I have a tendency to sort the world in two simultaneous ways. There are things I term “good” merely because I enjoy them, and things that I identify as “good” because they achieve their intent in an undeniably superior way. It’s very important to me to be able to tell the difference between these two. I’m obsessed with being aware of the difference. There’s the stuff you like, just because, and stuff that you have to admire the excellence of (if you are intellectually honest) whether you happen to like it or not. Sometimes the two are the same, but NOT ALWAYS. This is the source of my own ability to see the shades of gray in meaning. I expect there are other methods. This is mine.
Sometimes I make the mistake of pointing out this method of perception (in comments) to people who aren’t as interested in knowing it as I am. That rarely ends well. Those who write from orthodox or fundamentalist points of view, be they political, religious, artistic, financial or whatever, generally prefer to assert that it doesn’t exist. There’s TRUTH (whatever they happen to believe) and the force in opposition to that “truth”. Like the heroes in old westerns, they think that opposing force “needs killing”. They don’t want to examine the subtleties, reasons why beliefs are always changing through historical, cultural and personal contexts. They don’t like acknowledging that we all learn, and that we have different needs and desires at different ages, therefore some things we hold as true at one point in life won’t remain constant. It’s pure hubris to think we can accurately tell which will last.
No matter how much I think I’ve got the picture tuned in today, there are channels being added to the list while I sleep. I’m going to wake up tomorrow, turn on my head-TV, and see new sources of programming I hadn’t anticipated. I like that!