Another Purposeful Post

I am haunted by a defining of terms. Specificity stalks my sleep, and and I know clarity often comes from delineated things. Why is it so hard to find a single topic to write about? People have interests, they like them grouped together, I’ve been told. So often I find, though, that people section themselves into tiny pieces, present only this much, that little bit, and keep themselves clearly directed in their writings, in their interests, in their doings, and I wonder, is it people who do this, or their fear of how society will judge their whole-selves? I’ve been told recently by a friend who’s read some of the writings I’ve posted here that if I want to “appeal” to people, you know, “real people,” the ones who do specific things and want their topics all clumped together, I have to pick a single focus, stick with it, collect all my ideas into one little space. It’s a hard thing to do. Perhaps not just for me– even in things people consider trivial, I am all over the place, my identity is split between a thousand different subtypes, and I can’t say with any certainty that I’m a gamer geek, a goth, a hippie, a hick, a graduated anthropology student, or anything else, because… well, because those things limit you. You take one, you state it, and that’s the one thing that you are. Box, boundary, and check mark to match. To say I’m a Pagan rules out my skepticism. To say I’m a feminist rules out my BDSM. I imagine not everyone feels this way. I also imagine that I am not alone. How does it feel for you when “unacceptable” bits are locked away? How does it feel for you when you’re told that this excludes that, when this encompasses not only both, but so much more? What does it mean when you state “I am?”

3 thoughts on “Another Purposeful Post”

  1. I have learned exactly one thing from Myspace.com. On that service, a band chooses <>three<> genres to belong to. That helps take care of the classification problem. There is an ontological issue here: If a band categorizes themselves as Ambient/Metal/Folk – and if the band itself is so much more even than that, is that to say that, in reality the band is neither of those things, or that it is all of them? If your concept of metal is one that excludes folk, then you have an unsophisticated view of what metal <>itself<> is.And sometimes it is useful to distinguish between the different compartments of a person’s functioning. For example, sometimes brilliant scientists can be sloppy philosophers, and people buy their fallacious philosophies because they <>fail<> to compartmentalize.

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  2. Humans developed categories to help contain ideas, to sort and make sense of the world around and about them. And I think your observation “it is useful to recognize the distinctions even as we try to see past them” is spot on. Labels, categories, compartments can help– but when they become inflexible (i.e. the people using them do not allow for change to them, expansion upon them, deviation from them) these categories can do more harm than good. Compartmentalizing and categorizing is most useful an endeavor, I think, when it is an active, living process– subject to amendments and changes in definitions, existing in a state of negotiability.

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