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->''"It's so much easier to see the world in black and white. [[GreyAndGrayMorality Grey?]] I don't know what to do with grey."''
-->-- '''[[CowboyCop Garrus Vakarian]]''' [[HeelRealization after realizing]] [[HeWhoFightsMonsters what he was becoming]], ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

In RealLife, seeing the world in absolute BlackAndWhiteMorality is considered normal for small children, but seen as a far less healthy trait in adults. A person who regards the people around him as [[IncorruptiblePurePureness entirely good]] or [[AlwaysChaoticEvil entirely evil]] has this. This type of thinking is a symptom of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_personality_disorder Borderline Personality Disorder]], a real life mental disorder.

Some authors have picked up on this, playing belief in BlackAndWhiteMorality 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 BlackAndWhiteMorality themselves, exceptions exist. In such cases, a LawfulGood AntiHero suffering from Black and White Insanity can be very disturbing indeed in the eyes of their fellow LawfulGood real heroes.

This trope is ''not'' about [[IThoughtItMeant 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 FalseDichotomies and keep their worldview coherent by applying huge quantities of InsaneTrollLogic and meeting criticism with {{Abomination Accusation Attack}}s. Black and White Insanity might also be what makes a WellIntentionedExtremist, well, an ''extremist''. This kind of insanity is pretty much the characteristic of the KnightTemplar. Character development might lead to the insane one becoming a TroubledSympatheticBigot.

Compare ActivistFundamentalistAntics, WindmillCrusader, WithUsOrAgainstUs, MoralMyopia.

Contrast BlackAndWhiteMorality (for settings where the world actually operates in a way that makes this kind of world-view completely rational).

'''Note: This trope is about characters who have a black and white worldview AND are mentally unstable.'''

