Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Defining paradoxes

I posted this on G+ earlier, but decided to add it here too. 

I am going to go out on a limb here..

I have for several years been advocating against defining people, categorising them - it mostly appears when related to sexuality but far from absent in other situations. You have no idea how frustrated people get when they can't figure out the gender or age of someone - it is both amusing and sad to watch. I still think dispensing with this strange need to categorise is good.

But. I have realised that having definitions, having them written down somewhere, something that (most) people agree on, makes a helluva good reference point when you need to explain something. You (or I) don't have to invent the wheel all over again. Use the encyclopedia, the great vocabulary that already exists.

However: A lot of terms and definitions are contested.

Still: If you find some you agree with and that you feel suit your purpose of enlightenment... use them. If nothing else, you might feel less lonely realising someone else thought something along the same lines as you do now, some time.

Edit that was not included in the original post:
A lot of definitions are very binary; black or white. This is one reason to be careful. Remember the grey scale - and add a dash of colour while you are at it. 


Edit#2: I meant that I found using existing terms (that I didn't know about because I have been avoiding finding out) useful in explaining myself and what goes on in my own head. 

3 comments:

  1. Not sure if I understood this, but I'll think it over >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  2. Since this is being commented several places.. Here is a notable highlight from Kasha:

    "Categories of people are a bit like names of colors, I think. Most people have an idea of what 'green' is, yet there are zillions of shades of green, so if you really really really want accuracy in communication, just the word 'green' won't be enough. And no matter how hard you try, some other people may perceive a shade of green as blue, or brown. ;)"

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  3. Funny thing is I hadn't even seen your edit about black and white when writing my comment.

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Be nice!