"Black and White thinking", a requirement?

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Dnuos
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25 Sep 2010, 12:04 am

It's hard for me to define black and white thinking. It's thinking in extremes, such as good vs. bad, there being nothing in the middle. Thinking that things associate very strictly and simply, and that there are no gray areas.

Bad explanation, perhaps someone else could define it better.

I find this on the forums, in the religious arguments. It seems to be one extreme or the other:

1: "I just don't understand how you couldn't believe in God, it's such a simple thing. If you can't do such a simple thing like that, then you're going to hell, simple as that. No exceptions. If you don't believe in God, you're not just a sinner, you're a bad person. You're setting a bad example for the Aspies."

2: "I don't understand how you could believe in God, it's such a retarded idea. You're a ****ing moron, a schizophrenic in denial, and should damn well be ashamed of yourself. Use some freaking logic, it's right in front of you. Retard, it's no wonder autism has that stereotype. You're setting a bad example for the Aspies."

Both 1 and 2: "What I believe is 100% right, and you're an idiot for not being as open-minded as I am. Think! You're not even worth arguing with, because your inferiority will eventually be rooted out of the human race anyways. Time for a new generation of people that think great, just like me."

However, both 1 and 2, though they think that about each other, it's the same thought process. And both accuse each other of being "close-minded", when both are. Forget the words "logic" and "emotion", and REALLY read both 1 and 2. Sure, they're extremist versions of both sides, but I've heard all of those lines heard before, at least on this forum. 1 and 2, are basically the same.

I had been this at one point. Growing up, I was a clear-cut example of #1 up there. My beliefs then switched, and I've had careful thinking to do about it. Whichever "side" I'm on right now doesn't matter, I'm making a point here, adding to what's been said earlier: the stereotype that we are all rude and inconsiderate. If we all actually did open our minds, humbled ourselves to the possibility that we might be wrong (At least consider yourself 1% chance of being wrong), and put ourselves in others' shoes, and above all, understand that things in life truly are NOT so simple as you think, some good change might be made. We may even dispel that stereotype.

This is just one of those many things why I don't think I'm in the right place here, since I give careful thinking towards both sides in an argument, see the pros and cons in both, and give myself the option to join either or neither.



Meadow
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25 Sep 2010, 12:13 am

Let's just put it this way, a person gets less perfect with age. Life has a way of crushing, fracturing and even destroying the best people. It's an illusion if you think you are that flawless. Give it some time and experience and you may see things a little differently. People have reasons for thinking and feeling the way they do.



Dnuos
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25 Sep 2010, 12:25 am

I don't think I'm flawless, but I don't know if's a result of life experiences that would case black and white thinking - it's a trait often associated with Asperger's regardless of past experiences.
And in my case, crushing life experiences have led me away from black and white thinking. I mean, it's not like I always think like that. Every once in a while, I'll stick to one side. Then there's the obvious cases of murder and rape where I know they're always bad.

I could understand it if, however, there was a traumatic experience, in the case of my earlier example, if one side had permanently scarred someone on the other, there will be more fired emotions.



Meadow
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25 Sep 2010, 12:45 am

I don't think of myself as having black and white thinking. I should have mentioned that. I see it in others sometimes who have a limited set of experiences though, both AS and NT's alike. I might have misunderstood your post somewhat, then. :)

Edit: I do have strong feelings and convictions sometimes. I don't think that is black and white thinking. Not 100% sure though.



quaker
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25 Sep 2010, 1:09 am

Hi dnuos....how funny you talk of b/w thinking
as today I just finishedwriting on the very
subject for my next book.

This section on b/w thinking is just one of
52 reflections i have written on called
reflections from within the spectrum.....i
hope you and othersfind it interesting.

5 Black and white thinking

black and white, otherwise known as dichotomous thinking, is when someone is only able to see the extremes of a situation, and is unable to see the “grey areas” or
complexities of the situation.

dichotomous: separation into two divisions that differ widely or contradict each other.

ORIGIN- Greek dikhotonia cut in two


"The greater the certainty, the less the understanding." - Lao Tse

"Indeed, this need of individuals to be right is so great that they are willing to sacrifice themselves, their relationships and even love for it." - Reuel How

Life is "trying things to see if they work." - Ray Bradbury

"The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them." -
Albert Einstein

"Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!" -
Joel Arthur Barker

"When you come to a roadblock, take a detour." - Mary Kay Ash

You naturally think and process information in a dichotomous fashion. Your brain needs certainty and clarity and a sense of completion in order to help you feel anchored in a world that frequently overwhelms you.

Often you feel that if one idea, theory, or practice is right for you, then other ways must be wrong and thus discarded. And yet you understand that life is a constant interplay of opposites. You marvel at the movement of the sky, as you watch it turn from light to dark and dark to light.

Likewise, there is great wisdom to be found in seeing yourself as made of complementary opposites. If you are unable to foster a dialectical or more intigrated approach to your thinking, your views and opinions can easily fall prey to black and white thinking and contraction.

Your deeper self naturally seeks intigration as opposed to division. So every time you feel your black and white thinking pulling you away from your centre, stop and question the usefulness of such thinking.

