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The Grey Problem

Updated: Apr 24

On one's journey to identity, one must have a clue about who they are and what they're capable of. The more precise that clue is, the likelier that person is to develop their identity quickly. These clues have to come from specific things known as labels, and with those labels, one can have a sense of security about their identity.

Should that label lose its credibility, one will understand less of who they really are. We are, after all, categorizing creatures. Everything and everyone we know (and don't know), has a label that we put on them, and vice versa.

The more labels there are and the more we know them, the more we will know reality and our position in it. On the contrary, those who are delusional do not have their labels in check, as they are currently not aware enough of the true harmony of labels in the world around them. Even if these labels do not exist outside of our minds, the significance they represent might.

However, there may be times where a label doesn't suffice because, although everything can be defined, the world isn't dichotomous ("black and white"). Combine two polar labels, and you will receive a hybrid label. One that is both of their polar opposites.

When you are something that has both opposites, it could be hard for you to understand who you really are, as you contain traits that contradict each other, which is possible. Being born into different religions, for example, can cause confusion. "Am I a member of religion "A" or religion "B"?"

Another example: teenagers are both kids and adults, and that fact makes them, ironically, too old to be kids. On the other hand, they're too young to be adults. They are, therefore, in a state where there is no clear sense of age other than "teen". This makes the teenager wonder, Who am I? Do my parents have the same authority over me as they did when I was a kid? Am I old enough to do certain things on my own? And so on.

Even I seem to be in this "crisis" of identity. I've written books, answers, and articles that not everyone is necessarily going to understand. And yet, it seems my mental world is quite devoid of things. Regardless of the fact that I am an adult now, I feel as if I still have the exact same brain as a child. If I am a savant, AKA, a person of extraordinary cognitive ability (in this case, writing), then I might as well be what was called in the past, an "idiot-savant.".

Not to say that these subjects are entirely shallow, but I've been having the exact same thoughts since I was a child. How, then, one must ask, did I become a philosopher? The answer might be that I am an "idiot-savant". Or, someone with a generally low mentality but extraordinary abilities regardless.

I find it very hard to believe I'm an "idiot", so-to-speak, but my general thoughts are indeed shallow. For the veteran readers of this site, I sometimes speak of a game called "Suikoden IV", my favorite game of all time. After watching dozens of videos of that game this year, I realized how little this game is.

You don't really have much reason to play it after it is done, it doesn't have a lot of "end-game" content, the plot is shallow, and there aren't many locations to explore. The variety of enemies is not that wide, and so on. And yet, I've been thinking about this game for at least a few hours a day since the 2000s.

The same futile thoughts, over and over, even though there isn't that much to think about in the first place. Looking back, I am surprised at how much I was deeply immersed in what is considered to be one of the worst games in its series. I even used to explore the locations of this game even though there was nothing in particular to do.

The gray problem is, in short, when you have opposite traits within you that seem to coexist in harmony. Only contradicting themselves in theory. Who said a vegetarian couldn't eat meat on very rare occasions? Who said an ex-alcoholic couldn't enjoy some wine during a family gathering? Who said a former gaming addict couldn't play something during a social event or play some dumb game on their phone? These exclusions should contradict each other, yet they do not. Because these people still remain the same, despite the exceptions they put themselves through.

Grey itself is some sort of "paradox" because according to logic "A" can't be "B" at the same time and vice versa, and yet, when "A" is combined with "B", they might become "C", which is a product of "A" and "B" merging into one. Grey is created by merging white with black, thus becoming the ultimate symbol of a hybrid being existent at the same "level" of existence as the rest of the non-hybrid colors. Can you say that gray is more of a color than red or blue? No, because they're all colors, regardless of what is required in order to make them.

If one wishes to know oneself, one must also face the probability that there may be contradictions existing harmoniously within them. My mental world might be, in theory, a bit dull, repetitive, and boring one. That doesn't mean I can't be at least a good (and productive) writer. I might as well be, I hope, an autistic savant.

Surely being 23 with seven books and hundreds of articles behind me in a foreign language isn't normal? In philosophy? I'm not bragging, I'm trying to explain an example of the "Grey Problem". I don't necessarily seek your praise.

Finally, for some reason, the current, PC title of this condition is "Autistic Savant". As to why they have changed the term from "idiot" to "autist", it is unknown to me. Regardless, please don't call me or others "idiot savants" just because I used this term in this article.

And as a bonus, a video related to the subject at hand.

By the way, if any of the links I provide no longer work, please let me know. I'll see what I can do.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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