Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Black and White or Shades of Grey

This article is interesting in an ironic way.

Why? Mostly because the black-or-white thinker is how I think. Make a decision, go with it. Hemming and hawing is stupid and just delays the inevitable. Pick a way, go that way. If it’s wrong. Admit it, turn around. Duh.

Stupid people drive me nuts. And this article just shows that even the author is unable to just come out and say that dithering just leads to problems. Especially the dithering that so many people engage in in trying to make sure everyone is happy or that no one is offended. Bah.

No wonder so many people are screwed up today. They’ve never had their feelings hurt. They’ve never been allowed to fail or been told their ideas are stupid or wrong. They’ve never had to deal with reality within the safe confines of the social fabric that is modern Western Civilization.

Instead, we get this placation of “every opinion matters/counts”. Which is utter bullshit. Not every opinion matters or counts. If someone tells me the moon is made of cheese his (or her) opinion is bullshit and doesn’t count. If someone tells me that the heart is the seat of intelligence, it’s bullshit and his or her idea doesn’t count. Same for any idiot who propounds things like creationism or any other pseudo-science. Idiots. One and all.

So this constant desire to please drives me nuts. Even this article is about waffling, even though the author tries to take a stand. Sadly, she fails. In my opinion based on the following summary, for the lazy 😉 those who waffle (see the world in shades of grey) are nuts. Most of the time you should see things in black-or-white. Make a decision, move on. But be open to changing your mind should evidence persuade you you were wrong.


  • Speak their mind or make quick decisions.
  • Be more predictable in making decisions (e.g., who they vote for).
  • Be less anxious about making wrong choices.
  • Have relationship conflicts that are less drawn out.
  • Be less likely to consider others’ points of view.


  • Procrastinate or avoid making decisions if possible.
  • Feel more regret after making decisions.
  • Be thoughtful about making the right choice.
  • Stay longer in unhappy relationships.
  • Appreciate multiple points of view.

Why would anyone want to see the world as shades of grey? You’d be miserable. Note the third one for grey folks. That should really read “Agonize over making a decision, just in case you’re wrong”. It has nothing to do with thoughtfulness. Once you have the facts you can make a decision. The facts help you decide. That’s the “thoughtful” part. The ultimate decision might suck, but you can make one. And, yeah, sometimes you’ll be wrong. Big surprise. If we always made correct decisions we wouldn’t have the screwed up planet we have, now would we.

And, to reiterate, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. It just means you can make up your mind and that evidence is required to persuade you otherwise. In other words, an emotional argument won’t sway someone like me.

The more I think of this, the more I realize that the world is screwed up because of all the idiots in bin #2.

I do laugh at the claim that shades of grey people “appreciate multiple points of view”. I think that’s bullshit. They’re just too scared to take a stand, and therefore they waffle/dither because they worry about hurting someone’s feelings. But perhaps that person requires their feelings to be hurt if they’ve invested an excessive amount of time in something that’s stupid. Because it might be dangerous to them or others. Believing that prayer is a substitute for medicine, for example, is stupid. And I’ve told people I know who’ve “believed in the power of prayer” that they’re idiots. Go to the doctor, get the medicine, take the medicine, and then pray. Prayer alone is likely to result in you getting sicker or dying as one old colleague of mine discovered to his family’s dismay. For them, prayer didn’t get the paramedics to arrive. Nope. That required Ma Bell’s 911 service, which they delayed using to his great misfortune.

By procrastinating these “grey” people invoke the notion that they’re “thoughtful” when in reality they’re just cowardly, stupid or worse. Unable to make a decision they claim they appreciate everyone’s point of view. As if they’re all equally valid, as per my earlier comment on opinions. They’re not. Sometimes the facts for two sides of an argument can sway you either way, then you must make a gut call. But more often than not it’s pretty black and white.

Personally, I think it’s emotion that makes people do stupid things. They ignore the facts and instead act on emotion. And for most things outside of love I think that’s a fool’s choice. And the only reason I exclude love is because, as far as I know, there’s no math that can ensure you a happy liaison and life with a significant other. But for most things from cars to houses to holidays to jobs it’s pretty much a “pros vs. cons” type of decision. Don’t have the money for a new car? Then it’s a good used one. Can’t afford steak this week. Then it’s chicken. Etc.

And, yeah, I generally don’t care if I hurt someone’s feelings. If I’ve done something crude or uncaring then I’ll care — and apologize. In that case I’m being an ass.  And if you’re being an ass it’s not logic, but emotion that’s driving you. But if I state a fact and it disturbs someone, that’s the failing of the individual not of my facts. Claiming that I’ve hurt their feelings is just a way to get around the fact their point of view or argument is baseless and stupid. It’s as if I took offense if someone pointed out that I was a balding, middle-aged boomer who’s packed on a few pounds. To take offense means I’m unwilling to face the reality that is the mirror, the scale and the calendar.

Enough of me ranting for now, but stupid people drive me nuts. And, yeah, I just want people to make decisions more quickly. And if they make a mistake, just say “mea culpa”. After all, we’re all human and mistakes are part of the game.

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October 2010
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