Your head seeks to separate and analyse, while your heart or deeper self seeks to unify and draw all things together. Allow your head and your heart to become dancing partners



Chronos
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25 Sep 2010, 2:01 am

I don't think my thinking is particularly black and white but I find that sometimes people do not explain things in sufficient detail and I have a difficult time accepting lay explanations, so perhaps in that respect my thinking can appear black and white, or I might appear stubborn.



League_Girl
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25 Sep 2010, 2:22 am

I don't think I am black and white. I have gotten it from people that I am. I have no idea why they think that.

There are some things I am black and white in but isn't everyone black and white to an extent?

I find myself being black and white if I am having difficulty finding when something is acceptable and when it's not. Talk about finding the gray.



elderwanda
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25 Sep 2010, 2:24 am

Black and white thinking is one of those "aspie traits" that I do not share.

In fact, in college classroom discussions, I was typically the one who would point out that both sides of the coin might be true (regardless of the topic) .

Maybe it's because of my Moon in Libra. Ha ha! I don't like to take sides, or choose one path over the another. I usually see that things are neither black nor white, and either/or thinking irritates me.

I think, for the most part, having non-black and white thinking is a good thing. However, I've been ridiculed for it, because I tend to think non-black and white even when it's expect to think black and white.

Does that make sense? I hope so.



mjs82
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25 Sep 2010, 4:46 am

YES



marshall
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25 Sep 2010, 8:33 am

I don't think "black and white thinking" is a symptom of autism. However, interpreting things in an overly concrete/literal way and/or missing social nuances can appear as black and white thinking.

There's another type of black and white thinking, called "splitting", that people tend to do when under emotional stress. This isn't unique to autism though as everyone tends to do it.



pgd
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25 Sep 2010, 8:46 am

Two categories

Black and white thinking is a little like yes or no.

Black and white thinking is a little like there are only +'s (pluses) and -'s (minuses).

---

Three categories

When voting: Yes, abstain from voting, no.

Math: + (plus) - - 0 - (zero) - - (minus).

---

Decision Making - the brain/mind has been described along the lines of putting weights/taking off weights on a balance pan.

At some point an extra weight will cause the balance point to tip in a certain direction.

---

Balance Scale

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weighing_s ... al_balance



OddFiction
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25 Sep 2010, 8:54 am

1: believe 2: disbelieve ---- 3: partly believe? where is the "partly believe"?
-----
I always thought we got the label because of the following reasons:

:!: A tendancy to greatly analyse all plans and ideas before initiating or conveying them, thus having a strong conviction, thus sounding fixed and rigid and presenting the idea/plan as if we are absolutely correct and giving the impression that we can't imagine a better option / path to follow.
:!: Once we find a successful way to do things, we repeat them (happily) the same way. Over and over. Without considering other ways to do it.
:!: It's not that we can't see or argue for both sides... it's that we don't often bother looking for the compromises in the middle... we don't bother to look for the grey in-betweens. Because efficient logic follows the route of the most dependable / reliable data... not a tree of options.

Most of this comes from thinking things through on our own, and simply following the logic before presenting. Most of us can change our opinions / ways if an opposing or complimentary party (or an event) presents of forces us to see a new option that presents as more meaningful, logical, effective, better. But we come off as rigid and set in our ways. Which is usually (I think) the best way to do things... "go with what works."



Werecrocodile
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25 Sep 2010, 9:00 am

Black and white is everything, gray is an illusion.



Fo-Rum
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25 Sep 2010, 2:29 pm

I think black and white thinking is a symptom of being human. I might notice it more here than anywhere else, but to limit black and white thinking to specific types of people is wrong.


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quaker
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26 Sep 2010, 12:46 am

I aggree.....b/w thinking IS very human.

I would like to add though that some people are more susceptible to it than others and also, just because someone is prone to b/w thinking does not mean they cannot counter such thinking and overcome their attachment to such thinking.

One glance through WP and you can see in abundance the high percentage of folk here who are governed by b/w thinking........this is not a judgement but what I perceive to be a simple observation.

In many ways many folk in the spectrum have difficulties in holding opposites. The insatiable desire to cut up, divide and overly analyse as opposed to seeking a more philosophical and unified approach.

I think this has something to do with taking things literally. However, the spectrum is so wide and so deep and I have met many folk with AS who are not attached at all to b/w thinking.......interesting to note that these people seem to be less literal and more metaphorical.

In other words the more conventionally artistic and right brain the person with autism is, the more able they are to accept difference within themselves and others. Hence less inclined to be governed by b/w thinking.



anneurysm
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26 Sep 2010, 1:03 am

quaker wrote:
I think this has something to do with taking things literally. However, the spectrum is so wide and so deep and I have met many folk with AS who are not attached at all to b/w thinking.......interesting to note that these people seem to be less literal and more metaphorical.

In other words the more conventionally artistic and right brain the person with autism is, the more able they are to accept difference within themselves and others. Hence less inclined to be governed by b/w thinking.


Good observation: I've never thought of it this way. I know quite a few people on the spectrum who are like this, and being someone who isn't like this at all makes said people harder to understand...but this theory makes a lot of sense.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).