Labels are not everything


I'm not particularly a fan of labels, but seeing how much impact they have on my life annoys me in some ways. When I say labels, I don't mean just labels like 'Republican' or 'Democrat' or if you're a 'Christian' or a 'Libertarian', but also such as 'artist', 'photographer', 'developer'. It seems like we spend so much time shutting each other out, or trying to put ourselves into these neat categories.

I wrote a post about this a while ago when I was testing out scriptogr.am and ultimately I lost it, but again I write about it today because I was somewhat offended upon reading a simple sentence on Twitter: 'nonprogrammers will never understand'. I won't be giving the context to this because I don't know this person and have no quarrel with them, but just the idea that 'just because you're not a programmer, you can't understand how we feel about this' irritates me.

Yuki probably would understand if she had emotions

Could I not say the same? You're not an artist, you could never understand the way we work and see the world, blah blah blah... It feels almost elitist to me. Of course there's no understanding if there's no attempt at explanation. Humans are empathetic. Even if I'm not much of a developer or a programmer, I can understand to a great extent if I substitute my own situation, even if it's not the exact one, and each person's feelings towards something would never be exactly the same anyway.

Maybe this dislike of labels comes down to the fact that I wish I belonged anywhere. That I was an artist, or a developer or a blogger or even just an atheist, but I am none of those things. Sometimes I apply these labels so I have something to write and to describe me in a general sense other than 'procrastinator', but it doesn't mean I feel I can use them. I'd be happy to even feel the right to use the word 'nerd', or 'geek', but I don't feel that I qualify. Be happy, nerds.

Perhaps this society feels as though it needs these labels in order to function, but that will never make me like them any more. The only truth that I know that I am is a student, and even that label will not last forever.