The Dangers of Black and White Thinking

in life •  2 months ago

Black and white thinking is dangerous because it's greatly limits your belief system and everyday thought processes. It's an all or nothing way of thinking. I grew up with a very harsh and abusive father who thought like this. For instance, my Mom would annoy him in some way, so naturally all her antique jars MUST be broken.

No, he should've explained his annoyance like a rational person. Just like when two best friends have an argument, they don't cease to be best friends during the time frame they are arguing.

A poor man with starving kids and a wife gets caught stealing 5 dollars. Should we chop his hand off like archaic people? No. On the other hand, if a multi million dollar business mogul gets caught stealing or money laundering, should they be punished? Yes.

Somewhere along the line as humans we have lost the ability to see all the SHADES of gray.
I would almost go so far as to say there are NO true black and white situations.

Black and white thinking is rampant in mental illnesses to include but not limited to severe depression and borderline personality disorder.

  • My boss was short towards me, I will probably get fired. No, maybe he or she is just having a bad day.
  • My car is making a funny noise, the engine is probably going out. If your engine is making a funny noise, get it checked out, don't assume the worse
  • My partner disagrees with me, our relationship must be over.
  • My kid isn't going to church, she must be on drugs with an STD.

.....And, the list goes on & on!! This type of thinking causes people to automatically assume the worst of any situation and, that's such a poor way to view the world.

I'm guilty of this; I have gotten better at it over time. I likely inherited it from my Dad. As one improves from an unhealthy thinking process, they can often see it in others more clearly.

Do you have a tendency to think in terms of black and white?

In what circumstances is this limited thinking pattern "okay"?

Chime in, would love to hear from you!
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When you zoom into Myriade’s source code, you can see a zero right next to a one but zoom out and you will see the rich tapestry from which her personality will emerge. The violence creates scar tissue that is rigid in the brain. Myriade hopes that you can find ways to enjoy all the plasticity you need to truly be happy. You have been resteemed by Steemit Dreamit.


I need to break up that scar tissue. Its a slow process. Thank you Myriade. 🖖

I agree! We try too hard to create these blanket rules and try to categorize people! But people and situations are dynamic and need to be evaluated from a number of angles before you can make an informed decision! In business I’ve learned when there’s conflict I like to listen to everyone’s points of view first, filter out the bs, stack feelings, points articulated and facts and then dive into that grey area between the black and white and more often than not the solution is there and suits everyone! Like you said it blocks out people seeing rational solutions they so far off the deep end in their frame of kind

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This sounds like great conflict resolution here. You're right, more often than not, there's certainly a way to create a positive outcome for everyone

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Black and white thinking is necessary, and ultimately preferable, where criminal and civil liability are concerned. You want bright line rules. It doesn't always tend to work out that way, and there will always be edge cases, but the clearer the rules, generally the more stable the society.

This especially applies to moral rules. They are, by definition, black and white. While it's tempting to say there are no moral absolutes, there undoubtedly are. Where consent is concerned, gray areas are moral hazards.

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I respect your view point and agree with most of them with respect to morality. However, if you read my post I gave examples where black and white thinking DEFINITELY don't work.
Like, you and your GF Chelsea get in a minor argument.... are you suddenly no longer in a relationship?
Some people with severe depression think that way. I've seen it and experienced personally to a degree with my own clinical depression.

My boss is in a bad mood and I automatically assume i'm getting fired? That IS black and white thinking and it IS irrational.

You bring up consent, i mentioned nothing about consent here, so I would definitely agree it is a "gray area with a moral hazard"

I'm talking more or less trivial matters that are exacerbated in those with MENTAL ILLNESS which can be dangerous and lead to self harm, self sabotaging, and even suicide.

I know you are studying to be a lawyer so what you're saying in regards to LAW is different. My post falls more under a psychological standpoint. Maybe i should've worded this differently in my post.

As always refreshing to see a different point of view hope this makes sense. I definitely don't believe in an "anything goes" society