Desperately seeking a label

One thing I find inexplicable is the strong desire people have to "label" themselves. They make sure they wear and consume the "right" brands. They ensure they have the "right" look and walk and talk. They even make sure they have the "right" psychoses or ailments.

These thoughts were spurred by an article I read a few weeks ago by a woman claiming her relationship problems are due to her high IQ (intelligence quotient) and low EQ (emotional quotient).

Years ago, ADD / ADHD was a popular identifier, then dyslexia, asthma and now, it seems, autism. As more and more people are labeled and it becomes fairly normal, we then start hearing of epidemics and rising rates. I don't dispute that some genuinely have issues. My beef is with those who seek labels to abdicate responsibility for their actions, "Oh, it's not me, it's because I have / I am ******."

Ultimately, what we do or don't do is our responsibility. (As you might be able to tell, I am in a definite free-will mood, rather than a deterministic mood at the moment - might change tomorrow.)

Of course, we can't forget the repressed memories people had in the 80s. Later determined to be false and the result of memory implantation by the therapist.

Image gently borrowed from here.


Tena said…
Taking responsibility for one's actions is so... passé. Why not blame someone else if you can?

Excuse my outburst. I am:
KayMac said…
interesting post...i would write more of a response if i wasn't such a "procrastinator".
Richard said…
tena: really?

kaymac: I can empathize, why do today what you can put off indefinitely?
Tena said…
Yes, Richard. Really.

What part surprises you? The Whatever?
b said…
Labels intrigue me as well. Not only the labels people choose for themselves but how others interpret and label one another. I don't understand the propensity to categorize people in such a way. I mean, I do understand that many feel strongly compelled to identify someone/something so as to seemingly know how to deal with them/it. But, what are we afraid of here? Why can't we more willingly embrace that each individual is unique and doesn't need to be labeled?
Richard said…
tena: I think you are thinking I put much more thought into that comment than I really did.

breal: in this case, I think it is about getting a cheap excuse for one's actions.
tin-tin said…
it's because, everyone is looking for something/someone to blame
Barbara said…
We live in a society of labels and syndromes. You almost feel abnormal if you can't claim one. What has this world come to?!
Tena said…
I think you are thinking I put much more thought into that comment than I really did.

I was only kidding you, Richard. I'm not that deep or that sensitive.
RennyBA said…
I do agree: sometimes its an excuse I think and whatever its a limitation!
Yes, many, including doctors, have jumped on the label bandwagon. It is what it is no matter what. If I could get rid of some of my medical isues, I'd gladly shed the label, name, current buzz word or whatever.
TorAa said…
It's so easy and convenient to put labels of people, music, ideas, litterature, activities, .... it's so many labels today, It ends up with:

I'm me.

And then we start to create groups and labels again.... never ending story.dfvnlcs
Ancilla said…
label if it is only to identification, i think it would be fine. we will go crazy to explain something which dont have label. for example: when we want to talk about blog, we have to give full definition. it would be simply to put the label "blog", rite?

but unfortunately, the way people treat others usually differs by the labels!!
freckled-one said…
hmmm..I allows for too many excuses.
RennyBA said…
Long time no see pal - hope your doing good!
Wishing you a great end to your week:-)
Richard said…
tin-tin: that is why I griped about not taking responsibility.

barbara: how true. Sometimes I think my life would be easier if I could just label myself and get an attitude that says, "It's not my fault!" and walk around with a chip on my shoulder. But ... somehow, that is not me; I prefer to try and muddle along without feeling sorry for myself. Mind you, when I was feeling despondent several years back, it was very tempting to just throw up my hands and resign myself to being helpless and hopeless (fortunately, I somehow made it through all that).

tena: ... and I was teasing you too (my humour has been described as exceedingly dry - arid, in fact) :P

rennyba: there is no question that we all have limitations, however, the goal (for me, at least) is to not be trapped by them. Let's face it, I am a excellent procrastinator, however, I do not use it as an excuse for my state of life.

Thanks for inquiring. I am fine, a bit busy (sometimes work takes me away from blogging - as does being away from a computer).

MOI: it is only when that label becomes a lifestyle that it is a problem. There is no question that a diabetic has certain lifestyle restrictions, however, it would be no fun to be with a diabetic who is constantly harping about how miserable their life if because of diabetes ("Oh! If only I could indulge in that sugary confection / how much closer my life should be to perfection")

toraa: labels are often used to divide. And then moral judgements are passed on those labels and suddenly some labels are good and others bad.

ancilla: I agree. There is a big difference between a description and an excuse. A descriptive label can reduce the amount of detail we have to provide. An excuse is just a reason for us not to change or accept responsibility for our actions / life / self.

freckled-one: of course, I am so vague that I think it is easy for people to agree with me. Sometimes, I think I should be more opinionated, paint myself into corners with outrageous statements and comments.

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