labels … do they benefit hum

Labels … do they benefit man …?

There are unquestioningly situations where labels serve a useful as well as beneficial purpose to man. It is useful to have labels differentiating a can of peas from a can of tomato soup. It is helpful to have numbers on doors to assist one to quickly find a specific destination. It serves mankind to have speed limits posted along highways in the hope that we choose to heed this call to care and cause no harm to others.

Are there instances where labels do not serve or benefit man…? Labels inappropriately applied to people, situations, educational ability, condition of health, labels which falsely describe the contents, labels which perpetuate an unsubstantiated myth and labels used intentionally to deceive.

Our world is full of labels those that are positive, uplift and promote the commonality of man and those that intentionally separate, discriminate and isolate, as well as those that are morally repugnant and deceptive.

We are educated and conditioned by our culture to use and believe without giving any thought to the labels we perfunctorily use every day. Unconscious are we and that’s what we like. In this state we can feign we are unaware and from this artificial state release ourselves from accountability and responsibility. Falsely clearing our conscious some might label this.

As I contemplated my own roll in this labeling arena, I happed to find and read … The Soul of Autism … a book by William Stillman. In this reading it became abundantly clear to me, that to one degree or another, especially as a young child, I too had autistic tendency, though the word was not then formulated. To the degree to which I remain under its influence I will gladly leave to others to label as they deem personally appropriate. The line separating what we choose to label autism vs. Asperger syndrome or other human disability or affliction is exceedingly thin so precisely where along that spectrum I was might be impossible to discern. But no doubt I entered this incarnation initially along that spectrum. This disclosure I make freely and without any expectation or want of pity or choosing to elicit any form of sympathy from anyone. I do it simply because I want to and need to for my own self honesty and transparency.

What I find extremely interesting is the degree to which as a youngster in particular I was influenced by the labels society assigned to everything. Labels were assigned and perpetuated by my family, friends, school and religion and I was supposed to unquestioningly adhere to them. That I was early on labeled a “trouble-maker” is now very understandable as it reflected what I understood to be my only means of overt rebellion and to vent against what I saw as the unjustified labeling so prevalent in our society and which remains undaunted today. I certainly was not absolved then or even now and often repeat without thought the labels so prevalent in my environment.

What I find profound is the degree of significance and validity we unquestioningly choose to attach to labels of all kinds, what say you…? Use of labels for us, especially in America, is like finding the box containing the “holy grail” permitting us to sanctimoniously and safely put everything in a specific place. We use labels to separate, divide, discriminate, cloud, demean, placate, detach, and segregate as well as to isolate. The labels which we normally use are what I would term (label if you will) negative in their overtones, why is that…? There are labels we place on others which hold them up for applause as winners, causing those we term – losers to hang their head as defeated. But is this not really just a form of separation, dividing and conquering…?

We love labels as they allow us to communicate without thought what is false and what is true, label it and be through. Labels allow us to cover even extremely diverse situations using just one word, though as we have not the education we know not how to hear and honestly listen. Hearing and listening are art forms intentionally eliminated in the education we provide. Why is that do you suppose…? One could conjure up the notion, a populous unable to hear and listen is more easily molded and controlled. Over time like animals in Pavlov’s experiments we just react unquestioningly. Life in such a mindset is devoid of intention wherein we just “do it or else.”

There is an allure to labels which in stealth mode form and provide the camouflage we appear so desperately to need. Our current national political landscape is laden with covert labels, which in Arizona echo back to the descriptive term “pickaninny” uttered in the debate about MLK day by now deceased, Governor Evan Mechan. Today, the covert label providing the same stealth transparency and applied to Barack Obama is – arrogant – the lily white code word for “uppity.” Uppity, which I find interesting as that was term my mother often applied to me along with don’t get too big for your britches, young man.

Labels offer us emotional comfort enabling us to differentiate “them” from us. In Arizona, should you be labeled – disabled – watch out as our Governor and the 90 dwarf mental midgets masquerading as our State Legislature will see that you become just more “road kill.” Those we can label as gay, illegals, dopers, prostitutes and homeless, watch out, we’re going to get you too. We’re going to clean up this state and it begins with you, or is that me…?

God, don’t you just love – labels – they’re so much fun and so easily applied and labels we can find to fit anyone or situation our attention is directed to. And much of the time, they, do not even need utter the word for we have been so finely tuned to understand what they are actually referring to. Now how’s that for a perfect robotic response…?

