Humans do not fear black and white so much as they fear shades of grey. Take sexual orientation for example. Much of western society is starting to come on board for what is broadly termed as ‘gay rights’. Gay and straight are becoming more and more accepted as viable options for one’s sexual orientation. However, what of the bisexual? Bisexuals are still rendered invisible or untrustworthy by the homosexual community and are considered a fetish by many in the heterosexual ‘community’. Many homosexuals are fine with other homosexual or straight people, but the bisexual is merely a ‘closeted’ homosexual or a person that greedily soaks up heterosexual privilege to them. This degrading view has dwindled somewhat since the height of second-wave feminism in the 80s and early 90s but I still run into these stereotypes. I should know, I am bisexual and I used to work for an organization heavily involved in LGBT issues. It isn’t that homosexuals or heterosexuals are unable to comprehend the bisexual, it is just that they are disgusted (or interested) by the possibility that a continuum of sexual orientation exists and that it is not binary.
The same can be said of gender and I won’t belabor that point. As a transgenderist, I am abhorred by both male and female as I seem to blur the lines between the two. Bring up the newer understanding that gender is a continuum and people start bleeding out of their eye sockets. Even sex is not binary due to the presence of intersexed conditions. Binaries are so much easier to understand, so much easier to insert an ‘us vs. them’ mentality into. Ironically, just as the poles of the binary can be used to create such a mentality, the poles themselves can unite against those that prove the binary wrong.
For the amoral, or “fluid morality”, psychopath, this blurring takes on a whole different meaning – one that is often disturbing for the non-psychopath. People often think in terms of good and evil, believing that a person is one or the other, but not both. This is interesting considering how growing up that we are taught that all possess good, they may just need to find it and that once they do, they can take a path toward being a truly good person.
For amoral psychopaths like yours truly, good and evil do not consciously enter the picture. We do “good” when it serves us and we do “evil” when it serves us. There is almost always some other angle involved. For instance, I tip very generously at a restaurant I frequent and am good friends with the employees. I don’t do this to be a ‘good’ person. I do this to ensure that I am one of their favorite patrons and that I will always have a more than friendly place to call home on a rough day when I just need to get out. One day long ago, I was involved in an auto accident and just left. For me it was not worth it to stick around and risk financial repercussions. I believed the risk that the other party would call the police was low since there was such minor damage (to my eye) so in the moment ‘evil’ made much more sense for my well-being.
The idea that a single person could do good one day and evil that very same day is boggling to most. But morality, like many other things, is also a continuum. I happen to fall in the middle, truly inclined to do neither good nor bad on a consistent basis. The truth is that there is rarely black and white, but rather a greyscale. Be it sexual orientation, gender, morality, or any number of other characteristics, humans must accept the fact that it is not required that everyone fall perfectly on the end points of the interval. The fact is that one must open their eyes to the uncomfortable fact that someone could give them a free meal one day and stab them in the back the next. Humans understand black and white and they need to be less afraid of the grey, for it is all around.