Black And White Insanity


(permanent link) added: 2010-12-01 06:20:54 sponsor: Xzenu (last reply: 2010-12-22 04:12:28)

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  • Laconic: This character believes in Black and White Morality even in situations where no fully sane person would see it in black and white.

In Real Life, seeing the world in absolute Black and White Morality is considered normal for small children, but seen as a far less healthy trait in adults. In fact, viewing people as all good or all bad is one of the nine official criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder - a disorder defined so that children cannot be diagnosed with it.

Some authors have picked up on this, playing belief in Black and White Morality as a sign of the character being insane or at least mentally unstable.

While this is almost always done in settings that are not of Black and White Morality themselves, exceptions exist. In such cases, a Lawful Good Anti-Hero suffering from Black and White Insanity can be very disturbing indeed in the eyes of her fellow Lawful Good real heroes.

This trope is not about regarding everyone as either completely sane or completely insane - however, such a worldview would be a good example of this trope.

A Character suffering from Black and White Insanity is likely to reason in False Dichotomies and keep her worldview coherent by applying huge amounts of Insane Troll Logic. Black And W Hite Insanity might also be what makes a Well-Intentioned Extremist an extremist. Character development might lead to the insane one becoming a Troubled Sympathetic Bigot.

Compare Windmill Crusader and With Us or Against Us. Contrast Black and White Morality for settings where the world actually operates in a way that makes this kind of world-view completely rational.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • This tends to come up in Death Note a lot. Light starts to shift into this as the series goes on, and the third Kira is this through and through (he essentially had this as a child, but couldn't quite grow out of it).

Comic Books
  • An early version of the Heterodyne Boys (the basis of the characters of the same name in Girl Genius, but specifically not the same guys, according to Studio Foglio, has the titular characters traveling to an alternate universe with Grey and Grey Morality, where they end up killing the first guy they meet in a bar. They then proceed to conclude that he must have been evil, because where they come from, only evil people ever die. In their own universe, that is assumed to be true, but in the universe they ended up in, that combined with their abilities essentially makes them a pair of Omnicidal Maniacs.

Literature

Web Comics
  • Miko in The Order of the Stick is built on this trope, growing increasingly delusional over the course of the story arc. As her insanity increases, it changes her from a mere Knight Templar into a total Windmill Crusader - handwaving even the fact that the Gods have stripped her of her paladin powers.

Live-Action TV
  • Virgilia in the North And South miniseries is against slavery. Fine. Believing that everyone from the southern USA is Always Chaotic Evil? Not so fine. And it keeps going downhill from there, with her ruining her own life and arguably becoming more of a liability to her cause rather then an asset.
  • The Watchers Council says all demons are evil. Of course, this is first disproved by the vampire with a soul Angel and then the soulless vampire Spike who actually goes and gets a soul for love. Not to mention Clem, a demon so non-evil that not only does Buffy trust him with Dawn but Dawn is able to push him around (and he comes to Buffy's birthday party).

Western Animation
  • Near the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender, especially in the finale, Azula begins adopts this mindset, seeing everyone as being either completely for her or a complete traitor to her. Most notably, the end of the two-part episode "The Boiling Rock" after Mai and Ty Lee turn on her.
  • Danny Phantom's first episode has Sam and Tucker on the opposing sides of a Meat vs. Veggies, and put Danny in the middle:
    Sam: you're either with me...
    Tuck: ...or you're against her!
    Both: SO WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?!
  • Tuyet from BIONICLE. She's a Lawful Evil character, who wants to take over the Matoran universe because she genuinely believes she could make it a better place. However, an Alternate Universe shows that this would mean brainwashing all the other Toa into Knights Templar, and killing anyone who poses a potential threat to her position as Empress.

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