The Value of Grey Thinking | Farnam Street

Source: The Value of Grey Thinking | Farnam Street

Reality is all grey area. All of it. There are very few black and white answers and no solutions without second-order consequences.

It’s only once you can begin divorcing yourself from good-and-bad, black-and-white, category X&Y type thinking that your understanding of reality starts to fit together properly. Putting things on a continuum, assessing the scale of their importance and quantifying their effects, understanding both the good and the bad, is the way to do it. Understanding the other side of the argument better than your own, a theme we hammer on ad nauseum, is the way to do it. Because truth always lies somewhere in between, and the discomfort of being uncertain is preferable to the certainty of being wrong.

quantitative thinking isn’t really about math; it’s about the idea that The dose makes the poison. … Nearly all things are OK in some dose but not OK in another dose. That is the way of the world, and why almost everything connected to practical reality must be quantified, at least roughly.