[[noreallife]]
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Eren Yeager, the protagonist of ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. Considering the complex and morally grey world he lives in, it more often than not causes him problems. As a child, he brutally killed a pair of murderers and justified it by stating they were merely "animals that looked like humans". As a teenager, he reacts to {{Tragic Villain}}s expressing remorse by exploding into a rage and stating they are inhuman monsters not allowed to feel emotions. When confronted by situations that are morally complicated, he tends to either freeze up or get [[UnstoppableRage angry]]. It makes his attempts to understand [[spoiler:Annie's reasons for killing people]] [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness all the more shocking]]. For whatever reason, he cannot simply dehumanize [[spoiler:Annie]] like he does to other villains.
* This tends to come up in ''Manga/DeathNote'' a lot. Light Yagami starts to shift into this as the series goes on, and the fourth Kira is this through and through (he essentially had this as a child, but couldn't quite grow out of it).
* ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'' has this in the form of [[spoiler:the Jovians]].
* [[spoiler:Flit Asuno]] winds up with this after [[spoiler:Yurin's]] death in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamAge''.
* Shinn Asuka's greatest problem is ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' is his inability to see or accept shades of grey. He's not exactly insane, but he's certainly highly unstable. By the finale though, he has definitely gone off the deep end, being willing to defend a KillSat about to destroy an entire country because he believes that country to be pure evil (the fact that he was until recently a native citizen of said country ''actually fuels this belief'').
** Shinn's mess of anger issues are the root cause of this way of thinking; or rather ''lack'' of thinking. He's not a bad kid, really, just too HotBlooded for his own good.
* [[spoiler:Sayaka Miki]] in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''.
* The X-Laws of ''Manga/ShamanKing'' are all this. Especially in the anime.
* Sensui from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''. Emphasis on "insanity". "Humans are good - Demons are bad." Sensui existed and killed by this creed. When confronted face-to-face with atrocities committed by humans upon demons instead of the other way around, he snapped so hard he formed ''six additional personalities'' just to deal with the trauma.
* In ''Manga/{{Zetman}}'' Kouga idolises Alphas, a SuperHero from a cartoon with BlackAndWhiteMorality, and tries to emulate him even into adulthood. [[HeroicWannabe This does not turn out well.]]
* ''OnePiece'' has the concept of "Absolute Justice", where law enforcers have a very strict black-and-white view of justice to the point where ''any'' deviation from the law, no matter how small, is met with swift, harsh punishment. The worst offender of this is [[spoiler:Fleet-]]Admiral Sakazuki of the Marines, who will ''execute'' people who so much as ''know a criminal''. A ship full of refugees met a fiery end due to the fact that a criminal ''might'' have gotten aboard.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' ComicBook/TwoFace is sometimes portrayed as having this as the root of his multiple personality disorder.
** This is particularly obvious in his post-''Year One'' characterisations, where the "good" persona believes in fairness and the hope of goodness in people, while the "evil" side sees unfairness and cheating everywhere. To quote his revised origin:
-->'''"Harvey"''': ''Good boys don't do bad things.''
-->'''"Two-Face"''': ''BAD BOYS DON'T DO GOOD THINGS.''
* An early version of the Heterodyne Boys (the basis of the characters of the same name in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', but specifically not the same guys, according to [[WordOfGod Studio Foglio]]) has the characters traveling to an alternate universe with GreyAndGreyMorality, 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 Maniac}}s.
* In ''{{Logicomix}}'', Ferge is totally honest and devoted to truth & logic. Sadly, this devotion combined with IgnorantOfTheirOwnIgnorance leads to Black and White Insanity in the form of a StrawVulcan despite for women and Jews. On the whole, this makes him a TroubledSympatheticBigot who is desperately trying to do the right thing.
* Rorschach in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', meant deliberately as a comment on Creator/SteveDitko's [[WithUsOrAgainstUs more fanatically Objectivist]] characters. This is clearly reflected in his ExpressiveMask, where the black and white never mix.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Two-Face's condition is even worse in ''Film/BatmanForever'', where his good side, if he even has one, seems to be an excuse at best. To emphasize the point, he has two female henchmen named Sugar and Spice, a pair of attractive women who are supposed to represented his good side (Creator/DrewBarrymore) and his evil side (Debi Mazar) in very sexy ways. However, Sugar, the one who is supposed to represent his good side, is just as evil as Spice.
