Saturday, January 7, 2012

The sticks, stones and words...

"Ready for our walkies?"

generalize:  To reduce to a general form. To speak or think in generalities; speak vaguely.
classification:  Biol. Systematic grouping of organisms into categories based on shared characteristics.

Another rainy day.  P. and I slosh in puddles, entranced by fresh air and vacant trail.  I often think of words and their meanings while on our walks.  Communication between people requires personal and subjective reactions.  So many processes to analyze. Something so clearly laid out for one person is easily understood; while another struggles and misconstrues the entire interaction. We can hide behind words, feel their irony or simply ignore them. They can fill us with emotion or make us wish we never heard them. Sell us stuff we don't really want or need. Trust in them with our lives and let them destroy us. Tell us what we want to hear, and it's like candy for the ear.  Words open up a world of ideas or confuse us and set us back. 
Some words sound negative to us. We prefer to blame a tangible being, an imperfect human, who occasionally utters this unfortunate word.  The word silently disappears under the radar; but the hurt remains.

 So much power to yield!!

Today, I am annoyed by the word,  "generalize".

It is a dangerous word indeed, yet necessary.  It effectively gives permission to close the mind. A lazy "catch-all" word with a goal of grouping unsuspecting people together.  "I don't like to generalize, but those (fill in the blank)are all the same." 
Comics likes to use this in their routines.  Yes, it can be funny-but so superficial.
What infuriates me is when the generalizations about people ARE CORRECT!  Stereotypical behavior drives me mad and yet I wonder does anyone really fit into a generalization?  I like to think of myself as individual as they come. Not predictable enough to fit anywhere.  However, you may see me fitting nice and neat into a category you know.  And as a non-conformist, I have a different set of issues.

"All __________'s believe,practice,collect,wear,act, like,eat or etc" 

Congratulations, we have grouped this population in effort to kill their spirit and democracy.  Ignore any positive attributes, skills or creativity that any given member may have with a single blow. Sweep them under the table because we universally understand who they are and they mean nothing more. Not deserving of one more moment of consideration or time. 
Again, it's easy and quick. In our society, we like that.

The word, "classification" is similar in meaning, yet gentler.  When I think of classifying, it usually pertains to objects or different species rather than people.  However, there is the classification of income or status. This deals with a much larger scale of the population and fits everyone somewhere.

The idea of separating into smaller, more concentrated groupings may be where the trouble begins. Maybe if we saw everyone as part of the whole, we would be able to get along better.

"Until next time! Onward!"

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