Sunday, October 30, 2005

I Believe in Shades of Grey

I'm not much of a believer anymore. I used to spend my days finding "causes" and "ideologies", trying to squeeze myself into them to justify my sense of purpose. I could say "hey, that's what all teens do", but most teens I've met just parrot what they're told at school, what the teacher or their parents expect to hear. I was quite rebellious against both, even (or especially) after my young punk phase.

I was into debates, you know, back then. The kind of debates where you're not supposed to care if the opinion you're supporting is actually right, and the topics are chosen because "the truth is somewhere in the middle". You're supposed to be interested in proving that you're smarter than your opponents because you can support the case in hand better than they can.

My mother was actually the poor soul that brought the Forensics trend to Greek schools back in the '80s. And since then it has taken off like a Concorde flying from Europe to America, never expected to crash, no matter if it does. Well, I'm the one who missed the flight.

I'm the one who believes in finding the actual CMYK shade of grey where the truth can be found. I'm the one who believes in applying the extra effort in actually finding why, how, if or for whom. And I'm the one who believes that opinions are colour-blind in this respect, and that these shades of grey are actually shades of the colour of one's being.

Let me explain. If each person sees the truth, on any subject, as a shade of grey - with black and white being the extreme shades, obviously - and places himself at that exact point where that shade of grey can be found in the palette, opinion-wise, then how come nobody ever agrees 100% with someone else on a single subject?
My answer to that: each person is a colour. One of the 64mb and more of colours in the human palette. And the shade of grey they are able to support is the one that corresponds to the lightness of their opinion.
But, as I said, opinions are colour-blind. There are more parameters that can change amongst real people, all facts considered. The hue of one's colour defines who one is, with one's background, experiences, education and personal preferences. The saturation depends on one's mood at the time of voicing the opinion. And then one can add filters based on what one thinks others want to hear, or how one decides to express the opinion, or whatever else. And the brightness... well, that's self-explanatory.
But people only band together in ideological colour swatches depending on one of these parameters. And, more often than not, their colours clash.

So, you ask, what happens when you mix these colours together? Sometimes you get a prettier colour, or a colour that's less impressive but more-or-less acceptable. And sometimes you get ugly colours, like the colour of freshly-spewed vomit after a pub crawl, or various shades of diarrhoea.

And most certainly - a fact that seems strange in colour theory but one has to accept it as a fact of life - if enough colours mix together, or if bright enough colours clash, there is a single colour that emerges from the union: the eerie off-black colour of dried human blood.

OK, so all this was a cheap metaphor for war. Still, what I wanted to get to was this: Incurably creative-minded as I am, I plan to spend the rest of my life exploring swatches of human colours, finding beauty inherent in most of them, understanding the essence of some, mixing a few together socially and trying to pinpoint a spot in the grand palette where the ultimate truth lies. And, for all I know, it's not even in my colour range.

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