Dear Children

Letters From A Father's Heart

Binary Thinking

Dear children,

The urban dictionary — a “dictionary” that defines idioms and phrases that are particular to our age and place — says that binary thinking is considered to be, “unintelligent and unimaginative.” I was once having a discussion once with a fellow worker who defended the courts ruling to starve a poor woman named Terri Schiavo to death because she was in a vegetative state. Because I was against this barbaric thing won me the judgment that I saw the world in black-white terms. I reckoned that he missed-judged me a little. I understand that some things are gray. I also understand that the grayness is due to our ignorance of a black and white reality, and such is no place to find cover for our actions. The idea that an area is considered to be gray gave me no consolation in the fact that we’re all happy to starve a defenseless soul to death simply because she was a defenseless soul. How gray does murder have to be painted for any one individual to make peace with it and call it good and righteous?

Those who control what we see on lighted screens don’t like the fact that they live in a binary world so they pretend it doesn’t exist and set about creating a new reality. This is done through a two-pronged approach. First, all the lighted screens you look at will present a world to you that pretends that the world that they wish existed always has since the beginning of time, and second, anyone with a memory is lampooned and accused of being short on brains and morality. The new morality molders will yell like a Baptist preacher that there is no real right and wrong, nor boys and girls either for that matter, but instead there are only shades of gray, and that we, as evolved pond-scum, can’t really know the difference.

Solomon told us that there is nothing new under the sun, and I’m sure that there’s nothing new about this either. Jesus said that men hated the light because it exposed their evil deeds, so this is just another way of dousing the light, preferring instead to live in a gray world where, not only are our evil deeds hidden, men can make up their own good and evil and then shine their own lighted screens all over it.

Though the goal is a good one according to those who set such goals, that doesn’t really matter very much because to claim that there are shades of gray is to claim that we can wade into evil just enough to keep from getting our belt-buckles blackened by it and still qualify as being a good and decent human being. Such anti-binary thinking, for example, can convince some poor confused soul that his confusion over his gender is not confusion at all but rather a shade of gender gray, and in so doing the convincer can rid himself of the misery of thinking about such things by declaring that the confused soul isn’t in misery at all, and at the same time present himself to the rest of the world as a more righteous human being for having done so. That’s just one example. There are hordes more.

Those who would espouse the sort of emotion-based philosophy on life that undergirds contemporary compassion are vocal about their rejection of binary thinking even though their own so-called philosophy is binary. And if they actually thought about it, or even perhaps evaluated their endeavor enough to see if they should keep endeavoring toward their good end, they’d see that their compassion is not compassion at all but rather evil with a shiny belt buckle. But when you’re starting point is the baseless assumption that you can’t be wrong because you feel so right, then any evidence to the contrary must be ignored. It feels good, for example, to send someone else’s money to help the poor. It feels even better to not judge the poor if they spend it on booze and cable TV.

But the thinking man says, not so fast. It’s one thing to empty your pockets out of compassion for your fellow man. You can do that sort of thing and keep the souls of your shoes as clean as your belt… if you’re so inclined. But it’s another thing altogether to employ another agency, say a big government and its sword, to steal your neighbor’s possessions and give them to the poor while holding tightly to your own, all in the name of compassion of course. Such deeds conveniently obscure evil in the fog of gray and is compassionate only in the heads of the thoughtless. The philosophy of those who are warriors for this brand of compassion is based on emotion and as such is no philosophy at all. It does not love wisdom but rather hates it. It prefers good thoughtless feelings over hard thinking about reality. It has peered out from the comfort of its emotions and has reeled back from what it has seen. It has closed its eyes and mind and all its thinking has been relegated to la la la la … I can’t hear you.

Don’t let this be you. This world is an evil place. It always has been and it always will be. It is smothered by darkness. That is the harsh reality within which you will have to eke out your existence, all the while knowing that you must fight this evil with the knowledge that, not only can you not win but also that you won’t win, at least not in your day. But there are islands of happiness to be found and there’s still beauty to be enjoyed. But the beauty and happiness are in spite of the ugliness and sadness. You establish one in the midst of the other. And here we find one of the many thoughtless contradictions to those who hide in the forts constructed of nothing more than fog-gray emotion. For them, this world is a binary proposition of all or nothing. If there is a man anywhere on the planet to be found without a house to live in, and who is hungry, or who has been slighted in the least by anyone, especially if that one has the ability to understand his existence in certain binary terms, and regardless of the wisdom the poor slighted soul had to willfully forego to arrive at that station, then beauty and happiness is an impossible thing. For self-righteous goodness’ sake, the war-path is the more righteous path to take. And it is that path that paves the way for wading into evil for the good of all. And the deeper they wade, the deeper they need to wade for the good of all because evil does no one any good at all, but only brings more hell on earth to be on the warpath against.

