The Binary Mindset
The binary mindset, not a simple topic but one I am going to attempt to explain anyway. A very complex idea and one that very few people have. This piece is about that worldview, about that mindset and about how you can learn from it because there’s a lot to learn. First things first are why I’m writing this, well one is because I like writing about how people perceive the world but two, you can gain a lot of knowledge about how others see the world from this very simple proposition. Firstly, the idea is based on black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. People who have this mindset tend to appear argumentative, agitated and angry but in reality, they aren’t. At least that’s not what’s on their mind and it’s not how they see themselves. Binary minded people as I shall call them for shorthand believe what they do because of making the world an easier place to live in, to advance excellence and to promote a simpler way of thinking. It’s not easy to have it and it isn’t easy for others to understand either. That’s why I’m writing this now.
Many of you will have differing world views, some may see that equality is the best way to go, others promote happiness, some even promote the idea of normalities. Not binaries. The point here is everyone has a slightly different view of the world but can stick the general principals and they know there are grey areas. For a binary minded person that isn’t the way they think, they see life as about picking things and choosing, being in control and being willing to accept themselves as unhappy if it means a problem is solved. While others may focus on the complexities, those who hold a binary world view actually focus on the simple things, some of you may find that refreshing and fascinating and some of you I’m sure will find it to demean the process of human understanding.
How It Affects Life
The truth is that the binary world view isn’t a choice. It’s a view just like the majority of people have, in the same way you do. You don’t sit there and think “today I’m going to be binary”, it’s embedded in the values you hold and the way you perceive the world to be. You either think that way or you don’t. Routines need to be adhered to, trends are ignored, new unique approaches are taken in order to solve a problem in a way others may not have identified. It’s a very complex beast and it’s not something many people will understand. This is why this piece comes from the heart, the only way you will understand is if you get solid, concrete evidence of what it all means. The first is the perception of ideas, people and the world around us. By casting away the irrelevant stuff they are able to focus intensely on the things that matter to them, as a result they can see things that others tend to miss. They can look at a problem differently and therefore find a different solution. This obviously works the other way around, if they misunderstand a problem or have difficulty reasoning with you, it’s very difficult to make them understand why you believe what you do.
The second is this innate ability for routine and perfectionism, things must be a certain way, designs must fit a certain aesthetic, food must be a preferred choice and habits must be exercised at certain, very specific times. Again, it’s not a conscious thought of “I will be mean here” or “I am upset because of this and so I will keep on until it gets better and the problem is solved”, it’s much more of a “this is not what is easiest for people, this is a much simpler and better way, here it is in plain English”. If you’re busy thinking about whether you’re liked or what you’re wearing, you’re spending less time trying to solve day to day problems you may occur. Binary minded people will simply ignore this and worry about what really matters to them, friends, hobbies, routines, structures and processes etc. They see that the beauty in life is not to be happy but to see something so incredibly complex distilled into something breathtakingly simple. Problem-solving from timing schedules to that revolution happening in art is what they are all about.
This attention to detail doesn’t just relate to what they are thinking about at the time, it guides what they think about, they couldn’t care less for others if they aren’t on the same page as them and they have no respect for those who aren’t seeing life in their way, not seeing things from a different perspective. It is a constant thought process far from “I’ll think about this after I see this next highly rated film” but rather “I’ll watch it when I’ve solved these problems”, of course §as soon as one problem is solved another arises so binary minded people are rarely comfortable with the way things are, they feel that there is a constant need for improvement.
A third major thing is a good/bad dichotomy. Binary people can consider great friends as enemies if they are considered to have made a mistake, random people can become the next big thing if they have an idea that sparks their interest. Moods change very quickly but for good reasons, it all comes back down to the constant need for life to be manageable and as simple as possible. This comes to my next point. People who have a binary worldview care very much about people being themselves and not conforming to trends for the sake of friendship, they see it much more fitting to change the world around themselves by picking friends, hobbies and habits very wisely indeed. They are at the very core of what makes binary people tick while being at times the punching bag, they are the most important things because without it there is no drive, no reason for being. Others may see it far easier to accept some basic facts of life and to ensure they can live as best a life as possible within those walls. Obviously, due to my phrasing, I believe these are barriers, that there are no rules that should apply to anyone because they are there to be broken. While seeming ridiculous to some maybe others can understand it, how will the world ever get better if we accept at any point “that’s just the way things are, it’s the way they are done”? To me that is the most depressing phrase out there, a closed mind unwilling to think for themselves, the idea that the frameworks of life have already been laid out and their job is just to live in it and love what they do.
