Some Awesome People

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Shades of Grey

Earlier this morning, I did one of those Facebook quizzes in which they are supposed to tell you what kind of person or thinker you are. For me, these quizzes are often correct - of course I don't believe in the answers and let them guide my fate, but I'm not going to go into the accuracy of quizzes and New Age and all that right now.

I just thought it was interesting that the quiz decided that I was the "ideal idealist." The rest of the results were quite on point:

Your optimistic attitude allows you to see the best in people and to have a lighter perspective on life [to an extent, says Anna with a grim smile]. You truly believe that all people are born with goodness inside of their hearts and that through compassion, communication and understanding the world can be a better place. You don't see the world from a black and white perspective, you empathize with people and appreciate the beauty in our differences. You are always noticing the symbolic meanings hidden in everyday things and noticing light around you even when others see darkness.

What really stuck out at me was the part about not seeing the world from a black and white perspective. At first, I just thought it was wrong, coming from a traditionalist background where everything is black and white. But when I thought about it... I realized that this is true of me.

While I do see rules and virtues and morals in a black and white way... I don't see the world in that way. I don't see people that way. God and His angels and all the people in Heaven are white. Some very amazing people who do only the right thing are white, too, or are almost completely white - maybe not quite there yet. The citizens of Hell are black. But people are shades of grey, depending on how they choose to live their life. Very good people are more white than others and very evil people are more black than others. But just because you've made yourself darker in one part of your life does not mean that you can redeem yourself with good deeds. There is still hope. However, the opposite is also true. Just because you've lived a good life doesn't mean that it can't fall apart and you can't end your life being close to pure black.

I always try to see the white in people, no matter how dark they are. I search for goodness and I want to draw it out, help it flourish. I think many people are dark because of the way life treated them. Perhaps someone whom they needed the most left them in the lurch. Sometimes people fall into darkness because of other people. And, unfortunately, many people who caused others to fall into darkness did not even realize it - perhaps they do not even care. Sometimes it is the people who think they have the most white on their soul actually have some of the blackest hearts. The example that comes to mind is the policeman Javert from Hugo's Les Misérables who thinks himself justified as he hunts down Jean Valjean for his entire life, the poor man always having to live on the run.

So, no, I guess I don't see the world in black and white. Maybe actions, but not people. People are shades of grey.


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