“Why do you always have to label everything, can’t you just let something just be as it is?”
“Not everything can be categorized, why are you always trying to categorize everything, not everything makes sense.”
I’m writing this post to clarify the error in the branch of the of politically correct culture which seems to be against ‘labels.’
Labels are how humans organize data, it’s not always a way of stereotyping or making hasty generalizations. Those would be incorrect or inaccurate labels, which is what defines stereotyping. Most of the politically correct society at large however, would maintain that labels and categories are themselves the culprit of bigotry and prejudice. But it is not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water here, humans understand via categorization.
I had a girlfriend like this. Everything she confronted that was too hard to define was tacked with the label ‘cannot be labeled,’ and all conversation about said topic was suddenly null and void. This is nothing but an underhanded implicit tactic to squelch descent with anyone she interacted with. I would maintain that she is not alone in this motive. Ironic, since, that’s the very mentally she professed to abhor in not wanting to ‘put labels on things.’
She once said that putting a label on the ‘politically correct,’ was ‘inappropriate.’
“How can you label an entire movement or attitude, it can’t be done, and why would want to do it anyway?”
She also said:
“Nothing can really ultimately be categorized, that is why putting things into nice, neat little groups is just a random convention.”
What people who harp about labels being inappropriate might benefit from understanding is the fact that categorization works by uniting similarities between things, all things. And since all things have attributes and since all attributes bear similarities by necessity, it is therefore true that in order for the above latter statement to be valid, there would have to exist, things that are absolutely unique, that is, one of a kind, of all kinds. And yet, this is an existential impossibility.
Try to think of an object or anything, that has no similarity to anything else, whatsoever…Pretty hard because you simply can’t do it.
Human beings learn integrating data, that is, uniting objects, events, things etc. into units with their particular measurements and differences omitted to make things called concepts. Those measurements and differences are not then just thrown out as these people might tell you, but sub-categorized, anything that yields greater complexity doesn’t become incapable of being categorized, but simply becomes its own category.
The modern day subjectivist will give you examples of border lined cases which ‘couldn’t be categorized.’ Things like if a cyborg is a cross between human and machine, is to be considered it a man or a machine? Since the purpose of concepts is to accurately identify the existents in reality, this would necessitate the forming of a new concept which is neither, but retains attributes of both, hence the word, cyborg.
Another good examples of this (though I’m sure there are far more important instances) is in visiting the movie rental store. It’s dramatic and action packed, so is it drama or is it action? The appropriate thing to do in this case is to total the aspects of drama and total the aspects of action and see which one is more prevalent, then put it into either action or drama accordingly, or just make up a new category altogether.
An instance where resolving this error becomes more important is in identifying social groups and behavior which people tend to be the most afraid of doing. There is certainly a danger in misdiagnosing someone as this or that description, but as long as one keeps a tentative attitude toward their integrating, forming categories about people is one of the most crucial. We do it all the time implicitly, and this is how we recognize a predator from simply a person walking on the street with us at night. There are all sorts of little identifiers our unconscious picks up, that is, categorizes for us automatically. This would be what the postmodernist would call ‘a feeling about someone’ when actually emotions are just another way of putting things into groups with labels to describe their nature.
It’s unfortunate that our integrating of new information tends to stop where things like people and behavior begin. Personally, I never stop integrating and processing data into what I strive to be meaningful compartments to organize information.
The PC attitude against labeling and categorizing is actually a social backlash to the traditional age which was wrought with rampant stereotyping. But we don’t live in this age anymore and its time to see labels and categories in a positive light so long as they are kept accurate to the facts of reality.