The Human Box
I had a very interesting conversation the other day about how we as humans feel the need to label everything. How we take the infinite of all there is any and begin to label all that we see, think and feel through our own personal human experience. It seems as if by labeling it we try to quantify and qualify the observed into something we can “know”. I walked away from this conversation with the intent of becoming aware of how I label my human experience.
I immediately noticed that my stomach (label) growled (label) and I (label) was hungry (label). I (label) went to my (label) fridge (label) to get some food (label).
How and/or from whom did I learn these labels? Where did they learn them? Why do I believe them?
I realized that this simple example seemed rather trite; but as I sat with these thoughts, I began to see how we as humans feel the need to reduce all that is into something quite trite.
I wondered into the courtyard and began to look at a rose. How could I explain this to someone else? Well if the person was blind, I might begin with the color, shape, size, etc. If they couldn’t smell, I would do my best explain the fragrance. Then I realized how I have limited the full experience of the rose by simply trying to describe or label it. By my labeling, the rose was limited, the other to whom I was trying to share this rose was limited by my labeling and I was limited by sharing my experience to the other that couldn’t see or smell. The rose became a flower that smells nice and grows on bushes with thorns.
I gently moved my thoughts to me. How do I label myself? Woman, 51, daughter, aunt, human, etc. I recognized how each label made me smaller and smaller until I could fit into a human box. My thoughts wondered to the other internal labels I have accepted as my truth: not enough, not lovable, talkative, optimist, willful, etc. And then the final door sealing label; judgment: like/don’t like, agree/disagree, mine/yours, and finally you/me. And I became even smaller until all that I/you are, was or could ever be could fit into a small box.
Slowly the realization of the unlimited has turned into a speck of dust. I view you (the other), the world and myself through the labels that I place on them. I have limited my experience of all that is by continuously reducing, reducing, reducing until the actual experience is nothing but a speck of dust floating by.
I closed my eyes to the finite only to open them to the infinite.
Bonnie was inducted into the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society at St. John’s University, New York City for her work in Business Resilience.
Bonnie is Past Chair of the Association of Contingency Planners where she served for 6 years.
She is a proud native of New Orleans and has experienced what she calls, “The Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, and BP Oil Spill” disasters first hand. She has had to learn how being resilience leaders and businesses to increased performance, achieve stronger relationships, and build mental toughness that we all need in today’s ever increasing busy world.
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