I found myself in a bit of a Facebook debate of sorts with a friend of mine the other day. A debate involving the labels that people choose to associate themselves with. When all was said and done, my friend (and a couple others) concluded that labels were an important part of communication and sentience as individuals in a vocal species. I more or less held my ground as the opposition (they are not as important as many think).
In truth, the debate was not entirely held on even ground, as my friend held some misunderstandings on where exactly I stood. The first was that I was part of a No Labels movement. And the 2ed, was that I looked down on people that utilize labels.
As for the first claim, I know that such a movement exists. I have come across various postings of the facebook page (or at least one of them) of the movement before. But while I may well have some views in common with the rest of the movements members, we differ in one key area.
I do not consider myself a part of a/the movement. Such entails that “I have no labels!” is my new label. Which is not the case.
First off, a bit of explanation and switching of terms before we go any further. Having looked into both Label and Identifier, I think that the latter is a better word to utilize in this context. Though label is still the mainstream term, I don’t like it due to its immaturity.
Think back to high school. It was normally all about crafting your part in (or fighting against) fitting or being put into some label or other. As adults, I think we can use a more adult oriented term.
For me, abandoning the use of labels was less embracing a new movement than it was, ironing out my identity. When I transitioned out of the comfort of the atheist umbrella sometime ago, I at first, tried to find a new identifier. I experimented with a few of the A words associated with secularism (including Agnostic and Apatheist). But after awhile, the words of a close friend (“You do not HAVE to fit all your thinking into some box or another just to appease everyone else!”) slowly begun to break though. I do not need to label myself as Agnostic, Apatheist, Ignostic, irreligious or anything else. In fact, generally, I do not need to identify as liberal, progressive or really, anything like that. I know who I am and I know that I am (for the most part) better at articulation of my own conclusions to life’s questions than most people. So why should I retard my progress just to keep up with, often people with no desire to progress any further than step 1?
Having this attitude towards most other people does help explain at least one of my friends misconceptions. But it is still incorrect for an important reason.
Yes, I will admit that I often do look down upon people. Being that I spend much time working around willfully stupid and robotic machines of consumption (with cuntry, favored music of the intellectually challenged, playing in the background), I generally do not have a bright view of society at large. The less I go out in the light of day, the less I deal with THEM.
Now, when it comes to identifiers, I do not look down upon a person just for utilizing them. As I have said a few times, people can call themselves whatever they want. Just as long as these identifiers stay personal. A bigger pet peeve are ridiculous and unnecessary identifiers.
An example of keeping things personal would be a label that comes up again and again for me. Atheism.
I do not look down upon a person that chooses to call themselves an Atheist. People can dictate themselves as they please. However, when the “You said no to the god question, therefore . . .” conversation comes up, I hop up on my pedestal. Because only one of us is dictating who should be calling themselves what.
As for an example of a ridiculous identifier, MGTOW is a great example. It means Men Going Their Own Way. This is nothing new really, but what is new as having the choice of staying single as becoming a movement. A silly response to the clusterfuck that has become of gender politics in the last few years.
Another silly identifier that I have come across in recent years is Bright. Or A person with a naturalistic worldview, free of supernatural and mythical elements. Otherwise known as ME, with added baggage.
So, no, I do not look down on people that simply choose to utilize identifiers. But yes, when these people expect me to play in a box just to appease them, I get arrogant. And when I see people embracing stupid identifiers just for the sake of it, I get arrogant. I don’t care what this makes me look like to the masses.
Though a fairly recent change, it really is liberating to not care what the mob (or really, ANYONE) thinks. Its nice to stand ones own ground if justified.
But my reasons for excusing being an arrogant twat aside, on to the next assumption. That I assume all identifiers to be unnecessary (harmful)?
We live in a society that which requires personal identifiers as a matter of operation. I get that.
Our name is an identifier that is necessary, as could be said for something like a social insurance number. Blood type, hair color and type (style) all have important external uses in the area of healthcare and identification.
But having said that, needing SOME identifiers as a matter of necessity does NOT necessitate ALL the identifiers used today. Even if ones HIV status may be of importance to external parties (giving the wrong, or just not disclosing an answer, can result in rightfully drastic legal action!), ones political or religious status are not equally vital knowledge.
The argument can be made that such voluntary identifiers are a necessity for facilitating good socialization among people. Or that such identifiers are an important part of ones status as a sentient being.
I can understand that identifiers help to make socialization easier for many. And they can be a part of how a person chooses to shape themselves. But having a set of extra identifiers is not an end all requirement.
Today, social media has indeed helped to foster a world in which utilizing these ideological tags is the norm. And to many that call home the confines of these tags, it is seemingly impossible to converse with someone without any noted identifiers.
As I have said many times, though social media is good at bringing people together, its terrible for increasing ones full grasp of the world. So all you end up with is an echo chamber. Often debating against another echo chamber. And before you know it, your world is shaped by dichotomies, and you can not grasp anything outside of this paradigm.
Some Identifiers are a necessity of life in a social species. And outside of what is required, many also build a personality out of many other personal identifiers. But these are by no means, a requirement.
Anyone that works or lives in a standardized environment will know this. If you just see an individual amongst many others of a generic bunch (all of which you lack background information on), these hidden nuances suddenly go away.
To illustrate the problems of these identifiers, imagine if all the Bernie and Trump fans identified themselves one day. Since an ambiguous room filled with people likely will have no problem intermingling amongst themselves, this is why I consider many of these these extra identifiers a barrier.