Life is complex and overwhelms us. Answers for living are rarely simple. Black, white, good, bad, right or wrong, seldom describe solutions for living well.
Gray is normal in the complexity of living with seven billion people on this planet we all call home.
Wisdom, it seems to me, would best be described as living well in the gray.
Oh how we need it!
What do we want?
To live well.
But the answers given us by the institutions around us seem nothing more than an attempt to make the entire gray around us either black or white. Each one attempts to indoctrinate us to respond to people and situations with completely for or against responses. The indoctrination purports itself as truth and does its best to convince us that anybody should easily see it as such.
This leads to an “all or nothing”, “slippery slope” approach to every important topic that needs thoughtful discussion. It is painted in black and white terms from both sides and each side demonizes the other. We are divided and conquered. We hate each other without reason because we are labeled as right or wrong, bad or good instead of reasonable or wise or human. We have become a culture of strident voices. We fight for power so we can enforce that which we claim to be right.
We judge, but we don’t use good judgment. We are guilty of pat answers that we have received from the sources we have chosen to listen to.
A very incomplete list of topics we hate each other with could include:
- Police Brutality
- Political Party
- Economic System
The constant need for right or wrong, black or white, good or bad, has made us slaves of the very things we judge others of. Fundamentalism has become the pejorative that rightly describes our approaches to each other. We refuse to listen to each other’s hearts and reasoning. This modus operandi makes us intolerant of any opinion outside our groupthink. Its result is the demeaning of any human being who thinks thoughts other than those inside our walls.
I don’t care if you call yourself progressive or liberal or conservative or evangelical, or Muslim or Christian or Jew or Hindu. If we judge others from our own black or white, right or wrong, good or bad point of view, we will continue to devolve into isolated walled cities yelling epithets at each other.
Life’s answers are not the ones our current institutions keep screaming at us. Their right or wrong epithets are nothing but the strings of control that those in power move their puppets with.
Gray is where we live and always has been. We don’t know the perfect answer to everything.
Living well in the gray of life is called wisdom. It is more important than anything else in making decisions.
As one ancient wise man has expressed it, may we once again become “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”.
I have come to believe that control of thought (fundamentalism) is Wisdom’s opposite.
Will we leave behind the age of fundamentalism and open the door to the age of Wisdom?
Will we replace our judging of each other with good judgment on ways to make this world a wonderful and sustainable place for all of us to live?
Oh God, I hope so.
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