• Darcy Reed

Rocking the boat

This blog today is about one major enemy of the truth, and that is absolutist thinking. It is my opinion that that kind of thinking is motivated by fear. Fear is the inhibiting factor between bliss and hell. It’s fear of anything that holds us back as individuals and as a collective humanity. In life we are too fearful, it seems, to progress beyond a certain point of effort. It seems failure is often more familiar and soothing than going forward into uncharted territory. We have too many worldly problems now to turn away in fear.

I’d like to discuss one of the primary fallacies people use to illogically refuse new discoveries or to stubbornly stay put. It is either/or thinking. It’s like we’re all in some boat and the solution is either one thing or the other, not many things, just one thing. And in that boat, you just don’t shake it up or people think they’ll drown. Too them it’s black or white. If you suggest gray or purple solutions, they act like you’re trying to kill them. It’s infuriating. Then, you get feedback saying, I can’t see the reason for other colors here; I’m getting offended. You’ve shaken my identity politics. I already had the answer, so stop thinking right now, you’re dangerous and insulting!


I'll give you an example. I’m indignant that my thinking about a cure for autism is so insulting to everyone else. I would like to be able to do many things I cannot do. Why should I not want a cure for my inability to speak, or use my body without certain hindrances? Why is that not okay? Because of either/or thinking on this sinking boat, you apparently can’t appreciate your cool autistic self and others and want a cure at the same time. It’s a new, stupid rule.


The argument goes like this. We have to change society so it will accept us, not find a cure. Somehow, people think it’s one or the other. How about both? Is that possible? I guess not, because the cure part is too disrespectful of people as they are. I’ve heard of this happening before in the deaf community when cochlear implants were invented. A community of deaf folks liked their lives the way they were. It was a divisive time for those people, much like now with the questions that arise about autism -- what causes it and what can be done.


Hey, how about a lot of things? How’s that for an answer? It isn’t just this or that ever in life. If you find yourself absolutely certain about your answers, probably you are wrong. Either/or thinking is the death knell to truth. There are many different truths, not just two – the one you believe and the one you don’t. I’m not too pleased to be on the same boat with absolutists, either/or thinkers. I’d rather rock that boat or jump off and swim to the shore of many possibilities. In the end, I have to say, if you are certain about what you know, you need to know more.

98 views2 comments