Very often we use a certain mechanism to understand the world around us better, whether its other people, objects, animals, or even ourselves. Yet this way of doing it also has some negative connotations to it, because there are people who are arduously fighting against the idea of being put in a mould. Indeed, what I am referring to is classification, i.e. identifying a phenomenon or a person according to larger concepts than just that person. We do this kind of rearranging all the time, in order to perhaps increase our comprehension of life and everything. But does categorizing really help deepen our understanding of anything??
There are a few problems which come with classifying things according to our previous knowledge, one of which is that we might well judge without knowing. Like the saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover”, we can never really know what something is, or who someone is only by face-value, and that because it is really easy to present oneself as someone completely different than who we really are. Actors do it for a living, but we still all do it to a certain extent in our everyday lives. Also, the categories into which we might want to fit the different people might be erroneous themselves, since they usually come from a lack of knowledge, and a quick judgement, so that we are not taken aback by something unknown. Perhaps this serves as a defence mechanism to block ourselves off from something we perceive as dangerous?? If so, then maybe it is time to open ourselves up and be ready to explore the lives of others!!
People are not the only things we classify though, because we very frequently do it with our emotions as well, so that we have more of a clear idea about how we really feel. Yet, the problem with that, is that it is extremely hard at times to properly define something, especially a feeling, by relying only on our words. As useful as they might be, using words to describe a certain vibe or feeling might become tremendously tricky, for some things cannot simply be described. Love, for example, is a very intricate one, for what does love consist off actually?? Love might be a variable feeling, for the emotion itself changes depending on the object of love, since there are countless possibilities for loving and being loved, and it could be argued that each one of them is completely different and unique, just like the individuals doing the loving itself.
Those two uses of classification show that it is something quite fragile to rely on, for we cannot know if we’re actually right, or if we managed to explain it in its entirety. So if this system is so uncertain, why do we use it so much?? Maybe it is in order to cast our judgements upon others, organizing our lives in a such a way as to make it more comfortable for ourselves by casting away the fear of the unknown, using moulds as shields to guard us. Putting anything into neat little boxes gives us the illusion that we are in control and that we understand, despite the opposite actually being true. So perhaps it is time to drop our classes, get rid of our judgements, and embrace the things we cannot fully explain, or the individuals which are completely different from ourselves. This could lead us to new incredible discoveries.
Until next time,