When I imagine the world in only black and white, it’s more of an impossible thought. No life, sound or colors, similar to an experience of a computer in binary – it is either a zero or a one. Vices are the wicked habits of a person and a virtue is a quality showing high moral standard. If we say that the good and the bad are exclusive, it means that we believe in the firm distinction which is not possible, because complete polarization of good and bad is a misapprehension. People are not found at the poles instead they are found in the middle. It’s not a world of black and white but it’s in the shades of grey.
The virtues are always accompanied by vices. The idea of complete goodness is a fallacy. The world is of duality, if the good is present, the bad will be an inevitable compulsion. It’s evident from history that no one is superior or inferior in terms of moral standard – As mentioned in the Hindu epic, Ramayana, Ram is considered as the symbol of good and Raavan, the symbol of evil are found with some characteristics inconsistent with their expected nature and conduct. Raavan, who was considered the king of vices, had the virtue of his knowledge and ram, the Purushottam – Purusho me Uttam – the best man is also criticised for his immoral act of leaving his wife.
Even the most barbarous civilisation had something or the other to contribute to the world. The human evolution has never been about absolutism or extremism. No matter now cruel a king was, he always had some point to cherish.
There is an ancient Chinese concept of Yin and Yang – representing energies of good – the white and bad – the black. In this philosophy, Yin and Yang describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, it says that the world is about harmony between the two and the perfect balance is the key to survival, neither one of them can preponderate independently of each other. The black dot on the white part and the white dot on the black part show the presence of opposites together. Even when the white – the virtue is dominant the meager part of black-vice is still there and hence we cannot affirm that they are mutually exclusive. It strengthens the idea of the obviously mixed composition and inclusive nature of the good and the bad.
It’s like scoring a person out of ten; any person cannot get a perfect score in all aspects of life. Similarly, one cannot get zero in all dimensions to be evaluated.
Being judgmental on vices and virtues is a very unnatural way of understanding human conduct because both physical and human world has evolved in the shadow of bright days and dark nights and to restate, the world is not binary, it is a mutually inclusive combination of different shades of grey.