Driving down the highway yesterday I saw a license plate, “PANTONE”.
It was on a black car. 19-0303 TCX.
Even Black has many shades, multiple pantone expressions.
It brought to mind a segment on “The Daily Show” in which John Stewart explored the limited view presented to the American public. A view even more “Simplisctic-ier” than left/right, liberal/conservative, or Democrat/Republican. Good or Bad. Every issue is broken down to a simple black or white, all or nothing, judgement.
I spent the last few days helping a friend, she’s preparing her house for sale as she gets moved into a new house, all the while helping her mother with her house. Yesterday I raked the leaves at her mother’s house, the day before I helped clean the windows at the old house she’s getting ready to sell. I was there because she’s not comfortable climbing the ladder to clean the outside of the windows on the second floor, otherwise, she would have done it all herself. Did I mention she’s blind?
I can think of very few issues that can be broken down to a simple good or bad judgements, there are always multiple aspects that make a situation good in one way, bad in another. When it comes to a blanket judgement that covers everyone’s experience, I think I’m safe in saying the nothing is simply good or bad.
The trend towards simplification has been troubling me for years, something about removing details and nuances causes reason and logic to atrophy. There are some preposterous concepts occupying space that intelligent debate should inhabit. Worse, the marginally intelligent, due in part to their lack of apathy, embrace an undeserved sense of superiority.
Hans Rosling, a Swedish researcher, developed a test pertaining to population and demographic details. He presented the test, which he titled “The Ignorance Test“, claiming that a cross section of society provides routinely incorrect answers, that is to say scoring worse than if the answers were chosen at random. Adding insult to his existing arrogant view, he used the metaphor of chimps choosing bananas with answers on them for “random”. So if you fail the test, you’re not only ignorant, but you did worse than a chimp. What an ass.
I’d like to devise a test about photo-conductivity and digital copy processes, which any copier technician could pass with flying colors, and see how ignorant Hans is. We all have fields which we excel in, and areas in which we have not studied at all.
If your kid gets arrested for shoplifting, you’re not a lousy parent. If your kid has an arrest record that looks like a first draft of “War and Peace” you probably have some blame to carry with you. On the other hand, your other kids may be Rhodes Scholars, or just average members of society, so you’re still not a “lousy” parent.
My world consists of visualization. I see things, and can manipulate them in my mind. This gives me an incredible memory of details, objects are not a list of components, but a single object, which I can assemble and disassemble in my mind. I don’t think people who can’t do this are stupid, they probably have talents that I don’t. At the same time, I think people who do not have the empathy to accept that we are all different are “stupid”. They are inferior, regardless of how much knowledge they accumulate.
My friend needed her windows clean for other people. It certainly made no difference to her, but in her words “I don’t live in a blind world”. I thought of arguing the point, but I’m trying to be less cynical in public. I’ve asked a few questions about her world, and as far as she is concerned, there is little different about her life than anyone else. Perhaps she sees the world better than I do.