This is in “shades of grey”; I can guarantee you, that’s not what that tulip field actually looks like.
A lot of people mistake “shades of grey” thinking for pluralism, but it is not. “Shades of grey” just reinforces the false dichotomy of black-and-white thinking, except it’s no longer binary thinking, it’s greyscale thinking —very little is “blackest black” or “whitest white” or even “greyest grey”, most is simply on a sliding-scale of “less black” and “less white”. Certainly, there are some things that are, indeed, “less black” and “less white” just as certain as there are things that are Blackest, Whitest, and Greyest, but I ask: In the sliding-scale along the binary, where is the room for things that are purple? Or yellow? Or, dare I suggest, beige? Puce? In “shades of grey” morality, there is Right, More Right, Less Right, Equally Right & Wrong, Less Wrong, More Wrong, and Wrong; it can’t just Be, it never just Is, and pointing to some arbitrarily centrist point in the greyscale and stating “that’s where it is, Dead Neutral” is just a cop-out to force it into that simplistic, binary morality.
See, that’s where binary thinking, even with the more palatable sliding scale that so many extol as some paragon of fairness and inclusiveness, gets us. It’s colour-blindness in the worst possible way, as it implicitly does either one of two things: it denies or simply ignores what clearly exists outside the black-and-white chessboard, or it homogenises it down to the greyscale of a 1950s television set, exterminating its uniqueness to make it fit the mould of black-and-white through a false pluralism. Both paths taken are for essentially the same reasons.
Denial of what exists outside of black and white thinking is simply because to acknowledge it is to acknowledge that the binary system is flawed, and to ignore it is to pretend that it lacks relevance, even when it is relevant. To acknowledge that it can’t even be accurately represented in greyscale thought, the equally fallacious “sliding scale” model of black-and white thinking, is, too, to admit that the method is flawed. The only appropriate modus operandi for black-and-white thinking when confronted with, say, Green is to either ignore it (or at least pretend it has no relevance, even when it does), *or* to pretend it can fit into the essentially black-and-white model by distorting it and forcing it to appear as a Grey.
The fallacy of Black-Grey-White has been demonstrated in basic human nature many times, from biology to hardwired personality traits.
Example: Some people are born with an essentially “male” physiology, and some with an essentially “female” physiology, and then others are born (sometimes even unbeknownst to them, until later in life) with a “grey” or “intersex” physiology. Then there are people with Turner syndrome, who generally appear “female” in physiology, but lack the ability to develop secondary sex characteristics, and lack the “mix” of physiologically “male” traits that the term “Intersex” tends to imply. People with Turner’s syndrone are therefore off the Black-Grey-White model of physiological sex, in spite of the medical communities generally describing Turner’s syndrome as a kind of IS condition.
Example: When Dr. Albert Kinsey studied human sexuality, in his surveys and interviews, he discovered that some people not only lacked sexual experience, but they lacked any interest in sex altogether. Realising that his scale, which placed “exclusively heterosexual” people at 0 and “exclusively homosexual” people at 6 and “50/50 bisexual” people at 3, now had a flaw, he created the designation of “X” to represent the statistically significant (yet still less than 1% of all interviewed persons) population of asexual people he learned about in his studies and retained his scale as a fair representation of everybody else. Human asexual orientation is off the sliding scale of typical human sexual orientations and cannot be easily forced into a Black-Grey-White sliding scale model.
Even the colour spectrum acknowledges colours that cannot be seen with the naked human eye. Beyond the reds of the light refracted in a prism, we have the infra-reds; beyond the violet end of the spectrum are the ultra-violets. In using coloured light as a metaphor for pluralistic thinking, it therefore must be acknowledged that sometimes one just can’t tell, and maybe there is an underlying reason that we just can’t access information from —maybe due to current technological limitations, maybe due to the simple nature of the reason. Even in the fields of science, it’s acknowledged that there are unanswered questions; the most arrogant assume all questions will one day be answered with “MOAR SCIENCE”, but this, too, betrays the essentially black-and-white thinking necessary for such arrogance to exist: It is either known or unknown, and eventually the unknown will be known, no more shadows, all will be bathed in a blinding white light except that which is buried —stuff such arrogance deems “useless” and “best forgotten or regarded as a relic of a more naive time”, things like astrology and religion. While the pluralistic mind acknowledges the usefullness of a scale of the known and the unknown, it also acknowledges that humans are flawed, mortal beings made of meat, and it would be highly improbable for a human being to truly know everything there is to know about life, the universe, and everything. Is there the tiniest possibility? Sure, the pluralist mind is open to all sorts of possibilities —and the answer might even, in fact, be 42 and we’re just searching for an unknowable question— but the pluralist mind is also far more grounded in reality than the binary mind —and while it’s certainly possible that a wormhole to an alternate reality will open up where I sit and I’ll fall through time and space and be replaced with a delicious bowl of fruit salad, experiences and book-learning have taught me this is simply improbable, though it’s technically within the realm of possibility.
