Dichotomous Thinking—A Human Condition
I’ve studied psychology over the many decades of my life. A particular subject has always confused me. Now I know why. Dichotomous thinking [black and white] has been attributed to many pathological conditions. I live in a world of greys—there are many, many shades of greys.
Overall, the human species has always appeared to be living in the world of black and white. We do it with sports: We do it with politics: We do it in adorations regarding classisms. We simply DO IT. I’d like to believe it is the degree of dichotomization that is key, but I can’t swear that it is true. We are groomed into living black and white lives.
I live with the belief that nobody is unique. We are a species of billions. We may have genetic uniquenesses, but we essentially emulate behaviors across the spectrum that can be logged into books; that we can relate to in some way or form. There are moments in time when we can look at a stranger and feel a sense of familiarity. Our behavior can mirror the behaviors of another. Those are people we feel a kinship with.
We may even wonder if we are related in some way. I suggest it is because we are all one big family. Yet we live with self-imposed hierarchies, though each of us has gifts. We see the glitter of gold as a badge of accomplishment, yet it is not. The last things we should value are things—we should value each other—yet we do not.
We apply conditions to things that are simply irrelevant. I’ll tell you about one of mine.
I’ve engaged in a few interchanges in the past week that levied an epiphany. I met a person of some fame who seemed more focused on an imposed condition rather than my desire to exchange intellectual conversation. He swiped me with a broad brush, painting all of my gender with it. My best friend is of a gender opposite to mine, and I’ve felt that brush many times. A young man painted me with it last week, and I felt the sting. Somehow—venting a little one from one's body is equated with stupidity. It is assumed we are forever overcome with the desire to produce breast milk.
Scott Parrey presented an article which loosely connected to my topic and I commented,
“I rue the day I was born a woman. I've always found a woman's intellectual abilities have been equated to the size of her mammaries.”
The degree of my intellect—as with many others of my gender—is not connected to the location of my orifices; what was produced from them; nor the size of my mammeries.
Mother and woman are just two pieces of my puzzle. I have a scientific mind; have studied psychology relentlessly; am a writer—an investigative journalist who prizes honesty above all else; am a researcher; am a craftsperson; am a philosopher; am a woman and a mother—in that order. There is no dichotomy in my picture.
I told one of my offspring this morning, as I was presenting advice imbedded in psychology; that the only mothering part of our conversation was that I was not billing him.
I am many shades of grey.
Copyright 2019 Joyce Bowen