While loving what you do is critical to someone with a binary mind they want to actually do something with it, rather than having a passion and not focusing on it, they will focus on it as much as possible, a true art form in many respects, the ability to drown out any noise and focus. Others may see dedication to one cause as a bad thing because they aren’t focusing on anything else and getting a well-rounded life, binary minds see that as a wonderful thing, it’s a sign of care and a sign of passion and while you may indeed get lost in it, you're incredibly happy that you’re in it and have the possibility of influencing others.
So what are the big positives that come with a binary mindset and worldview? Well for starters the world is a much simpler place. Understanding it can be distilled into a few core aims and beliefs and I think can be considered a beautiful remedy to the complexities of life. Second is something we haven’t quite talked about yet. This incredible ability to be ultra perceptive, to focus on something so much but to see it differently, someone could be racking their brain around an issue for days and someone with a binary world view can simplify it to such a degree that an answer can be found, a “wow, you’re right” moment so to speak. That’s what makes the binary mindset work by the way, not that they are right and wrong, that doesn’t matter, but rather that they have helped solve a problem that could be close to someone else’s heart. Another benefit is, of course, this obsessive nature and this determination for perfection, they would much rather be wrong on something and change their mind in an instant rather than cling onto an outdated idea because they are fearful of being wrong. They simply want to solve a problem whatever it takes if that means being wrong that’s completely acceptable to them.
There is also this sense of determination, altruism and well-being for others, that if people can’t figure out a way to move humanity or themselves forward then I will help them. They care deeply about people and ideas and are completely fine with hurting people’s feelings if it means they see the light on something and understand where they are coming from.
Negatives of this worldview tend to be that very special people have to fully understand the motives and reasoning of the intention otherwise they can be seen as arrogant and unkind, rather than stubborn and passionate, which is what they really are. To put up with this regularly is not easy at all and seems just as alien to most people as most people seem alien to binary minded people. A second negative is that some people find their solutions to complex problems as too simple, as glossing over important facts that can get to the bottom of something. Life is very complicated and if you don’t treat it as such you are doing a disservice to both yourself and others. A third problem would be very simply that this perfectionism and drive is all a lost cause, why think about changing things if you know that they can’t be changed? The perfectionism required by binary people is just too unrealistic to ever work in the real world. I happen to think these are horrible reasons, mainly because the world cannot progress without a sense of drive and perseverance.
How Others Can Deal With It
Dealing with this mindset from the outside can be very daunting, some people stand back in awe while others see it as stupid and a nonsense. The first thing you must know in order to temper and to control surroundings is to know what binary people like and don’t like, know their routines and what they love and do it with them if you love it too. If you think they aren’t seeing things in the right manner and are wrong on an issue be prepared to debate it if it’s good enough their minds will change. It’s all a part of this "adapt to the world vs the adapt the world to you" paradigm, some will understand it some will not. By managing the unpredictability you can manage the person, make them more mellow and understanding of what you perceive events to be.
The conclusion to this is very simple, or at least I see it that way! It’s much easier to go with the flow and to live life as it comes, adapting to your surroundings. It’s much tougher to take a new direction on and to not adapt yourself to it, the result is the simplification of the uncomfortable and the unnecessary into a brilliantly distilled resolution. In this world it’s much harder to reject reason and to stay true to who you are because our world encourages a view that there is one way of living in this world and that you can’t succeed if you don’t share that view. That’s true from education all the way up through the stages. “Here are the rights and wrongs, what you do and don’t do and don’t think for yourself.” I can’t stand what everyone else is doing, it’s not new and it’s not me so I don’t bother changing myself for a phase people go through or a given way of thinking, I for one long for the day when I get the opportunity to show someone how my way of thinking translates into a tangible product in life, if that day ever does arrive. Something observable, something to say to the future generations “here’s what I did” through expression of thought, something that may have been restarted or looked at differently just as I finish it, just like this piece. The constant ‘what if?’ questions, while being a pain in the arse at times, binary people can also have their great moments like us all. I cherish the great moments, I’m willing to put up with the awful if it means I get to stick around for the good stuff, it’s what I live for.