Why must we label everyone and their everything?
We are such categorizers and dividers.
Everything is taxonomy with us.
The more closed, inflexible, and orderly the system, the more comforting. The happier it makes us. People have trouble with vague, indecipherable interlopers within our social spheres. We need and crave the ability to place others in safe, predictable personality units without considering that most personalities cannot be solely encompassed within one unit. Most people, if spread over several categorizations which span their character, would occupy several category units concurrently. Such an outcome is disconcerting. We would feel something is not proper or screwed on right. This would make us fear we are losing control of this chaotic world because we don’t even know our neighbors and acquaintances well enough to predict their actions. It’s all about predictability. We expect others to act a certain way and the vehicle by which we arrive at this expectation is a label we can haphazardly affix on them so that the next time we encounter an unknown, we can safely refer to their assigned category and deduce a comforting prediction of what they will do and how they will do it. Because we know them. After all, we carefully categorized and placed them into a neat hamper of expected behaviors.
One of the popular categorization modifiers I see often is the “-ist” suffix.
Add an “-ist” to anything and you’ve created yourself a category and a type.
Now the question is, does an -ist imply favorable or unfavorable categorization? I guess that depends on the root word but it’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it? I am an -ist many times over. I’m an -ist of all humanly qualities. If you tack an -ist to the end of a description, I have probably been it. Is there any notoriety in this? I’m everything and always, and thus, nothing. Categorizations don’t only get happily applied to others, we apply them to ourselves. Strict categorization raises our self value. Better to be one of something rather that 25 of another. Our personal currency is raised when we narrow our perspective.