The Color Grey and Why It Matters


The Internet is a dangerous place, ask anyone who has dared post something out of step with their peer group and they will tell you.


Recently, yours truly ran afoul of expert level social media trolls by daring to suggest, in the mildest of terms, that a beloved and recently departed celebrity (one widely considered an animal advocate) had been on the wrong side of exotic animal captivity. In other words, the late celebrity had been a supporter of marine parks, zoos and “selfies with animals”.


You can see where this is going, right?


What ensued was a vicious, mudslinging, name calling free-for-all with people on both sides castigating, depending upon whose side they were on, the late celebrity, other posters and me.


WOA now, slowdown will ya? Hear me out.


In our modern age of 24/7 rage, incendiary sound bites and snarky memes something super critical has been lost in the shuffle. I am of course, talking about the color grey, that soft, not black, not white, middle shade which has elements of both extremes but is not fully in the camp of either one.

I would go so far as to say all people fall somewhere on this grey scale, not 100% evil, not 100% good. Heroes we adore can, for a variety of reasons, adhere to something at odds with their perceived heroic morals, villains whose actions we find incomprehensible can stand up unexpectedly for a worthwhile cause.


A cursory investigation of our inner most thoughts may reveal some conflicting views, we rescue animals, but still consume factory farmed meat, we are vegan but long to ride elephants. I am guessing that most people, myself included have been wrong once or twice on something.


Face it, all of us are on a pathway, to those of us seeking the way of compassion for all living things, the road is long with many twists and turns, as we go from darkness to enlightenment.


Purity may be the goal, but let’s all try and remember that compassion comes gradually to most of us. It’s OK to look honestly at our heroes and our foes and it’s alright to treat ourselves and our fellow humans with compassion. We are all on this journey together.



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Thyra Rutter is Artist and Founder of Arte for Elephants, LLC, a philanthropic art and ethical, adventure travel business that has raised over $67,000 for community and wildlife support.