Because of the arrogance to assume that all things may eventually become “known” —bathed in blinding light or buried away in a tomb of allegedly “unnecessary” knowledge— real pluralism is clearly at odds with atheism, and it goes without saying that true monotheism and pluralism cannot get along, either. Even if a pluralist has only ever known one deity, a pluralist naturally accepts that the possibility and possible relevance of other deities exists, even if one chooses not to worship Them. The binary or sliding scale model, on the other hand, is perfectly suited for monotheism and atheism: There is only this, or that, our way or theirs, correct thinking or false. Maybe some colours are forced to a greyscale in order to appear “less wrong” or “less right”, but the mere possibility that something might be equally correct, or at least with equal potential to be correct, is dismissed without any in-depth examination. Richard Dawkins has more in common with Pat Robertson than he has with Democritus or even Carl Sagan. Indeed, the modern brand of atheist could only have been born of Christianity: Only in a society with a dominant religion proclaiming only “One True God”, and all others to be “false gods” can it then seem logical that the only “real” alternative is a lack of gods, especially if Their worship has been somewhat successfully repressed for centuries. The assumption is that atheism is “logical” and any-theism is “illogical” because belief in and worship of a deity is inherently illogical, and thus the worship of many deities is even more illogical than a singular deity, when converted to a sliding scale —when pluralistic polytheism denies the power of the slide, illuminating that logic and deity need not be mutually exclusive, more often than not, the modern atheist would rather make every attempt to force pluralist polytheism into greyscale, no matter how ill-fitting, than admit the flaws in his thinking. The result really isn’t all that different from a Pentecostal clasping his hands over his ears and shouting how all this talk of evolutionary biology and multiple deities is simply “Satan in disguise” —the latter is binary black-and-white, but the former is greyscale, which is merely a more palatable, but no less false form of binary thinking.
What the black-and-white thinkers, in both forms, enjoy distorting about coloured thinking is the notion that somehow all is fair game, there is no right or wrong. This is reductio ad absurdum at its finest: Black, White, and Grey are certainly colours, or presentation of light, or however one likes to think of it, so clearly there is room for it. The pluralist simply realises that the handful of instances where there are, or it is simply best to put things in terms of black-and-white does not obligate everything to be seen through a closed-circuit black-and-white telly. The presence of a full spectrum of colour does not eliminate black, white, and greys —indeed, it can often illuminate them and their importance: When the atmosphere has rendered the sky greyish, it’s practically impossible to discern the presence of clouds, but when the sky is clear and at its bluest, the whiteness of clouds is at its whitest; but at night, when one’s side of Gaia’s face is turned away from Helios, the sky appears black and clouds can be practically impossible to discern, even when it’s clear that they’re there, but on a clear night, with the light reflected from a full moon just right onto a waterfall, a moonbow is the most beautiful thing in the world, and impossible to see without the existence of white and blackness. When coloured ideas are removed to make everything fit into a neat little Black-(Grey)-White scale, plenty suddenly appears “missing”.
“Shades of Grey” thinking cannot ever be truly pluralistic, as it merely serves to reinforce “black and white” thinking. It’s the same lie, only dressed up “real purdy” —but putting high heels on a poodle doesn’t make it a hooker. Eventually, some-one subscribing to the Grey Lie is going to encounter Green, or Purple, or Beige, or Gold, or the iridescence colouring the scales of the sacred ikhthyes of a garden pool, or some other-coloured truth —and when one does, there is a choice: To force the colours into the Greyscale, rendering them virtually unrecognisable, or finally acknowledge their truths. This really is one of those few instances where there are no other choices —any illusion of said ultimately becomes one or the other.
Sometimes it’s black, sometimes it’s white, but sometimes it’s not even grey —it’s puce.