Outgrowing the Viewpoint…

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told that life is complex, that there is no black and white, that things are forever gray and mixed.

There is a lot of truth to this viewpoint, and I still like the song from Live’s first album Beauty of Gray. It’s a good reminder to check as many factors as you can, and that the factors involved in weighing choices are rarely simple, especially when there exists a conflict between several held values. It’s also a good reminder that you may have caught someone on a bad day.

And yet…

Eventually choices must be made. One must decide how to act, or decide whether or not to act. Life is full of binary, trinary, and otherwise exclusive solution sets where once made, the results cannot be changed. Even where the choice can be undone (say, taking a wrong turn) it still takes time and effort to correct it and you have forever gone a step down that path. Do I open the door? Do I wait? Do I go left or right? Do I pull the trigger or not?

Most of our lives we don’t live so near the edge where the choices we make cannot be undone, where the consequences are matters of life or death, or financial success or failure. I was reminded today, listening to Roland by the Cruxshadows, that there are areas in life where what we decide from moment to moment matters in both an immediate and grand sense, and ultimately, the palette of options we keep before us gets narrowed down to Do, or Do Not. Whatever the blend of factors going in, however gray and mixed the results will be, our choices in front of us are narrowed to two: black or white.

Choosing which factors have priority and drive the direction of the choice, and which ones are irrelevant is not inherently oversimplifying the situation when a decision must be made to act, or not. There is no inherent good in tracking down nuances if it paralyzes you and keeps you from committing to a course of action – or inaction.