** Two-Face's actions show that rather than having a good side and an evil side, his coin toss represents doing evil, and waiting for the next opportunity to toss the coin.
* In ''Detective Story'', Detective Jim [=McLeod=] views the world this way, even refusing to give a break to a man who embezzled a small amount of money despite the victim not wanting to prosecute. He tells them that he'll commit another crime and another until he's like the gibbering idiots they've also arrested. His world collapses when he finds out [[spoiler:his saintly wife knew men before him, became pregnant and had an abortion]].
* ''Film/GodBlessAmerica'': With his strict morality of right versus wrong, Frank Murdoch's reality crumbles. He comes across as being less capable of comprehending the world than Roxy Harmon, who easily exploit his insecurity to get him to embark on his misguided crusade. While he's a WindmillCrusader, she seem to simply be in it ForTheEvulz.
** The television ranter, tea party members and Westboro Baptist Church picketers Frank kills are also portrayed as suffering from this - either genuinely or simply pretending to get attention.
* In ''Film/TheLedge'', Joe lives in his own personal world of strictly black and white morality. This gives a life that is very good but also very fragile. When reality doesn't conform to his over-simplified world-view, everything crumbles.
* [[KnightTemplar Overzealous mall cop]] Ronnie Barnhardt in ''Film/ObserveAndReport'' suffers from this flaw, in addition to Bipolar Disorder.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': In ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', Anakin Skywalker slowly becomes more and more deluded that all opponents of [[BigBad Chancellor Palpatine]] are enemies of the Republic, culminating in him [[InvokedTrope declaring a]] WithUsOrAgainstUs to his former mentor. Obi-Wan Kenobi then [[{{Hypocrite}} uses it right back at him]], but the narrative [[BlackAndWhiteMorality portrayed him as being in the right]].
* In ''Film/TuckerAndDaleVsEvil'', Chad keeps insisting in a black and white narrative with himself as the good guy and the hillbillies as the villains. Since said hillbillies are the eponymous characters, well...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Holden Caulfield from ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'' suffers from this trope, and the consequences are apparent.
* Played with in the Literature/{{Discworld}} books. Granny Weatherwax is accused of having an overly black-and-white view of the world in ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum'', but as she explains to Mightily Oats, in her opinion "[[AntiHero gray's just white]] [[IDidWhatIHadToDo that's got grubby.]]"
* In ''Literature/{{Flatland}}'', the ruling caste enforce a BlackAndWhiteMorality worldview to the point where they outlaw color, enforcing the world to literally be black and white. Their excuse for this draconic law is that it's needed for preserving the sexual purity of their women.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'':
** The priestess/sorceress Melisandre of Asshai is convinced that everything she does is all in the name of the greater good. This is probably best exemplified when she speaks to Davos Seaworth. She asks if he is a good man or an evil one, he says that like most men he has both. Her response:
-->If half an onion is black with rot, it is a rotten onion. A man is good or he is evil.
** Davos reflects the metaphor right back at her: when he delivered his ship of much-needed supplies to the besieged soldiers of Storm's End, many of the onions were half-rotten, and eagerly eaten nonetheless.
** Daenerys Targaryen has a fair bit of difficultly understanding that not all of the people who rebelled against her father and usurped her family's throne are faithless, power hungry traitors. In particular, every time she hears anyone say anything good about Eddard Stark (who the readers know one of the only genuinely heroic characters in the series) she refuses to listen, and continues believing him to be a cold hearted villain. [[spoiler:She starts to grow out of this after finding out from Barristan Selmy that her father really was TheCaligula. She's also not as quick to condemn Eddard for his association with Robert Baratheon when she realizes that by the same logic that she uses to condemn him, (essentially guilt by association) she is a childkiller like her dragon.]]
* Galad from ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' has a comparatively minor case of this; he's described as "always doing the right thing, no matter who it hurts" and has ''very'' strict ideas concerning what right and wrong entail. This leads him eventually to join [[ChurchMilitant the Children of the Light]], an organization (in)famous for this kind of thinking. [[spoiler:In the later books he begins to be lighten up, at least a little, especially after people he respects challenge his world view and point out how even the best intentioned person can be simply wrong, even working from the best information that they have. On the plus side, because he's now influential in the Children, his lightening up is taking the organization with him.]]
