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Why do people seem to have such a great need to classify themselves?

i.e., am a christian, a atheist, a muslim, straight, gay, engineer, , broker etc. Why not be, a person who likes/does certain things and just happens to be a ........? Do those classifications define who people really are?,

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Oh but I am not just *one* thing.
I am a (1) giant (2) talking (3) eagle.
Need I say more?
Okay:
-I am an atheist who doesn't give a rats a$$ about proving a theist wrong.
-I am pro equality
-I am a photographer
And so on and so on and so on....
-
It would be a bit tedious if I had to say ALL of those things (and more) when introducing myself to a conversation. So we usually pick one thing.

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I agree. I thought we were against all these labels.

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Doesn't seem so if you read and listen to people does it?
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You have a point.
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Don't you think by doing that they limit themselves and their possibilities?
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Yes and no. They could, in doing so, set goals for themselves, and by achieving those goals, perhaps reach for something higher. Some people are like that; if they reach a certain "plateau", they'll see the mountaintop and climb higher.
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But they may become complacent and say "this'll do". People can be that way, as well.
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Good point, but again.. Are goals who we truly "are"? Rather than what we strive to achieve? Get what you mean about some people needing that " limitation" ( my interpretation) to focus and achieve. What happens to them if they don't???
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I feel that goals are what we can be, if that's what we want for ourselves. And if we don't reach those goals, at least we tried and would never have known if we could do it unless we really wanted it. Then again, if some people get close, for example vice president of a company, they see what they can/want to be, president of the company, and can decide for themselves if they truly want that, or if they're happy being second-in-command. Some people don't want the boss's job. It's too much work for them, so they'll do the next best thing and work for the boss.
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Got ya. That still begs the question, are we merely defined by our work? What about all the myriad of other things we are and do ? Your explanation does a great job of making the point I was going for, that Americans especially tend to limit their definition of themselves to what their job is rather than the totality of who they are.
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I was using work as an example, but now that you mention it, I agree with you. Americans, and humans in general, shouldn't be confined to what we can do in association solely by work. Aren't we nice people? Can't we help each other? Don't we care about one another? Do we have fellings towards each other? A sense of humor? Compassion? All of these should go with being a person. Someone who can not only build things, but do things with them to help others, to entertain others, to teach others. These are some of the things necessary to being a human.
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Yesss! Thank you for putting that so well!:-).
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You're very welcome. If there's anything else you need, please ask.
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Will do, thanks.
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And enjoyed "talking" with you.:-)
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no they just feel the need to be a part of something bigger

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But by confining themselves to a classification aren't they doing the exact opposite? Limiting who they are?
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yes but everyone is filled wirh contradictions...thats the way humans are...for example...when its hot we want it to be cold and vice versa...when we are home we want to be outdoors and vice versa aswell..etc
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Get that.
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It does matter in a way. Like how you call Mother, A Friend, A Sister, a brother, a teacher, an engineer, a doctor, a cop. Names and labels have been around since the human mind started to conceive and bring forth great achievements that came with tantamount destruction of things and people. Labels and classification of people has it's down sides but it also has it's up sides. Sure, you can look at it that way and you'd have a valid and more than reasonable point but then again, life isn't just about the negatives. If we tried to wipe out all the bad names and things to try and counter balance society to try and achieve Utopia, as the screwed up, messed up, never contented humans that we are. I'M SURE. We'll find a way to screw things up.

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I think we do this in an effort to understand others. It is not a true understanding of any individual, but it helps society organize people into pigeon holes, which is just a shallow classification. The only way to to understand yourself is by self-examination and constantly looking for your deeper motivations. It is harder to understand others, but it helps to cast aside labels, and take a good, hard look at their actions, not how they may define themselves, or the role society assigns for them.

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Food for thought..
I see it the way you do, labels are not who/what we are, our actions, likes, dislikes, wants, needs and such are usually much to complex to be lumped into any one label and by doing so people limit themselves unnecessarily.
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I like your comment, I agree unequivocally.
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Great! Wish more would recognize it.:-)
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On a site like Ask it's probably necessary to use labels to define our stance on a particular question:

I'm an atheist and all this talk about God is ridiculous...
I'm an agnostic but, even so, I think there's a spiritual side of life...
I'm a Christian so I think that gay marriage is against God's law...
I'm a Republican and I want to know why Obama is still in office...
I'm a Democrat and I just can't understand the Tea Party's policies...
I'm an American and the second amendment gives me the right to bear arms...

And so on, and so on.

Giving yourself a label can sometimes help other people to understand where you're coming from and, even if they don't agree with you, it provides the opportunity to present an argument that you may relate to.

Me? I'm an Australian, so...

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Hej Dodgy, knew I could count on you to come up with some good reasoning,
And a good bit of humour to top it of !:-)
But the point was really going for as I mention in comment to keskeitz, is that Americans especially tend to pick and prioritize a single thing ( especially work or religion) as a label upon introduction whereas others might speak of a variety of interest and life-goings-ons upon meeting. This labeling tends to "mark and limit" in my opinion.
So , an Aussie....?????he,he:-).
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I take your point, wittepier. Limiting yourself to a single thing must be a bit ... er, limiting. I don't think I could fit my two heads into only one definition.
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Lmao! That deserves bigi brasas all around!:-)
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I am undefinable ..........
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No you're not. There's a whole chapter about you in DSM5.
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Lol! Yes there is, isn't there?
But I did not know it was me at the time :0)
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EquineEloquence

Welcome to the U.S.

Sorry, but that has seemed to be "the way it is" here.

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True, I get used to it ... For the most part.:-).
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EquineEloquence
I try to 'get-used-to-it'', but I suffer here.
Sadly.

~Hugs~
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