What is you label?


Labels are for cans, not people.
~Anthony Rapp

I was having dinner last night with some friends, and the conversation moved to political stances, neo-hippies labels, and driving cars. One of them even told me that he can see who I am referring to when I write in this humble media.

I assure to my rich readers (breaking the 150 a day record!) that I never have someone in mind when writing, unless I actually say so. The interesting part of the conversation was when another friend asked me how do I label me. “I am above labels” I answered, “everybody has a label” she replied.

According to one test I took in Facebook, I am a class-3 liberal. That means nothing when you can be a Class-10 liberal, or even a Class-10 conservative (Horror!). But I find more often than not that lot of  people like to put labels on themselves, and those labels, though providing a sense of belonging, limit their ability to think (note: I stopped talking about my friends here, do not send me hate e-mail!). I find people in the streets that join causes just because they are liberal, or because they are perceived as “just”, without further thinking. Can you be a liberal and a conservative at the same time? Can you be a leftist with a brain, and a rightist with a heart? Let’s ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Can you be pro gay marriage but against abortion?
  • Can you be socially liberal but fiscally conservative?
  • Can you support the efforts in Afghanistan but be against the Iraq campaign?
  • Can you give money to the World Wildlife Foundation while hoping that the guys at Greenpeace get soon real jobs?
  • Do you support welfare programs but are against a big government?
  • Can you drive a car but at the same time be an ecologist?
  • Do you think that a biker that rides on the side walk, run red lights, and go against traffic is actually worse person than a driver that obey the law?
  • Can you support genetically enhanced crops and still think that organic crops have a place on the market?
  • Can you be a meatarian but support vegans?
  • Can you work on Bay St (Canada’s Wall St) and still support the ideals of Mohammed Yunus about banking to the poor?

If you answer to YES to more than three questions, I welcome you to the unease world of thinkers that do not know all the answers, but actually may make a difference. The world is more complex than simple labels make us think!

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2 Responses to What is you label?

  1. vaalee says:

    Call it labels or call it identities, but everyone has them: Gender, sexual orientation, nationality, marital status, social class, political view, Myers-Briggs typology, etc.

    It’s a group of categories that people use in order to express themselves or to increase their self-awareness.

    You say that labels limit people’s ability to think and I understand what you’re trying to say. However, I believe that the awareness of the labels out there is the first step we need to take in order to engage in further exploration and get to the questions you’re asking.

  2. mcyclops says:

    Gender, sexual orientation, nationality, marital status, social class, Myers-Briggs typology are pretty much classification, but I challenge they define the identity. Personality is (or should be) a very complex mix of ideas, aptitudes, and attitudes that can hardly be classified in often mutually exclusive labels. Political views are an example, if you are a hardcore liberal or a hardcore conservative, it is going to be very hard for you to understand the flaws of your position and the good points of the opposed position. People label themselves as “naturals” because they want to eat organically, but fill themselves with chemicals so they do not have children.

    If somebody assign himself a Liberal Label, is going to support the return of our troops in Afghanistan without thinking on the dire consequences for the Afghan people. A person must be able to weight several opposed position and take a decision that best serve the most parts, but some people like to simplify they thinking and let the label do the thinking for them.

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