** As a whole, the Children of the Light. Quite a few of them smell ''rabid'' to wolves.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''{{Buffyverse}}'':
** The Watchers Council says all demons are evil. Of course, this is first disproved by the [[FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire vampire with a soul]] Angel, and then the soulless vampire Spike, who actually goes and [[LoveRedeems 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).
*** But he still eats kittens.
** Not to mention that the Slayers themselves have powers that are demonic in origin.
** ''Series/{{Angel}}'' showed the Council's position to be nonsense, with scores of non-evil demons appearing. Even many of the demons they fight are "evil" not in a LegionsOfHell apocalyptic way, but in a career criminal, thug-for-hire way.
** Connor. The sad fact is that he never really adjusts to our world. Angel is a killer; therefore, he should die. The world is harsh and cruel; Jasmine made it a paradise, so she must be good.
*** He considers himself ''above'' Angel Investigations in this respect, accusing them of fighting empty battles and helping to maintain the status quo.
* ''Series/{{Monk}}'' will try prosecuting people for letting their dogs pee in the street, having an uneven number of buttons undone on their shirts/sweaters or wearing mismatched socks, because such "crimes against the universe" will "invariably" lead to crimes like ArsonMurderAndJaywalking.
** And don't even get him started on nudists....
* Virginia in the ''Series/NorthAndSouthUS'' miniseries is against slavery. Fine. Believing that everyone from the southern USA is AlwaysChaoticEvil? 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.
* Police commander Howard "Bunny" Colvin from ''Series/TheWire'' bemoans how this attitude, particularly in the case of the "War on Drugs" has changed being a police officer for the worse throughout his career. In one frustrated speech, he says that police officers are being turned into wartime soldiers, and outlines what he sees as the differences between the two. (According to him, one protects a community and the people within it, while the other kills their enemies.) He goes on to add this has only turned the very community police are supposed to protect into their enemies.
-->I mean you call something a war, and pretty soon everyone is going to be running around acting like warriors. They gonna be running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, racking up body counts. And when you at war, you need a fucking enemy. And pretty soon damn near everybody on every corner is your fucking enemy. Pretty soon the neighborhood you're supposed to be policing is just occupied territory. Soldiering and policing they ain't the same thing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* In Music/BadReligion lyrics, this trope is implied to be one of the main problems with people and society.
* In Music/BillyJoel's song "Shades of Grey", while he notes his own departure from BlackAndWhiteMorality and how much easier it was, he also cautions in the vein of this trope:
--> And the only people I fear
--> are those who never have doubts
--> Save us all from arrogant men,
--> and all the causes they're for
** This is also exemplified in the title character of his "Angry Young Man".
* The video for the Music/InsaneClownPosse song "Wrestling/ChrisBenoit" touches on this in the form of a rubix cube that arranges itself from evenly checkered to solid black or white on each side, representing the titular wrestler's descent into the insanity that led him to kill his family. The use of chess pieces and dice also add to the Black versus White theme prevalent in the video.
* Music/TheMonkees also did a song "Shades of Grey" with the same theme, but without the caution aspect.
* A Music/{{Vocaloid}} music video called [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQKYbBU4sPo "Super Hero"]] has the title character Kagamine Len choose to become a super hero like his idol on a cartoon show in order to administer justice. Over time, he finds the real evil lies in the government and tries to destroy the system for the greater good.
--> I'm a super hero!!\\
The time has come to change the world\\
Call me insane? Call me a murderer?\\
You're the ones who are evil!

