Good evening ladies and gentleman.
Something today that infuriates me in ways that only a few things can. We have argued many times, throughout many different subjects that a lot of generic, universal behavior in modern society is down to a form of fear. Fear of what people may think, fear of what we could gain and what we might lose etc. This fearful effect on our lives can, sadly, be quite profound. This fear translates into our routine, our routine becomes repetitive, leading us to the valley of “safe boredom.”
We like living in this valley, we know everything and everything has its place and this is where lies my latest irritation. The modern world has a thing where everything should have its place, so we all know what it is, how we use it and how we can gain the biggest advantage from it. We are compulsed to categorize everything, treating the wondrous beauty of the world like a filing cabinet.
We especially have a thing for putting people, more specifically, the way other people think, into categories and assuming this allows us to make judgement and leap to conclusions based on things we “heard.”Perhaps we read about it in some gossip magazine, which then leads us to not be comfortable with people who think this way, because “they aren’t in the same categories as me.”
We place ourselves in these imaginary categories more so than anyone or anything else, to the point where will be able to entirely predict and overcome our behaviors based on these ideologies and stereotypes, fearing who we actually want to be because it may not be “acceptable” and may “confuse” or “baffle” people, especially ourselves. Even though we spend so long putting ourselves and everything else around us into these categories, thinking this would provide solace, some strange form of relief, what does it really achieve? We have to simplify things, so we can understand them and overcome them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Maybe that’s the why behind our almost compulsive categorization.
It seems related to time. We all long for more time, yet we waste so much time preparing for life, we forget to actually do the living part. We try and do all we can to make our lives easier, mean we don’t have to try and take on something complex that could take up time in the ticking life clock we all pay so much attention to. Its as if we can wind up forgetting to live, because we are so busy trying to understand how to. Maybe a better way of thinking about it is to flow it through an example….
Sex. We aren’t brilliant at talking about it, we are compulsively private about thinking about it, and generally know what we like, regardless of whether we want to talk about it. This puts us into a number of different categories. These categories are endless, throughout all subjects, a lot of which we are totally unfamiliar with. This means we wind up unaware and unfamiliar of the vastness all of life can be, beyond sex to life, love and everything in between. This can almost make for a loathing of the unfamiliar, convinced it will “never be as good as what I have now.”
I was recently told a story that probably explains this better. A man sits down beneath a mango tree, looking up into the tree, seeing the plush orange mangoes high up in the tree. However hard he tries, he cannot reach those plump, ripe mangoes. Dejected and irritated, he slumps back down. Another man wonders past the mango tree and asks the man sitting beneath the tree- “how are the mangoes?” Without hesitation the first man replies “you don’t want those mangoes, they’re bitter.”
The point is, we put people and things in these categories because this makes them familiar, more recognizable and most importantly limits the “unsettled” sensation of not knowing. We want people to be in the same categories as us, because then they are familiar and don’t make us feel anything we don’t understand how to react to. So we assume what we don’t understand, what is unfamiliar, is bad, because it may make us feel anxious, “lost” in something we don’t know how to overcome.
Why do we do this? This is an incredibly self-limiting existence. Limited to the familiar, to fitting people and things into boxes that are supposed to make the world so much “easier” to deal with. Resulting in us working to avoid dealing with things that mean we actually have to feel something something, considering them as bad- as something that could make our lives harder to deal with, even though its arguably these moments that make us who we are, rather than who we are supposed to be, or who its “easier” to be.
What do you think? Comment below or on whichever social media, i’d love to know what your opinion is on our compulsive categorization.
Random motivational picture.
One thought on “Categories”
Labels can definitely be stifling. I found that losing the labels we put on ourselves translates into less judgmental labeling towards others – we’re able to see the complexity of people better, and the story behind the story. It’s very freeing, and much more interesting because we see the depth of people, and all their fascinating facets. This was a great read!
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