How looking beyond black and white can help you find your muse
Despite all the photograph evidence, things were never really in black and white. Ideas and Inspirations come in a full spectrum of colors and in order to find them, you need to look past the two sided viewpoint of black and white. Dismiss the “I am right and you are wrong” point of view and find your muse in the midst of you.
When I imagine what life was like from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, I cannot help but imagine it in contrasting black and white imagery. Weird I know, but since I was born in the70’s, most of what I have to go on for this era is the black and white newsreel footage of documentaries, along with black and white reruns of the first television shows and the black and white photos in my family’s photo album. Weirder still, is when I listen to the stories from this time told by people who were around then, I also imagine it in black and white. Sure, they had same sun which gave off the exact same spectrum of colors as we have now, but thanks to too many World War 2 documentaries, “I Love Lucy” shows and old photos, I have trouble seeing this decade in anything other than black and white. Perhaps, what aids this misperception is the fact that this era is also riddled with two sided symbolism such as Axis and Allies and Communists and Capitalists. It seems to me that, unlike the color filled 60’s and 70’s where it was much harder to tell who was right and who was wrong, It was easier to draw a line in the sand during these decades of black and white and know which side was the right side to stand on.
Because of my flawed perception of this era I know I am not getting the real picture of how it really was back then. In order to see it, I need to move beyond the black and white ideas that I have and do my best to imagine this historical time in the full color spectrum that it was actually in. For example, while it is safe to say that the Nazis were evil, I know that the Allies were not without their own moral dilemmas (the firebombing of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki). Also, the McCarthy Trials showed that there was much more to the cold war than right and wrong economic systems. Whether I can imagine it or not, people who lived during this time, lived in a complex world full of colors and things were not as simple as black and white.
In order to find your muse, you need to see the world for as it is in full on color. Things are not black and white and issues are neither fully right nor fully wrong. That person standing on “wrong side” just might have an idea that you could use to blast a hole in the wall of your misperception and let you finally catch a view of your muse, which was hiding on the other side of it.