--> Terrorist, you say? That's outrageous!\\
Hey, where do you think you're taking me?!\\
I protect everyone, this town, this world, and you!\\
I'm your great and noble hero!!\\
This wasn't the way it ended on TV...
* In another Vocaloid song, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW-6U5bCyS4 "Karakuri Burst"]], Kagamine Len states that his views of morality are separated only by 'black and white'.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* Tuyet from ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}''. She's a LawfulEvil character, who wants to take over the Matoran universe because she genuinely believes [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans she could make it a better place]]. However, an Alternate Universe shows that this would mean brainwashing all the other Toa into {{Knight Templar}}s, and killing anyone who poses a potential threat to her position as Empress.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The [[BigBad Oracles]] from ''TabletopGame/GeniusTheTransgression'' have this as their defining character flaw.
* In ''Tabletopgame/MagicTheGathering'', this is [[LightIsNotGood White]]'s main flaw, which is why KnightTemplar's are fairly easy to create. A specific example were the Loxodons from Mirrodin (metal covered anthropomorphic elephants), which were mentally incapable of accepting the concept of moral shades of grey. The white [[AlwaysChaoticEvil phyrexians]] that took over Mirrodin were even worse in that regard.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Planescape}}'' went in for the "LawfulStupid KnightTemplar" presentation of Lawful groups a bit much, at least those that weren't overtly LawfulEvil. The Harmonium and Mercykiller factions were especially bad, presented as draconian monsters - the courts often had to throw out cases where someone was arrested by the Harmonium for minor infractions like membership in a "wrong" faction. This came from being in a setting where belief is power and strong belief is ''more'' power, leading factions to resort to dogmatic extremism to get and keep their power.
** In an interesting subversion, it also suggested that for creatures who are born from and composed of the pure force of Good (or Law, or whatever), that to ''cease'' to see the world in the black-and-white terms of their alignment was a sign of mental instability. The main example being a group of celestials (beings of pure Good) who conspired to keep the fiends (demons and devils) wrapped up in their EnemyCivilWar by running arms to both sides. Some seemed to be close to losing their grip from seeing things in shades of gray. In other words, shades-of-gray is a healthy and mature view for mortals but unhealthy for immortals, and black-and-white absolutism is the reverse.
* In ''Tabletopgame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', pretty much every single sentient being is afflicted by this, due to FantasticRacism. Except the AlwaysChaoticEvil ones. Of course, this being [[EvilVersusEvil Warhammer 40000]], the only mistake most of them make is assuming there's a 'white'.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''Videogame/DragonAgeII'', as Anders becomes more and more obsessed with the Mage/Templar issue of Kirkwall and as [[FightingFromTheInside he's starting to lose the battle against Vengeance]], he becomes more and more hostile to those he perceives as pro-Templar or just generally an enemy of the mages, including those in Hawke's party, and including other mages. At the nadir of his madness, one isn't even allowed to abstain from the debate; choose a side or he'll choose it for you and designate you an enemy.
** Fenris, too, in the other direction, to a slightly lesser extent. Fenris believes that all mages are evil, period. Interestingly, he's actually ''aware'' that it's generally a bad idea to overgeneralize the innocent many based on the actions of a guilty few. But reminding him of that will cause him to rationalize that bad magic is so tempting that all innocent mages, with the possible exception of Mage!Hawke, will eventually become guilty. The "lesser extent" part comes in because Fenris never quite ''acts'' on his belief that all mages are the same beyond insulting the mages in the party, and Fenris will sometimes apologize for being rude if it's pointed out to him, where Anders...well, play the end of the game for details.
** Hell, Fenris will even ''help'' mages when you point out their treatment in the game is a form of slavery; the one thing Fenris hates more than mages.
* N and Team Plasma from ''[[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Pokémon]] [[MeaningfulName Black And White]]'' has this. If you're not in support of their insane CartoonishSupervillainy, then you're a cruel and abusive [[KickTheDog Lillipup-kicking]] Pokémon trainer! [[spoiler:It turns out that Team Plasma's claim to having this is merely a cover-up for their true motives -- to TakeOverTheWorld. N turns to be the true Plasma King. The only one who wants to TakeOverTheWorld is Ghetsis.]]
** In the sequel, Ghetsis and co are still trying to [[spoiler:take over the world]], while N is still interested in [[spoiler:freeing Pokémon]], but more specifically [[spoiler:freeing them from Poké Balls]]. As the end nears, he begins to question if people and Pokémon really can live alongside each other.
* Heavily implied with [[spoiler:the apparent BigGood Rohoph]] in the ''Videogame/{{MARDEK}}'' series, [[spoiler:due to the Violet Crystal's influence]]. [[spoiler:[[AntiVillain Qualna]] calls him out on it and gets a FateWorseThanDeath for his trouble.]]
* Ishida Mitsunari in ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara''. Either you are a fellow servant of Hideyoshi, in which case he will (grudgingly) tolerate you, or you are a vile sinner who will be killed in the most gruesome fashion imaginable. It doesn't help that he's quite a HorribleJudgeOfCharacter.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/CaptainSNES'', Max Force labels people who disagree with him about just about anything as "[[DrugsAreBad druggies]]" and attempts to shoot them down. Once he is convinced someone is a druggie, no force in the world can convince him otherwise. And when he fails to shoot [[{{Mario}} his target]], he comes up with [[InsaneTrollLogic insane excuses]] as to why he didn't actually miss; he was just aiming at something else.
* Webcomic/{{Goblins}}: Kore the Paladin is nominally LawfulGood, a requirement maintaining his paladin status. However, he believes certain races of monsters are [[AlwaysChaoticEvil inherently evil]], and that [[VillainByProxyFallacy anyone who comes into contact with an evil creature]] becomes "infected" with evil themselves, [[RedemptionEqualsDeath which can only be cured by death.]] This includes people who merely come into contact with evil creatures, people who are kidnapped by evil creatures, and even people ''[[SympathyForTheDevil who might potentially sympathize]]'' with evil creatures. And no, [[WouldHurtAChild children are not exempt.]]
* Miko in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' 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 KnightTemplar into a total WindmillCrusader - handwaving even the fact that the Gods have stripped her of her paladin powers.
* Irina Tepes from ''Webcomic/{{RasputinCatamite}}'' hacks up people in the name of God, and is absolutely convinced that her activities are virtuous.
* The partisan climate of the US devolving into this on both sides was the driving force behind the [[{{Dystopia}} less-than-stellar]] state of affairs in ''Webcomic/{{Remus}}''
* Glinda comes off as this in the ''Kings War'' arc of ''{{Webcomic/Roommates}}''. She goes to war against an ''evil'', ''greedy'', ''glory seeking'' villain who fooled people into thinking that he changed and got his hand on a magical kingdom, but villains are villains and heroes heroes, period... In her own world she might be justified, OZ is not the land of great moral ambiguity, but because the comic is a MoralityKitchenSink that ''villain'' happened to be a LawfulGood ex-HeroAntagonist, who is also the TokenGoodTeammate of the main cast.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Near the end of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', especially in the finale, Azula [[SanitySlippage begins to adopt 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" [[spoiler:after Mai and Ty Lee turn on her.]]
** Parodied when she banishes one of her twin handmaidens, convinced one is loyal and the other is treacherous, despite the fact that she can't tell them apart.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'''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?!
[[/folder]]

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