The appeal of simple dichotomies

It’s a strange feeling to finally understand that we cannot always categorise things into two broad dichotomies of good/evil, black/white etc. It’s like coming to a conclusion that there can never be a proper conclusion that everyone agrees on and that is not falsifiable. (hello SI, seems like you have been helpful in shaping my thought process after all.)

Anyway, it is a really strange feeling. I like getting to the bottom of things, and the thought of being unable to properly solve an issue just keeps nagging at me. It feels like I have to somehow, get to the bottom of it all. But at the same time, it’s also a comforting thought to know that there will never be a conclusion that everyone can agree upon, and that’s fine. It’s fine to have many questions and no answers. It’s fine to have many possible answers but not one definite one.

I came to this conclusion (haha the irony) after years (literally, I mean it) of thinking about my dear Severus Snape’s intentions and motives. Actually, this has always been an on-and-off issue for me for years, but I really gave it very, very serious thought 2 days ago, when JK Rowling (and many other Potterheads) had a huge discussion on Twitter – JKR coined it “Snape: Good, Evil or What?” and I thought that was pretty apt.

What made me come to the above-mentioned conclusion was her tweets:

JKR Snape dichotomies.PNG

These tweets meant so much to me beyond the Potter realm (which I have to say I will always be a part of). I remember feeling really confused about world issues (basically that’s everything) in the aftermath of the Paris Attacks and other attacks over the world.

But JKR’s tweet about “the appeal of simple dichotomies in our messy world” resonated with me and my own thoughts. I hated the confusion that I felt about issues in fictional worlds (Potter, Odyssey, etc) and in real life (ISIS, extremism, state violence, power etc) but I realised that this confusion is fine. It’s alright to have conflicting thoughts that seem like they can never be resolved – I could live with that.

In the case of Snape, maybe I had been trying to find a black/white, love for Lily-and-thus-Harry/hatred of James-and-thus-Harry side of him in order to figure out where his true intentions for his actions. I don’t think I can ever get to a proper conclusion, partly because he is a grey character, and was written to be one. You know, it’s strange how it was the greyness of his character that prompted my thoughtfulness and queries initially, but maybe his greyness is precisely the conclusion that I have been looking for all these years. I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it. But for now, I am content with the idea that simple dichotomies are just not realistic – and there’s a sense of comfort in that thought.

/Also, don[t you think that dichotomising things only make things much simpler that they actually are, and this doesn’t do any issue/ action any justice?/

I am in such a pensieve mood now haha but I’m actually at Starbucks at The Cathay with A LOT OF FLIES, trying to do my CSI essay. I have been here since 5AM and I was pretty productive for like two hours, until I got distracted by YouTube for three hours.


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