There is always those who want to categorize, classify, and set individuals and things into convenient boxes. When people are looked at categorically and defined by a classification it begins to obscure the individual behind the names and even their class. These classifications and names are a little obtuse but sometimes it can help to identify individuals easier. Still in an age where there are hundreds of choices and types, and in so, we are about as varied as the isle where chips are sold.
Take for instance some of the categories that others have placed me. I am a white (Caucasian), INTJ, male, Bi-Polar (Type II), Insomniac. Some call me arrogant, or egocentric, a scorpio, others define me as a friend, lover, boyfriend, nemesis, evil, the Devil, sociopath or psychopath, nerd, brainiac, a fighter, a doer, a tool, a brother, a father, anti-social, broken, soulless, classy, refined, diabolical, genius, heterosexual (although others have called me gay, or homosexual), atheist, spiritual, angel, martial artist, an artist, a writer, a director, visionary, suicidal, and much much more.
These names, do they define me? Or do I define them with who I am? Do you need to know them to understand me? Does it even classify me, and which ways? Considering much of them are based on opinion or speculations and sometimes exaggerated. However, do they really classify me? Do I simply fall into a category and it is me, and is what defines me? Or are we just trying to fit people into their proverbial boxes so we can better understand them?
The problem is even if they are able to be classified in some way it doesn’t contain them entirely within the box that is defined. The fact that someone is gay, or not, does not define their entire persona but is only a symbolic flag that explains certain dynamics of their individuality. Just because someone does something stupid doesn’t mean they are completely stupid. However, in our society, we are quick to point a finger and say they are stupid for doing that. A desperate need to fulfill the roles we not only assign ourselves but others as well.
We classify our relationships, dating, single, boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, spouse, etc. In these defining characteristics are unspoken rules of behavior and guidelines. They dictate the form of the relationship and give meaning to things that really do not need such definition. I have seen married couples who cheat, and some who were in an open relationship. Either way, they sought others for their own reasons and fulfill some need. Yet through the relationship being an established classification offers no chance to be outside of that space.
For instance, if you have a friend and often it’s called a “friends with benefits” scenario, then we classify that too, yet what if the relationship of this continues for years. They don’t mind one another seeking others or dating others, and they are okay with themselves and their respective partner. Regardless they are neither in a relationship categorized as boyfriend/girlfriend, or partners, or friends (in it’s simplistic category). They are something undefined and yet through emotional and independent thought, they do care for one another, but not to an extent a lover might care for another.
So why do we hold to these classifications? Pushing people into boxes that only seem to define a segment of who they are. Do they really help us understand, or do they push others away from one another too much to really accept the other? Does it actually help to define others in our lives and our relationships, or does it seem like it’s never actually fair to categorize people in such ways?
For instance, although someone may be a jock doesn’t mean they are dumb and athletic, but simply it’s a classification that they play a sport or are more physically active than others. Still, this will drastically differ from their supposed counterpart geeks/nerds. Yet even this classification only seems to keep them on opposing sides of a spectrum with little to no wiggle room to be an individual. The jock forever stuck in his classification, or is the jock a brilliant mathematician who doesn’t engage with the nerd classification simply because they are more focused on maintaining a physical presence?
Where does the wall of the confinement seal them in, and where are they allowed the freedom to be an individual? While admittedly we need a differentiation from cookies and crackers, why do we expect humans to fit similar classifications? Why point at someone and classify their persona and not realize they are not simply that classification, but an individual with different viewpoints, and possibilities of other variations of personality and choices?
When did it become so important that someone is a specified thing, and it becomes their defining characteristics? Why not accept an individual for exactly that. Being a direct difference from ourselves, that each has their own niche and place to help the system flow. While you may not go to a dentist to check your health, you see a doctor, they are classified for specific reasons, as much as a classification to movie theater and restaurant. These are needed if not required. However, do humans simply fit into such a distinct categorization?
The fact that we do this is in part due to our own survival. Friend/enemy, sexual partner compatibilities, and other various reasons. However, when you next decide to classify someone into a narrow confined box, maybe there is more to their story. More to them in general. A great thing to do for yourself, and others, is to find common grounds. Nearly everyone will share some sort of commonality among them. Even your enemy may have more in common than you think. The real truth is we’re all humans, and we’re all individuals able to make a choice for ourselves and our lives. The classification is only to determine a very small portion of someone’s entire being.