In between Black and White

Today my thoughts are all over the place, so this may not be a coherent collection of it. I apologize upfront if sounds like a rant.

I am sure most of us have heard of the RGB Color coding format. Trust me, it has nothing to do with any technical data (I will be the last person to write something technical. I will probably sleep off writing it). In short, we can represent colors in different models. Like RGB, CMYK etc.

Let us take RGB for convenience sake. Red, Green and Blue are the primary elements. Black = (R=0,G=0,B=0) and White = (R=255,G=255,B=255) You can check out the various ranges of colors that you can get by changing R’s value from 0=255 and keeping the others constant. And likewise changing the other values too. So if you keep doing that, do you know how many colors we get ?  Yes, as it is written in the other link 256*256*256=16777216  colors. But of course not all of them are used or as visible to us because of the slight changes that might not be visible to the human eye. So roughly let us say that we might detect 10000 colors (give or take).

Now where the hell am I going with these info ? Well, this thought came to my mind and I couldn’t just get it out, other than writing it down. So please bear with me :).  We ideally associate black to bad/evil and white to good/divine. I am a strong believer that nothing , except colors, is black or white or rather good/bad in its extreme forms. We all hover around among the various shades or colors that are in between. We might be in close proximity to either black or white but never too close. Just like the color model, we have been modelling personality based on various factors. For e.g. I belong to the ISFJ trait according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. You can try it here. Here instead of three parameters that we have for the RGB model, we have 4 pairs of dichotomies. My friend referred to Jung’s Archetypes once. Even those 12 archetypes are based on a series of factors like stability, fulfillment, risk, mastery etc. Even with the Myers Briggs Type, you have a percentage associated with each identifier to tell you how much of a extrovert you are , or a sensitive person you might be etc.

So if you see everything has its own set of factors. Why did this thought struck me? I was browsing books for my nieces and nephews in a book store and I came upon those books which tells them the mythological stories. These are those small books where we give them the essence of the whole epic. For e.g. Ramayana is a very famous epic in Hinduism.

Simply told, Ram (a devoted son, a loving brother & husband) is thrown out of his right to rule due to his step mom’s evil plans and he goes to live in forest for 14 years, where Ravana (a demon by nature and ruler of Lanka) kidnaps Ram’s wife Sita and Ram with the help of lot of people win over Ravana and rescues his wife. That is the long story in short. Its an epic so obviously it will be not that short, but that is what is given in those small books that we teach those kids. Here Ram =  White = Good and Ravana = Black =  Evil. We start by teaching about plain black and white models to our children. Of course, Ram is a divine person and so he has to be good and since we are telling the story of Good overcoming Evil, we need an evil person, so we bring in Ravana.

All that is good and fine. But when do we start telling them the other part of the story that Ram wasn’t all that good, even if he was a divine person and that Ravana wasn’t all that evil even if he did kidnap Sita. I don’t remember any classes that explained these epics in detail to explain why Ravana was forced to kidnap Sita, and even though he was evil why he kept her safe and did not even cast an evil eye on her. All he wanted was to teach Ram a lesson for disgracing his sister. And that Ram used wrong means to secure the help of Sugreeva by killing Vali from behind and once he rescued Sita how the story goes on to say that he did ask his wife for whom he destroyed Lanka to do a Fire Ordeal to prove her innocence to everyone (because she was in Ravana’s place, as a captive, for too long a period).

Why don’t we allow them to decide on the factors that decide a person to be good or bad in their own eyes. Why isn’t there any discussion to let them explore even if means that they might not pray Lord Ram anymore or take their example to lead a one-woman kind of life (for guys) or a very devoted and i-will-go-through-fire-to-prove-my-innocence (for women). I am taking Ramayana as an example, because that is one epic which myself and my friend discussed in detail one day during our lunch. But almost all the books I saw explains only Good and Evil kind of thing. It is so imbibed in us, that even now we many of us cannot accept the shades of grey even if portrayed in a movie. How can a person be a good and a bad person ? That is what they ask. There was a movie Raavan that came some time back (a year or two I guess). It was a slightly different take on the same epic. Except in that, Ram’s shade of blackness and Raavan’s shade of white was highlighted. The questions it brought up was about how much of a bad person was really Raavan was and as usual people had debates on it. I am going to start a book on the story of Raavan shortly which I have been procrastinating.

So you see there is nothing like pure black or pure white. We all fall among those 16777216  shades of colors that lie in between black and white. And our colors are ever changing. Sometimes we go close to black and sometimes may be even touch the half white. All we need to know is where to balance it out and when to go towards white and when not to go towards black. Also, do you know which color falls in the almost center place between black and white ? R=127/128,G=127/128,B=127/128 => Grey. So being grey (not Mr Grey) isn’t a bad thing at all 😉 , it might just mean that you are well balanced.

If I have to choose a color to represent myself I would choose Grey. What would you choose ?

“I can’t decide whether I’m a good girl wrapped up in a bad girl, or if I’m a bad girl wrapped up in a good girl. And that’s how I know I’m a woman!” 
― C. JoyBell C.