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The Problem with Right and Wrong

In a society so focused on the correct way of thinking, I want to provide an alternative.

Instead of dichotomous concepts of good or bad, I make an effort to see everything in terms of a spectrum, while understanding context. Many thought leaders conceptualize two equal and opposing forces that must be balanced, like the Taoist Yin and Yang or Carl Jung's Anima and Animus. Unfortunately, too many powerful words are contaminated with strong emotional labels such as right and wrong, good or bad.

We strive to be good and reject what we see as bad within ourselves, but this creates suffering and imbalance. Learning to understand our nature begins with not seeing anything as entirely good or bad. This means knowing that our default instinctual drive is not bad. Our instincts are fast, efficient. We just have to be mindful of their utilitarian value.

The instinctual drive of making super quick judgments and acting immediately helped our ancestors not be eliminated by nature. The suffering stemming from making snap decisions does not need too much explanation. So many people are judged quickly and stereotyped, resulting in many tragedies. This pain is spreading like wild fire with the powerful wind of the internet.

It is important not to simply criticize instinctual tendencies, but to understand the functional elements of them. Shaming leads to repeating the cycle of suffering. We can be mindful of those instincts and have the clarity to decide whether following them will lead to the results we desire. If not, we can develop other alternatives and decide to override our instinctual drives.


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