The Importance of Nuanced Thinking

Too often I see issues reduced to binary terms. This or that. Right or wrong. Good or evil. Real life presents us with various issues which ought not to be dealt with in such absolute terms. Quite frequently, there is an enormous gray area present but unseen.

Personally I view this as lazy thinking. It seems that people are so busy multitasking these days that they are unable to focus intently on an issue. They are too busy juggling a whole host of social media platforms, binge watching TV shows while talking on the phone while eating, talking on their cell phones while they drive, cutting their nails while at a traffic lights (yes, I have personally witnessed this), or even riding a bicycle while talking on the cell phone while ALSO holding a drink (I do have to give him props on his sense of balance though!) Another problem is that people derive their news from shallow ‘news’ sources such as facebook. We instead should employ our critical faculties and avoid relying on what another source ‘thought’ for us. Analytical skills should be encouraged. I constantly tell my friends, “break it down”. In real life, we are dealt with issues that come with a variety of layers that need to be defined if they are to be effectively resolved.

With the rise of terrorism over the past few decades, the rules of war have had to be altered. Gone are the days when there were visible uniformed soldiers. Today’s rules of engagement have to take into account enemy combatants who use civilian shields, shoot from schools, and even use children as suicide bombers. If a military force has to engage such terrorists and inadvertently kills civilians, naturally it is tragic. However, there is an enormous difference between civilians being killed unintentionally –  as in the previous example – and civilians killed intentionally by the opposing side. They are not morally equivalent.

Here’s another illustrative example of nuanced thinking: In the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, someone might perceive the color spectrum as containing ‘red, orange, yellow,” etc. While that’s true, the spectrum can be understood perhaps more precisely by realizing that there are slight degradations between each color as the shade of each eventually turns from one to the next (from red to orange, and then orange to yellow). Where an individual might just see a strip of orange color beside a strip of red color, I see an array of shades between the two.

Whenever you come across a conflict or an issue, whatever it might be, “break it down”. Use a methodological step-by-step approach and break down the complex problem into single components. It is at this juncture you realize that what at first seemed so complex and convoluted is actually simpler than originally presumed.



Author: Symbiosis

I am a premedical student whose interests lay at the intersection between the humanities and science. I believe that by broadening our interests and investigating both the humanities and the sciences, we can engage in a humanistic approach to science and concurrently promote intellectual innovation by forging productive connections between the two cultures. - E.J. Tanenbaum

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