wrong. It is often at best a choice between ‘almost right’ and mostly likely a ‘probably wrong.  And much more often you are making a choice between two choices of which neither is probably more right than the other. This is because ‘right decisions’ tend to grow out of the friction and conflict of divergent thinking <sometimes just opinions> and out of contemplation and consideration of competing alternatives.

And we make lots & lots of these decisions.

Compound that with a thought I read somewhere … ‘every decision is like surgery.’ While we may flippantly suggest that we make decisions and ‘move on’ … more often it is an intervention into a system and therefore carries with it the risk of shock.

Ouch.

shades of grey nuanceThis actually means that I receive a vivid color response for making a gray decision.

 

Well.

Welcome to Life. And maybe worse? <or at least something to think about>.

Your decisions are dabbling in the shades of gray and yet you have to be committed to the decision if you want any hope of progress.

Yup.

Because, if you do not, nothing will change. You will end up endlessly wandering around outside that ‘box’ <because all the shades of gray actually reside in ‘out of the box thinking’ without any clear or vivid direction. No one really tells you this but all the vivid colors and vivid moments and vivid decisions in life actually reside inside the box.

It is inside the box you actually can be an adventurer.

It is inside the box that you make a stand.

Make a commitment.

Make a decision that provides a little spot color … a little bright light … to the box.

 

Just think about it a little.

You can go outside the box if you want to but you will most likely end up doing something that seems right to you … and maybe feel good. But most likely only because you are outside the box all alone without anyone to criticize or even see. That’s not an adventure. An adventure is a complete experience.  gray the attraction

It is inside the box where it happens.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. 

For, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

=

Margaret Mead

In dealing with a shades of gray Life you do have to be adventuresome and committed.

I posted the above quote maybe in the first two days I started this whole enlightened conflict site thing.

With life mostly made up of shades of gray it is really only the thoughtful committed people who have a chance to bring some color.

 

The color may not be appealing in some cases … but who cares? I don’t like everything every small group of committed thoughtful people say or do <and in fact I sometimes, in weaker moments, question whether they are truly thoughtful and maybe they should be committed to some loony bin rather than trying to be people committed to something>.

But then I understand.

I understand that their commitment makes me more thoughtful. And I am okay with that. They point out that life does reside in grays … but that greys DO contain other colors and bring colors to Life.

 

Anyway.

In a world in which so much resides in shades of grey I tend to believe it pays to be thoughtful and less flippant about decisions … particularly if it truly is an important decision <although I will admit sometimes it is difficult to discern the really important from just ‘the important’ … shit … the grey thing again>. Maybe it helps me to suggest that with so much grey … we should remain committed to doing “what is the right thing to do” <versus what maybe everyone else is suggesting be done>.

It is truly the hope to building some aspect of color into the greys. And maybe that is where I am going with this rambling.

Enlightenment resides in discerning the hues of color found in the greys of Life. The vivid momenst are so few and far apart that waiting for them … or investing an entire life to seeking them … means you miss out on the enlightenment life has to offer you.

So maybe we should seek to be part of the thoughtful and committed small group of people who don’t bemoan the shades of grey but rather embrace the colors within … and thoughtfully tease the colors out for others to view.

 

Look.

I tend to believe we try far too often to categorize things in black and white … in extremes. And we do so in the attempt for clarity … as well as to make it distinct and stand out.

I admit.

I tend to do just that.

Unfortunately for me, and us, many times truth <and colors> lies somewhere in the middle … in the shades of gray as it were.

Good people can do bad things.

Bad people can do good things.

Bad ideas can end up in good places.

shades of grey story momentAnd colors can peek out between the many shades of gray.

 

Enlightenment can be found ‘in the box’ if we would stop eying the random vivid elusive colors we envision somewhere outside the box.

 

Look.

Inside the box may look a lot like a grey place to reside … but only if you don’t see the color that grey brings out.

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Written by Bruce