Everything is complicated…

I am fascinated by the ways our brains work, and how it can lead us astray. This week I have been into the Wikipedia lists of cognitive biases and of fallacies. One of my favorites is the idea of false dichotomies (because I see them *all* the time).

A google search gave me this good definition:
A false dichotomy or false dilemma occurs when an argument presents two options and ignores, either purposefully or out of ignorance, other alternatives.

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This is the terrible graphic I made to illustrate false dichotomies on my free ipad drawing app…

I almost always want to bring the other options to the table. I fear this often makes me sound argumentative. That does not stop me when say, a friend posts an awesome video on Facebook with the caption ‘this is why you buy kids Legos and blocks and not play stations..’. Why can’t we do both? One or the other are not the only options, and I do think there are good things and bad things about both. Or when I am told ‘you like GMOs’ (as opposed to being anti GMO). Ideally at this point I say ‘whoa whoa, hold the phone. I see the potential for good and bad in GMOs, and I do not want to rid the world of the potential good in the process of making sure the bad does not come to pass’. I am rarely this articulate or quick in person. Point being, it is complicated, not black and white.

Our society particularly loves putting things into little defined boxes. We are raised seeing things in black and white. Good vs bad, hero vs villain, you are with us or against us. I have a heartfelt belief that nothing is this simple, though our conversations are often framed in this simple way. I am aiming for more nuance.

I am also aiming to learn to recognize more things on the Wikipedia lists in an effort to not fall into/for them. Though I think I will start with what is in this little book because it is a bit more fun with illustrations…

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5 thoughts on “Everything is complicated…

  1. Agreed! There is a gray area involved in everything. It isn’t just black or white. As a society, we see each other as either masculine or feminine, skinny or fat, smart or stupid. But it is never that clearly defined. I couldn’t agree more with this post! Love your blog(: care to check out mine? downwiththenorm.com

  2. Your post made me think of the quote (command) by John Green to “imagine others complexly.”
    ‘Others’ can be ideas as well as people.

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