People loooooove to label themselves, and even more so people love to label other people. Sometimes they want and work hard to get certain labels put on themselves, but sometimes, they do not like the ones being put on them. There are lots of labels…
Geek, jock, redneck, obese, depressed, tree-hugger, left-wing, right-wing, middle-class, super-rich, black, white, yellow, atheist, Christian, Jewish, Methodist, Protestant…
At the same time a label is attached, a set of complimentary attributes is attached on whomever the label belongs. Moreover, everyone has his own set of adjectives to slap on to other people. It works like this… You are a geek, and therefore you must be a genius who likes Star Wars but are socially inept and boring. Or, you look like a jock, and therefore you must be proficient in many sports but you probably do not have a brain and will always act like a frat boy.
You can obviously observe that everyone is different in his or her unique ways. However, there is a distinction from simply observing, accepting, understanding, and appreciating the differences than labeling each other in a desecrating and segregating manner, which is what labels are mostly about nowadays. It is absurd and stupid but it is happening all around us with high frequency in our society. People are people. People are not labels.
Do you know the notion that often follows implicitly the sentences that label?
I am such and such and you are not…
You are such and such…
…therefore, I am better than you. Ha!
…therefore, I am right and you are wrong. Loser!
…therefore, you suck. Go home and cry to your mama!
It is natural human instinct to seek security, comes as a survival instinct of the animal kingdom. People probably flock to these labels because label provides them a sense of security by allowing them to associate with groups. However, there comes a time when we need to see that it is hurting us all together. People have complexity and at the same time, lots of commonality.
Label separates us. Label creates hurt feelings. Label often leads to anger, resentment, and hatred. Label limits a person within what the label stands for. In a way, label is another way ego manifests itself, where a set of “should-have”, “should-be” attributes and qualities that is provided through labels.
Label makes us judge prematurely, and keeps us from genuinely connecting with people. It holds us back from the exerting the effort to get to know others for who they really are. What we can do instead is, throw away the labels and open the mind and heart to truly listen, understand, and feel who someone really is. This is the way to create meaningful relationship.
One great but sad example is how people are “diagnosed” with depression and other so-called physcological symptoms these days. You can tell I am not a big fan of this. It is sad because these fellow human beings would get labeled and forever carry a stigma. It is sad because the best cure for many of them is for others to sincerely care, show kindness, and perhaps connect with them as persons. However, once they are labeled, people treat them differently, shun them, and call them creepy, weird…
I am not upset but to use myself as an example… I am Chinese and was born in Hong Kong, and I am a computer science graduate, which tosses me into the geek label. I may have some attributes associated with those labels, but I as a person is so far and remote from being ONLY what those labels denote. I am me, not those labels. I am me, not my name Kin, because name is just something that other people call you, as in label. I am me.
I am especially displeased with the events that label causes in terms of religion. Not that religion is a bad. You are this and I am that, and we cannot be friends. You are atheists and you must be a cruel, cold-blooded being. People focus way too much on what religion they belong — the label — to a level of obsession. Is that what religion is about? Does it really matter which one you or others choose? My answer is no. You know what is one common theme amongst the teachings of all religions, new and old, large or small?
Compassion — a genuine concern and understanding and wish of well being for people and nature because they are all connected.
The moment people focus on labels, the moment they lose sight of compassion. Religion itself has a good purpose, but people have the tendency to lose focus on compassion participating in the other aspects in religion.
Label separates people. I say get rid of all labels. Stop using labels.
Originally posted 2008-05-01 23:16:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter