Ambiguity in Labels

Personality question, Human question, face question, etc. © Nevit Dilmen [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Personality question, Human question, face question, etc. © Nevit Dilmen [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


Humans have places for their shit and labels for their shit. These are the two fundamental truths about the human race. No other species can separate everything out like we do. This is a survival advantage for us overall, but it can sometimes get in the way of meaningful interaction. There has to be a point at which we move past the label and into individual needs/wants/desires. When people first meet one another, they fall back on labels to weed out potential enemies. This is all about our tribal nature. We need this. Because we are our only natural predator with any kind of proven success rate, we really can’t all be friends. The whole species would have to undergo a significant evolutionary event in which only cooperation could save the race in order to even begin to eliminate this part of ourselves.

Having said that, I still want to accept people unconditionally. I want to be able to do this without prejudice or hesitation, but I must acknowledge that in this, I am no different from other humans. I want to be “evolved” but there is absolutely no proof that this way of doing things is the best for the human race. Just because I believe in the cause of mutual understanding does not mean it is attainable or even desirable. What I do know is that even though I use labels, and sometimes judge too harshly, the part of me that is happiest with who I am as a person is only happy when I stop using the labels and see people as unique individuals.

Labels are necessary, even useful, but I feel like I’ve spent enough time on playing around with labels, and now I want to do something different. When others define themselves with labels, I want to look past that definition to see what it means on a more personal level. This is the harder way to do things, but I guess I think it’s worth the effort. Not every personal difficulty can be pinned to an easy definition, and when words fail, I do not believe that labels help elucidate; what I really think is that they put a wall up that prevents further investigation.

I know that some people think human mysteries and scientific mysteries alike should not be examined. I know that sometimes, too much examination renders a thing less beautiful. My argument against that philosophy is that if a thing is rendered less beautiful upon closer examination, perhaps it was never beautiful to begin with. If a thing WAS beautiful to begin with, preventing closer examination just leads to frustration, whereas allowing it tends to uncover the magnificence within that can sometimes be hidden by overgeneralizations.

I do not believe that the need to examine, and talk, and explore the wonderful insides of a fellow human is intrusive in a love relationship; whereas, it absolutely is intrusive in, say, a work environment. Sometimes, understanding comes organically. You don’t have to look for the truth because it is revealed to you. Other times, truth hides behind fear. In these cases, where love is involved, fear is a barrier that must be broken down in order for the love to thrive. I would argue that labels make it harder to break down that barrier.

I am guilty of allowing this kind of obfuscation, even of allowing myself to fall into it from time to time. Nonetheless, I still want to move past the fear, move past the labels, and understand how to nurture every part of the flower of my love. Who needs what, and are those needs compatible? Can we create a garden that nurtures many needs at once? I think we absolutely can, but not without conflict. There will always be conflict, competing needs. Can we accept that and make it work anyway? I guess the real answer is that sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t. Maybe it shouldn’t even be the goal, but because it makes me happy, it is MY goal. I know I will not always succeed, and sometimes my failures will be spectacularly horrible, but this will never stop me from trying again.

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