People feel they need to categorize things to understand them, to poses them, to not be controlled by them; and to, in turn, be in control themselves. People feel they want to be categorized so that they might belong to something, to fit into a category is to not be alone. Categorization, the act of labeling is a mechanism of limitation, and it becomes a requirement, an obsessive requirement when you look at the differences between things before you look at the likenesses shared among them. If we were to teach ourselves, and in turn one another, that it is right to look at the commonalities we share with people before we distinctualize the differences, we would see a core bond of livingness, of feelingness, of what we refer to as the inherently HUMAN part of our nature as the initial defining characteristic of anyone we meet. We label to combat the perception of isolation.
The simple truth that we are all living, feeling, and wanting to be happy must be seen FIRST, and until we choose to see the common bond of livingness BEFORE we see the differences of appearance, speech, shape, age, religion, culture, sex, class, etc. we will be trapped by, controlled by, and limited by our need to label everything, our desire to create a point of reference and call that point of reference the self, or the other. We confuse that point of reference (the label) with the genuine person, and forget that the person is there to begin with. This happens when I think of myself as a student before a husband, a husband before a father, a father before son, a son before what I understand as myself, or what I understand as myself before the truth of what it is I really am. And what is that? Who knows for sure! I do know that whatever it is I am, at the end of the day, I feel, I love, and I want to be happy (and I am certain that you do too), and I know that as long as I am trying to squeeze myself into a box, I am not allowing myself to simply BE. No label will ever truly define me, or you, or the dude in the wheel chair. All we can do is describe situations, not the reality of the person themselves.
To illustrate that point, if you dropped out of school you would still be you, if you changed religion, or the country you called home, you would still be you, if you got rich you would still be you….etc., etc., etc… All that changes is the situation that you are in, or the activities that you are engaging in. Those situations, those activities do not define the dynamic, unique, feeling entity that you are.
Labels, categories, the so called politically correct, “boxes”: these are offensive to me. When someone defines me primarily as a role I play, or an activity I perform, it is offensive to me since they are saying that the role of father, husband, student, son, or whatever box they have for me today is MORE IMPORTANT than the reality of my actual being. The reality that without, and beyond those things I AM HERE, listening, feeling, talking, thinking and waiting for you to join me on the other side of this obsessive, isolating mechanism of categorical control.