Ever wondered why it takes me half an hour to get your names right, even though you are my favourite people in the whole world? Did you know that we keep all the names of our loved ones in one box in our brain?
Unfortunately, when you get to my age you lose the ability to search the box effectively and end up just pulling every name out until you get the right one.
It can be easy to put people in boxes (metaphorically-speaking obviously – physically doing so is actually quite hard, so don’t try it, you’ll put your back out).
It’s even fairly natural to put people into these metaphorical boxes as it helps us to deal with them psychologically.
Though it is natural to categorise people, and can even be useful, there is an obvious down-side; the problem with putting people in boxes is that they don’t all belong in there.
Also, in reality there is no such thing as a “type of person”. I mean seriously, humans are so complex that even a Venn-diagram couldn’t accurately categorise a single Space Cowboy without looking like someone had gone mad with a Spirograph.
One of the reasons that you rarely get people in boxes together in real life is because we really are all so very different and unique (…and tricky to get into boxes, as I pointed out earlier).
Even worse, it seems that recently many people are inclined to do more than put people into boxes in their heads, they put them into bins. Which is a thing I would strongly recommend you should NEVER do.
The world is currently full of groups that have designated themselves and others as US and THEM, some are political, some religious, some fandoms, some gendered, some racial. Being alive is not a team sport so this should NOT be happening.
One thing most people can agree on is that the world is a big crazy mess at the moment, but I promise you, the way forward is not to pick teams, it’s to try to understand each other.
I’m not saying people aren’t stupid; I’m saying calling them stupid won’t educate them. If you want to change stupid, you need to have a conversation where you truly listen, recognise the stupid on your own side (because there WILL be some) and then try and move forward together.
If you look at history there is only one result of declaring a set of people as THEM, and it’s not a good one. Before I go on, I need to also clarify that I’m not just talking about one benevolent group of people mis-labelled as THEM, I’m talking about ANYONE labelled as THEM.
Here’s the important bit, that giant box (or bin) of THEM only exists in someone’s head, nowhere else. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who might be at home in that box but I am saying that the numbers are wrong, because nowhere is there genuinely a large box of THEM.
As much as it might pain us to realise this, humans are simply one large, messed up, argumentative, crazy crate of US.