It’s fall and I was driving home from my presentation in Ottawa. The birds were flocking up as they have for eons. I love to watch the smaller birds that fly in swarms of unison. They seem to all turn on a dime and take instant direction from one another. Humans are similar. We move in unison to an extent. We take direction from others on what to wear, whose music to listen to, what behaviour is appropriate etc. Go to a stadium and watch “the wave”; not much different and maybe it’s as fun for the birds.
What’s most interesting about all this unison is that there are always a few birds that stray from the flock. We don’t call these birds by another name, a sparrow is a sparrow whether it’s flying in formation or not. Why is it we label people who travel outside societies bounds other names. Weirdo, rebel, bi-polar, psychotic, criminal… Is a human not still a human regardless of the path they are on??
I wish I could claim to never have used a label on someone, but I cannot. To you I say I’m sorry for all of those who have somehow at sometime used a label to limit your humanity. Maybe it is us who lack the humanity, at times like this. I too have been labelled and I know it hurts. I think maybe it’s our way of feeling in control because when we label we think we have that person boxed and all figured out when in fact, we haven’t in the least got them figured out. So maybe it’s our own fears which lead to labelling people. I don’t know!
Possibly we feel in control when we can name something. We name trees, rocks and snowflakes none of which are improved by their name. We name people but label every problem and flaw. A name identifies but a label dehumanizes and symbolizes a difference. Each snowflake and tree are different from each other, some are flawed but all retain a common name. I don’t fully know why it is different for humans.