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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Random Thought Thursday: The First in a Series (Or Maybe Not Since it's Supposed to Be Random)

What is it with the human desire to classify everything?

And it starts from a very early age . . . Or is that the adults in our lives began teaching us to put everything in its place when we were very young and we just followed suit?

I mean, I understand it from the standpoint of wanting to separate things into more manageable groups in order to better understand an ever-changing, overwhelmingly expansive universe. That I get and think may be very valid.

But on the other hand I wonder if this constant classification of things (shapes, colors, sizes, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, sexual preferences . . . ) might be getting a little out of hand. Doesn't such marginalizing of people into cookie cutter-like groups cause division among humans? The whole idea that there's "Us" and then there's "Them?"

I don't know. I look at, say, the Animal Kingdom and while humans classify the she*t out of every living being (Maybe I'm a little bitter because I flunked out of Zoology in college, but really who can keep all of the species, sub-species, phylum, sub-phylum, genus, class, etc. straight?) the animals themselves could really care less who belongs in what category. I mean, obviously, there are those that don't hob knob in the same social circles - zebras don't hang around with lions for fear of being eaten - but other than that a herd of zebra will travel with a herd of wildebeest and a group of gazelles along with a few hangers on like birds and insects. There is an order to things, but you don't see animals debating what that order is.

Now yes, we humans live in communities (rural, suburban, city) - but look at that there are classifications for where we live, what food we eat, what kind of school we attend, what socioeconomic class we belong to, whether we rent or own a home - the list is endless. And so the great dichotomy goes . . .

Yet, such classifications cause great divides in my observations - necessary? I don't know. But just think about it . . . has being pigeon-holed into one group or another caused you difficulty in your own life? I think most of us reading this right now can think of at least once or twice where assumptions have been made, insults thrown, doors slammed in our faces . . . Is it all because we feel a need to classify things for understanding? Or is it more likely that we as humans want to make ourselves feel superior to others in some form or another? Or is it just because it's been done since, well, since forever?

Then again, maybe I'm just being cynical today :)


At 8/24/2006 03:26:00 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

That’s great. I feel the same way…what was it that set you off, I wonder….

This type of thinking is one of the many reasons I tune Jay Sevrin out. I’m in no way a fan of that asshole…in fact, I’ve only listened to him a handful of times in the past couple years but it’s good to know what the wingnuts on the radio are lying about….or some actually believe what they say…what’s worse? Anyho, He, like so many others, constantly groups people by color, religion, occupation, political party and so on and I’ve often thought to call his show and ask him why. Though in this case, I think I know why.... he’s am imperious, sexist, racist, self important sociopathic suckpump to the Right. But why do so many other people do it without any bad intentions? Are we alone in thinking that it might be counter productive to the betterment of man to celebrate our differences so loudly? There are a lot more differences between Me and my wife, than me and a 32 year old man born in [insert some little-known foreign place]. Man and women are different by design and that results in women being able to do some things that men cannot and vise versa. Not one is better or more important than the other, both are necessary for the survival of our species and those differences should be acknowledged and treated respectfully, (IMHO). Me and the guy born in 1973 in Romania are, for the most part, the same. I understand that we now speak different languages and because our environment plays such a part, we probably have different values and opinions but why do we have to be forever reminded of the differences, wouldn’t it be better if we concentrated our efforts on recognizing and celebrating our similarities. We all live on Earth don’t we, we can’t be that different.

Is it because we’re lazy? Is because we don’t actually mean what we’re saying? Are we making assumptions to allow to us to be lazy in our speech? Is it because it’s easier? Is it easier to say, “I hate Republicans” than say “I Hate mean-spirited, vengeful, greedy, hypocritical, shortsighted, ignorant, pompous jesus-freaks that claim to value all life while it seems they actually only value human life before birth and after death”?
I suppose it is....

At 8/24/2006 06:58:00 PM, Blogger Linus said...

Not really sure what got me rolling on this one ... I've been thinking about it for a while actually but hadn't the words to pull it out of my head until now ...

Maybe it was going to the zoo yesterday ... seeing the animals ... thinking biology/zoology ... classifications ... BAM! There it was

It could have also just been a random occurence, like when you happen to catch a shooting star - there it was

Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Brian. Good to hear from you again :)


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