The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

De-Labelling

When it comes to the problems of the world, one basic issue that seems to underlie many of them is our disconnect from one another.  It may be in our families, with parents and children not connecting.  It may be in the workplace where the managers and workers oppose each other.  I may be at the global level with super-powers unable to see eye-to-eye, suspicious of each other.

On an individual level we may disconnect every day, for many of us it may be every hour.  The most obvious outward display of this disconnect is name-calling, or labelling.

Think back to yesterday for a moment.  How many times did you label someone as an “idiot,” “ignorant,” “dumb.”  Or perhaps as a “loser,” “layabout,” or a “waste-of-space.”  Perhaps the words weren’t spoken, but they may have been thought.

I know I do.  If I’m driving and another driver cuts in front of me, my immediate response may be to grumble “stupid idiot.”  (Never mind the tautological excess.)

These labels may be instantaneous thoughts or expostulations.

Other labels tend to cement our disconnections even more so.  Politically we label others as Democrats or Republicans, as liberals, conservatives, or socialists.  We can throw out labels such as right wing tories, or left wing commies.

Not only can we label others in these ways, we label ourselves as such.  We may think; “I’m a Democrat,” or “I’m a Greenie.”  Or perhaps, “I’m none of the above, I’m an Anarchist.”

When we do this, we easily entrench ourselves into one way of thinking, one way of responding.  The labels become oppositional tags.  I hear it often at election times.  A supporter of one political party will say something, and someone who labels themselves oppositionally will automatically disagree – just because they must.  The label obliges it.

Then, when our political labels merge with our pejorative labels things really do become problematic.  Calling my political rival (who happens to support a different political viewpoint) a “stupid tory,” or an “idiotic commie” does little to help meaningful debate.  Worse; it may entrench the other person further into their beliefs. 

So, instead of discovering what is common, or what is politically achievable, there is now a greater polarisation than existed before the name-calling took place.

Once that polarisation begins we enter into an ever-increasing entrenchment on both sides, and an ever widening gap between us.

What hope for listening, let alone understanding, do we have then?  Little, if any.

And so it goes, no matter the issue, no matter the social or political question.  The cycle never ends, never breaks.

If we want to address the social/political issues of the world it would seem that this is a good place to start: stop descending into name-calling and labelling.

To summarise:
1. Name-calling is unhelpful, and often, totally incorrect.  After all, is everyone I call an “idiot” truly an idiot?
2. Labelling tends to entrench others, and ourselves, into rigid positions, leaving no room for communication.

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