God created us to worship and live for him. He is our cause. And it is the worshipping and living for him that not only defines happiness and beauty, it also creates it. Once we reject God, and his order, we will find another sad and ugly thing to worship and live for. We can’t not do that. So it’s not a matter of if you will serve and worship something, it’s only a matter of if what you serve and worship will bring about good or evil. God gives us himself as a reference point. But man prefers himself as a reference point. And oriented to himself, good is turned on its head so that when Man sets out to do evil, he thinks he’s doing good, and he suppresses his knowledge of this by hiding in his own gray fog.

It is my belief, therefore, that most of the evil in this world is not brought to us by masses of people who are setting it as their goal to bring more evil into the world. I say this knowing that the thoughtful person will be provoked by such a statement. He will have to wonder about all that gory bloodletting as recently as the last century, and consider whether or not those at the top who tugged it along, as well as the complicit masses, realized that their very actions were bringing about evil, or whether they were confident that beyond all that dark gray into which they had set their course could be found some bright white. I would argue that Adolf Hitler, our modern-day supplanter of Satan as a reference point for the very notion of evil, had as his goal a better world. In other words, he was not being evil for evil’s sake, he was being evil for goodness’ sake. And like the modern day warriors for good, he was sure that there was going to be some lighter gray beyond all that black. There would be a new world order, an order in which he would bring about the authority of Fredrick Neitcies’s “superior man,” an order wherein that that same superior man would emerge from the violence to be a benevolent dictator for a thousand years. Why and How? By shaking free from God’s eternal reign in favor of righteous Man’s reign, a near perfect world with perfection being defined by those with the might to decree its definition. In the end and in retrospect, even the most God-hating must admit that it was pure evil, even though, much to their chagrin and denial, they would have been prime candidates to hop on board with the “greater good” had they been alive in that day. As they say, hindsight is 20-20.

Taking a prideful stand against the evils of others who did not have the advantage of seeing their own lives from the perspective of another time and place does not render one righteous enough to discern the whitewashed evils with which one is faced in the present. There are a million ways to be evil, but being good requires a reference point beyond the self. In this way, no one in the present should see himself as morally superior to those who were deceived into carrying the water for evil in the past, and the worst thing we can do is to think that we are morally superior based on other human beings who were immersed in their own day and were being pushed along by the flow of the society around them. Like those who failed in history, we will fail also when we reject the existence of objective truth. Lost people in a lost world will keep stumbling into evil, all the while filled to the brim with self-righteous pride that they are better than the others before them who stumbled into evil. It is bad binary thinking to assume that we are not lost because we are not with those who we think are. We can only not be lost because we know where we are. And the only way to know where we are is to have a reference point that exists outside of ourselves, and by which we can establish our position. Your best bet in going with what is good, therefore, is to go against the flow, to be the underdog, to endure the hatred of the masses if they really knew what you thought on a given matter.

Some want to do evil I suppose, but I would not suppose it’s very many. And I don’t suppose that you have as your aim to be evil. On the contrary, I suppose that you want to do good, both for yourself and others. I suppose you want to carve out a little happiness and beauty during your short lives. Well, to do that, you’ll want to begin by coming to terms with the reality within which you exist which will require the toil of thinking. And as you toil away at exercising your brains you will discover a few truths, such as the fact that humanity is not predisposed to good, and, therefore, when it uses itself as a reference point for good you can bet Hell is on its way.

Second, because humanity is not basically good, evil will be a permanent feature around you, a feature that you must do battle with, but a permanent feature all the same. It’s like death I would reckon. We know we’re going to die one day, yet we live rather than simply declare, what the hell, and get done with it, seeing no point in life because of death. You fight for your own house and life, and in changing your own house and life, you change the neighborhood for true good.

Third, because all things, whether they be individuals, families, churches, municipalities or states, will be laced with evil, they will never be truly pure. But it’s one thing to be laced with evil, and another thing to, for goodness’ sake, reject the good because it is laced with evil and favor instead evil that is whitewashed with good in the fool-hearty attempt to abolish evil. You can cherrypick anything, and see only the evil within, and as such declare it impure and then do your best to destroy it. If you hop on that band-wagon, you’ll not only erase happiness and beauty for yourself, you’ll probably also do a fairly decent job of erasing it for others who are doing their best to claim a little land for the sake of goodness.

Keeping these three realities in view will help you live in reality. It will also allow you to get past the sin of Man and enjoy just a little bit of beauty and happiness during your short stay here.

Your father

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2 thoughts on “Binary Thinking

  1. Great post and great line: “their compassion is not compassion at all but rather evil with a shiny belt buckle”

  2. I really appreciated this Danny. Thanks for your thoughts and the work you put into this.

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