Polarized Thinking

If there is any one behavior I see more than any other on this forum, this is it.

All right… or all wrong.

All good… or all bad.

All win… or all lose.

Either / or and no in betweens.

Pure dichotomy. No room for shades of gray.


“All meds suck.” “There’s never any hope.” “The docs are all f##k-wits.” “The system is completely broken.” “No one can help me.” “Everyone is out to get me.”

Life is simply not like this. But one has to observe to recognize that, not slam-dunk some assertion based on a belief one may not even be able to bring to consciousness.

Things are the way they are when they are the way they are. Things change. We have been taught to believe they stay the same… to make us feel secure? But we don’t.

So why insist that something is this way or that way… instead of allowing it to be exactly as it is when it is as it is?

(This message was brought to you by Ekhardt Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Stephen Hayes, Marsha Linehan. Daniel Seigel, M. Scott Peck, Pema Chodron, Stephen Levine, Albet Ellis, Aaron Beck, Wayne Dyer, Thich Nhat Han, Depak Chopra, Tara Brach, Chogyam Trungpa, the 14th Dalai Lama, and Alanis Morissette.)


Some just can’t think it through,but I understand your trying to help

Yesterday I had not a good day,and when I went home everything felt bad,it’s like my confidence has been hit,will try to work my way back

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Always account for variable change. Thus is life

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room for shades of gray

Like this one :heart_eyes:

Lol…sorry :slight_smile:

It seems to me what you’re getting at is a tendency towards delusional thought, which is a fascinating phenomenon, but one should not be surprised to find it at a schizophrenia forum. Why is such polarized thinking related to delusions? For it is characterized by the incapability to doubt such assertions as you mention. The indubitability of a delusion is similar to the lack of nuance in these statements. Typically, one might trace it to a lack of perspective-taking abilities. Some would phrase that as poor theory of mind. Yet it seems to me there is a characteristic lack of attunement with the intersubjective world that goes a bit further than a mere deficiency in either projecting or simulating a ToM onto others. In any case, it has been known that the perspective-taking capacity is compromised in schizophrenia. This is manifest in the transition from a proto-delusional ‘as-if’’ mode of experiencing delusion-like phenomena in the late prodromal phase (it may seem ‘as if’ the tv is talking to me) to full blown endorsement of delusions. In the former, it is clear some perspective-taking ability is still in place, for one can distinguish between what one subjectively experiences and what others might experience. Needless to say, this capacity consist of being able to take another point of view, which seems crucial in nuancing one’s statements beyond the mere impression one has.

I know that if I do this at all, this black or white thinking, it is from my Catholic upbringing.

“I know kid, they don’t know.” Very old beings in my head say.

“You can’t show them it’s all black and white?” I ask.

“No, they are still kids. You’ll never be able to show a kid anything until he has tasted it, they’ll think crazy ■■■■ if you try and tell them.” They say.

“They think there is grey? You know what that means?” I ask.

“Yes, they’ll fall right off the bike and get very very hurt. We’ve tried already though, you can’t tell them, they are new, they’re all children.” They say.

“This guy though, he’s one of the smart ones, he’s wrong as well?” I ask.

“Listen to him, he only articulates well, doesn’t mean anything. There was only ever black and white, there never was any in between. Good or bad in any situation, thats all that there is. We know why they say that though, we understand completely. If you are smart you’ll divide it, everything, divide it all into harmful and not harmful, black and white, causes pain or does not.” They say.

“This is all quite strange. A dumb guy getting a shortcut.” I say.

“Yes, we know. But it’s the difference. You, the dumb one know the difference now between heavens and hells. You know they’ll start putting lazers on the satellites if they get the chance, it takes a smart one to build those things. But you know the difference now.” They say.

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I think all or nothing often as well. I wonder if that way of thinking came from a strong Christian upbringing

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I don’t think it has to be Xtian. Or Jewish. Or Islamic. Though they are all “authoritarian” religions (vs., say, Taoism, Hunduism and Buddhism, which are more philosophies than collections of dogmas for social organization). I think it’s just Western philosophical orientation toward accepted and unquestioned dualism (or “dichotomism”). We just get conditioned, habituated, socialized and normalized to an unconscious either/or filtration of perception.

One can, however blame the Church for going with Rene Descartes during the Reformation that made dualism “official” in the 1600s.


Good one…thanks!
Difficulties are to make u a better person not bitter person
Loss in some form is always gain in other form
Ups and downs,lows and highs, joy and sorrow,… co-exist
key is being optimistic

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