In a world in which darkness and light cross each other every day, this quote keeps me going. Things were different when I was a young child and watched cartoons on TV. It was very easy to recognise the villain and the hero. I did not have to bother about context, since it did not matter. Indeed, in my eyes, the villain had always been that way. After all, that was simply how things were. Tell me honestly if you also viewed the world in black and white. I am almost certain that you did, and maybe still do.

Researchers preaching to the choir. In these final days of 2016, Erasmus Magazine has completely submerged itself in the topic of ‘religion’. What role does faith play in academia, what influence does it have at Erasmus University and how do scientists and students deal with their own faith and the convictions of others.

I no longer see the world in this way. While I can read people, I can never say for certain that someone is purely good or bad. Yes, there may be people who you really cannot stand. But are they really bad people? Who are you to judge? Who am I to judge? No one is objective.

‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.’

Rumi (Sufi mystic and philosopher)

I am sure that you agree with me, because I know that you at times also feel that you are doing something bad. But do you also think that you are a bad person? I do not think so, because yesterday you held the tram door open for that nice old lady. And it’s true. You are not bad, because there is context that puts your behaviour into perspective.

Nevertheless, an infantile black-and-white perspective is dominant in society. It is the ultimate paradox, but so real that it makes me shudder. Because although adults are aware of the complexity and uniqueness of human beings, black-and-white thinking is maintained. They are the enemy and we are the good guys. Simple, right? It’s as if we are children again and do not have to think critically. All we have to do is choose a side, and sometimes we don’t even have to do that.

In a world in which it is easy to choose a side, opt for the field between good and bad; the field in which we are not sure of anything except our own perspectives. I follow my instinct in that field. Will I see you there?

Sarah Achahbar is Internal Coordinator at the Erasmus Sustainability Hub.