Black and White

The world used to be in black and white.

Only the faithful and the ignorant can continue to see the world in black and white. Sometimes, the line between them blurs.

Humans are conflicting creatures. We see the world as what we are and we don’t like what we see. We get angry at others and we hate the very thing that defines us. Responding to an event reveals more about us than the event that triggers our behavior. However, that is how it is and how we are made.

In the Hunger Games,  the Nation in which the Revolution takes place is called Panem, from the term, “panem et circenses” which means, “bread and circuses”. Give a people bread to eat of and entertainment by which to distract themselves, and the ruler of any nation can continue to do whatever he or she wants. The curse of human is that we see what we want to see and ignore the rest at our peril.

In 1984, George Oswell wrote of a nightmarish future, in which the State controlled its people through a whole slew of methods, combining mass brainwashing, creation of the common enemy and fear. One of the most important feature in which the State controlled its people, is through the creation of a new language called Newspeak. By removing the whole range of words that we deploy now and reducing them to base words with just superlatives or comparatives terms, the State controls the thoughts of the people bit by bit. However, even as the main character Winston struggles in the end to accept the State’s philosophy, he struggles within himself to manipulate his thoughts nimbly to force a logic to the philosophy and yet blindly ignores the flaws within them. How like he are we at times!

When we accept somethings as truth or discount others as falsehood, our mind creates a self-reinforcing pattern to agree only with what we know. “Don’t rock the boat.” may be used to describe what we are doing. Self-deceiving is another term that comes to mind.

The world is no longer black and white. We need to see the greys and become aware that as we see the world in certain ways, others see it differently. We ponder on how can certain obscene crimes be committed. The perpetrators simply do not see the world the way we do. That does not mean that there are no lines that shouldn’t be crossed. It only means that these lines are dictated by what most of us deemed it to be.


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