Inspiration for Today
“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.”~ Gloria Steinem
Don’t you just love the irony of today’s quote? Steinem implies that simply separating people into two categories is too simplistic, but at the same time, she uses that very same technique to convey her meaning!
Learning what something is by defining what it is not has been an age-long practice in education. It’s hard to understand light without knowing darkness. How could we appreciate quiet without suffering through loud and constant noise?
While dichotomies or contradictions help us in our understanding, it’s very dangerous to define everything we experience in this way, that it’s simply one way or the other. Is every declaration either true or false? If so, what do you make of the next two sentences?
The following statement is true. The preceding statement is false!
Okay, all philosophical joking aside, it’s easier to categorize the world into “is” and “is not,” but we also realize that there are “shades of grey” between the black and the white. If we always expect people to act in just one of two ways, we’re in for some nasty surprises.
This world cannot be divided into two kinds of people, no matter how simply you look at it. Can we say that if you make war, you must hate peace? Or that if you love peace, you must not make war? This isn’t politicizing – it’s a simple observation that we all have within us the capacity for understanding and appreciating not both sides of a situation, but ALL sides.
By avoiding generalizations that reduce everything said or done into good or bad, we open ourselves up to varieties of interpretation that allow us to make truly educated decisions. Sure, it’s more complicated and challenging that way, but it keeps us from morphing into the very stereotypes we’re trying to avoid. Vive la difference!