Labels. They are everywhere. We use them to define ourselves, each other, our space, our likes and dislikes, the world around us, our thoughts… In one sense, language is a great label maker for chopping up the vast expanse of raw experience into bite sized pieces that are easily digested.
If you do not “fit” into a label, people may feel funny about you. For the sake of comfort, it seems as though people expect to be able to categorize everything, including themselves, into well organized and defined definitions. If you can not label it, it can can not be categorized and fit in to the correct slot.
With the wide acceptance of social media like Facebook, the motivation to “fit in” and “label” oneself and others has become something of a collective past-time. Favorite music, books, movies, television… “I drink wine and enjoy watching Friends. Oh so do you? My political slant is <fill in the blank> and my religion is <label goes here>. I don’t like this person, they use labels I don’t like. I am in this club and you aren’t.” Subject and object, this and that, inside outside. Perhaps if enough data is collected and the patterns analyzed, we can give up having names and just be categorized under certain labels and numbers.
A case in point, the About page. How many labels do I have to choose in order to try to box myself in to a nice package that others will be able to label according to their own set of rules? Lets see — I’m Typhonian, and I am big on Tantra and Dzogchen. Other labelled entities (poor humans), such as those calling themselves Thelemites, might not like that I’m Typhonian. Classical Hindu tantriks on the other hand, may dislike that I am into Dzogchen. Labels might get in the way of actual human connection if I don’t pass the initial word filter.
Based on the associations of labels, we limit our experiences and interactions with other living human beings. This person seems nice, but they label themselves as a <blank> – no thank you. That person has so much energy, looks so happy, really enjoys life – oh but wait… it says here they love a book by an author that I hate…. No! We limit ourselves if the label does not “fit.”
Words imprison us. Sure, they can also liberate us. Language is both a blessing and a curse.
Life is for living. It is alive, dynamic, unpredictable, beautiful and ugly, magnificent and horrible. It is all of these things simultaneously. Try some of those labels on, if you must. The more we try to define ourselves, to live inside of our own well constructed boxes, the more comical the whole game becomes.
Meditation is useful in getting reacquainted with reality. I say reacquainted because we all know it, have experienced it. At the very least, you were an infant at one time, before language was part of your consciousness (I suppose that is arguable, with the sound of the mothers voice being heard in the womb). Go back further then…
Persist long enough and you might get glimpses of consciousness beyond (before?) language. What is experience before it is labeled? What is the raw, unfiltered, unspeakable experience of being?
Who are you, before you had a name?