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Neither Black Nor White

Reading the Blogosphere can be sometimes frustrating. Virtually every issue is framed as a black-or-white argument. Yet life is far more complex and nuanced than that.

And we all know that in our hearts. Yet that doesn’t stop people from rambling on and on about an issue they feel strongly about, as though truly there were only one “right” answer.

I wear probably a dozen different hats in any given day, from Internet tycoon (I wish!) and community overseer, to philosophical writer and hard-ass editor. I handle the business side of a website, but also do deep dives on a dozen different research topics in any given week. And the more I learn and read, the more I realize that there is nothing in this world that is simply black or white. That is, virtually every issue has nuances and complexities that are often left out of most peoples’ analyses.

The acknowledgment of this plain and simple truth is a little painful. Why? Because it means even in peoples’ writing I admire, there’s going to be this tendency for them to bias their viewpoint toward something other than the facts. So when someone is purporting to be simply reporting some facts or some information about something, they’re actually subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) writing in a way to influence the reader.

Sure, sure, I know I should know this already. There is nothing new here. But the tendency to frame everything as an either-or issue is frustrating. The world is so much more complex than that. People don’t just do or write things based upon a single motivation; neither do most organizations or companies. We all act upon multiple motivations and reasons, and nothing is so clear as we’d like it to be.

I worked for years in an organization shrouded in secrecy. So now the default whenever someone talks about the organization or its products is based upon that original (long since abandoned) secrecy. Organizations and people can change, but one’s beliefs about that organization or person will forever be based upon those long-standing first impressions.

I don’t know the answer, only that I seek to find — in my own naive way — the “truth” behind all the spin in today’s world. Whether it be a company pursuing more revenues or a person who holds a grudge, I want to get to the bottom of what others are writing and always discover the in-between, the middle ground.

Because it is ultimately our similarities that bring us together, and help us understand and further knowledge.

Neither Black Nor White

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Neither Black Nor White. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 7 Mar 2008)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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