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Phrase origins?

Posted by Lewis on August 19, 2004

In Reply to: Phrase origins? posted by ESC on August 19, 2004

: : : "Not everything in life is black and white"
: : : Can anyone help with the origins and meaning of this phrase, I Interoperate it to mean - don't belive everthing you read?
: : : 19/08/04

: : Black and white are regarded as opposites with nothing in common. I think the phrase means that it's not always easy to classify people or objects. There are pros and cons in most cases. Even the best behaved people will have some bad habits. Nuclear power may threaten the environment by producing radioactive waste but it doesn't contribute to global warming by producing carbon dioxide. Even an unattractive politician may support one cause that you are sympathetic to.

: Nothing in life is completely wrong or completely right. Completely evil or completely good. There are shades of gray.

It is an example of a 'false dichotomy' - in the example black symbolises evil and white symbolises good - to be asked to characterise in those two criteria leads to inaccurate answers.
most things are somewhat like the ying/yang symbol - a mixture of positive and negative qualities.

for things to either be black or white good/evil is a simplistic world view.