Thursday, December 13, 2007

What up dawgs?

Sorry. It gets boring sometimes, having to think of a new title for every post. One has to mix it up every once in awhile.

So, I'm annoyed. Which is not unusual. But the source of my annoyance is multi-faceted. It is also nearly five-thirty in the morning and I have not yet been to sleep. Again, not unusual. Just, a contributing factor to the general madness. You should all be aware.

A relatively recent post on Orthoprax's blog brought this up in a vaguely crystallized form, but the crystallization process has been crystallizing for quite some time, more turbulently in the last couple of weeks. There is no guarantee at all of any of this being lucid or coherent in any way, so I"m just going to rant.

Said post of Orthoprax's reminded me of a favorite quote of mine from Little Women (Louisa May Alcott); which, to paraphrase, goes something like the following; Amy is complaining about the snobby girls at her school who "label" her father for not being rich. Her sister chides her by saying she means "libel" and oughtn't to talk of her father as though he were a jar of pickles.

Words are funny things, aren't they?

I've met quite a few people who leap in terror at the slightest sign of being categorized; "Well, yes, I went to x seminary, y yeshiva, come from z neighborhood, but don't label me!! For G-d's sakes, whatever you do, anything but the labeling!" It is to me both naive and endlessly frustrating.

First: Everyone categorizes. It's how the human brain assimilates information. In other words, everyone does it, and no one can help it. So do you. Deal with it.

Second: Who cares? People are going to think what they're going to think; where you've been tells something about you, even if it's not what everyone thinks it should be. (That sentence really does have a meaning in my head; I think I'm incapable of extrapolating, however.)

Third: Why the intense fear? Seriously. My motto is, fit into as many categories as possible. This confuses people and stymies their thought processes. Which is always good clean fun. I like to think of myself as the steamer trunk George Bailey always wanted to have - covered with as many labels from as many different places as possible, and when there's no more surface room, you pile them on top and make layers. (Like onions!) Not only are you confusing and exotic but also intensely interesting and colorful. Where is the bad in that? (Besides, if you refuse to categorize yourself in any way shape or form, what are you? Nothing. Amorphous vapor passing through people's minds completely incapable of leaving any sort of valid and lasting impression. Who wants that? Seriously?)

It's like William James said (I'd link, but I won't) there are two kinds of philosophers - those who need to know the truth and those who are terrified of being wrong. The first group rushes madly from belief to belief, from idea to idea, only discarding one for another when it is sounded and discovered to be false. The second refuses to believe anything, bc they can never know for sure that they are right.

So, the question is, are you going to spend life living, even if you will inevitably make mistakes, or will you let your fear paralyze you into nothingness and inaction, living frozen and suspended in a strange no-man's land where nothing is ever solid or real?

Also...I just feel like if we all spent a little more time living our lives, our personalities would shape themselves and fall into their correct places naturally. This world of stuffing yourself into one category or leaping away from all of them in intense dread and loathing has a tendency to become mildly stagnant, once you get past all the semantics.

In my personal opinion, anyway. Just saying.

6 Comments:

Blogger Miri said...

DAmmit, I forgot to link. sorry.

The inspiring post: http://orthoprax.blogspot.com/2007/12/oh-whats-in-name.html

The blog:
http://orthoprax.blogspot.com/

don't know if that will come out, but I hope so. Anyway, go read it.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

i enjoyed this entry immensely. i feel pretty much the same way.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Lubab No More said...

Ah wish ah had ah million dollars... HOT DOG!

9:31 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Jessica-
Thank you. That's always cool to hear.

LNM-
What was with the accent? I could never quite figure what region exactly he was supposed to be from. I mean, you kind of got the impression that it was in relative proximity to NY, but they all sounded sort of southern...

2:19 AM  
Anonymous lakewoodShmuck said...

very well said.
I created a label for myself.
atypical

7:27 AM  
Blogger Lubab No More said...

I trying to capture Jimmy Stewart's unique way of talking. He seemed to talk as if he had marbles in his mouth but was doing his best to not let it show. In the movie I think they were going for "Anytown, U.S.A.".

Another favorite line:
"Say brainless, don't you know where coconuts come from?"

7:32 AM  

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