30
Jul
09

Duplicity Part Four: Shades of Gray

I like the color gray. Partly black, partly white. In between. No, not in between white and black, but somewhere in the middle of an ocean of seamless shades of gray.

Ah, shades of gray. I have said before that some people never seem to agree with one another because of how they view life, among other things: for some, it is like a painter’s pallet with seamless shades of gray; for others it’s like a chessboard, black and white – and perhaps for a certain few, not only black and white but identically-sized rows and columns of black and white squares, alternating across and lengthwise and lined up side-by-side diagonally with only their pointed tips touching, forming a bigger square made of exactly 64 smaller squares. Wow, such order and symmetry.

A blot on a painter’s pallet, on the other hand, has no definite size, shape or color, and if you place two different shades of gray side by side, they tend to blend at the edges, melting away their boundaries and bleeding into one another so you don’t really know where one shade ends and another begins. And then you add some more shades of gray with varying levels of darkness and brightness, and I guess that’s more like it. Life, I mean. It’s definitely more like a pallet than a chessboard.

I remember another analogy on how differently people view and act toward life: for some, they are on a speedboat, going where their wills take them and going there on a straight line – or at least being able to turn exactly where they wish to turn; for others, they are on a sailboat, eventually arriving at their destination but constantly adjusting their sails to the wind, and oftentimes one has to sail on a zigzag route because that is the only way to keep moving forward when going against the wind.

Ah, the wind. Often used as a figure of speech for the certain things in life beyond our control. And many songs have been written about it. Dust In The Wind. Blowin’ In The Wind. Candle In The Wind. Winds Of Change. Some people are lucky to be on speedboats, almost in total control of their lives, going head-on with the wind and cutting through the waves with ease. But I guess sooner or later it gets boring, without a sense of randomness and surprise. And pretty soon one would long to be on a sailboat, where challenges inspire planning and creativity, and the resulting product of hard work and imagination brings about deep satisfaction.

Besides, it would be easier to paint while sitting on a sailboat than while cruising at 50 knots on a speedboat. Or to play chess. On a light, steady wind, that is.

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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