Uppity … that’s a word I suspect is clandestinely used behind closed doors by Director Steve Owens of ADEQ and many in his employ, to label – us – that’s you and me. For them it covers a multitude of situations including covertly denying us our rightful place at the table where every decision is made affecting our environment. It’s the cover word when government says just who do we think we are anyway, uppity are we…? And we grin or shake our head and silently depart leaving them to continue to allow our environment to be raped, pillaged and plundered all in the name of unsustainable growth. Sustainable could also be another “uppity” word for them. I find as I write this one of the unifying songs from the MLK civil rights march era resonates within … “we shall over come, we shall overcome some day” … powerful then, equally powerful today.

Uppity, is one of those labels applied whenever those seeing themselves separate and part of a ruling class, feel a rise on some unexplainable level that “we” – that’s you and me – have had a belly full and revolt. In 1964 a handful of Vietnam veterans out side the Republican convention in Miami in ’64… shouted and demonstrated in the street … alarming the law and order conventioneers of the Nixon era. On the heels of their “uppityness” the travesty labeled the War in Vietnam was to see an end.

We – that’s you and me – are especially fond of those labels so liberally applied to issues surrounding health. He’s an epileptic, she’s has breast cancer, he’s got prostrate cancer, you, know, it’s so sad their child is autistic, their other one has Down’s syndrome, wow. He’s illiterate, can’t read, she’ so dumb, he’s deaf, she has MS, or they’re blind. He’s afflicted with Aspergers Syndrome, she’s got Tourette syndrome, they’re all physically disabled you know. How easily these labels allow us to discriminate, segregate, separate and define – them. Now we’ve safely put them in a box, where they so appropriately belong, don’t they…? Come on, their different from us, aren’t they…? We need some simple method to tell us apart, don’t we…? I mean, like after all, we can’t have them thinking they’re as good or “normal” like us…?

These are but a few of the host of labels we so affectionately endorse and unthinkingly use and apply. And these same labels are but a few of those we have been educated to fear. These are but a few of the labels giant pharmaceutical companies tout when they need drive home the benefits their most recent “drug” reputes to cure or eliminate. Take this pill, rub on this salve, swallow this capsule three times a day, rub this goo on your feet and behind your ear, and “we” (big pharma) promises you, you’re cured ____ fill in the blank with every promise under the rainbow. Tragically knowing not another way, we follow them like the children in the story of the pied piper of old.

There are labels we have been educated to reject, scorn, belittle and even hate. Labels which they say, undermines…? Undermines, might may I ask…? Labels which they feel undermine their control over us. Just what might these labels be…? Some of these labels are in the realm as judged by them as being far too esoteric, too far out … words … like energetic, vision, resonate, accountability, responsibility, sustainability and especially love. These words give rise to labels with incredible symbolic power especially when used in the context of issues concerning public policy and social justice. These are the words which give rise to labels which bring fear to them choosing to endorse pubic policy goals that intentionally discriminate, separate, isolate, segregate and inappropriately define. Like everything in life it is a choice we each make with every label we utter. From that, there is no escape. Oh, yes, you may be able to postpone taking accountability and responsibility for every one of your thoughts, deeds, actions in any form, but answer for them, you must and will.

Labels appear to hold and give sway to some magical power over man. Some of these labels are for good and beneficial to all, while others lessen and discriminate. What labels you choose to contemplate and give credence to is solely up to you. Some many years past I got a tape cassette the title I can not recall. On this tape was the life story of Famous Amos, an African-American cookie entrepreneur. Though Amos’s story is fascinating, he gives praise to the passage which follows as being a guiding light for him, when all other lights went out….”Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

I sincerely invite to you and me to consider applying this last line …”Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it” … as one of the foundational labels for your life. Why…? For far too long now, we’ve chosen to individually and collectively give our selves over to – fear. We need only believe in I/you/me/us and leave the fear they promote – out. I/you/me/us have, hold and possess all the power and magic we need to manifest a world based on unconditional love. We might choose to consider as was made famous in Star Trek on TV… to boldly go where no man has gone before … whole-heartedly endorsing unconditional love. Too corny, what have I/you/me/us got to lose…?

And let me be even a bit bolder I am most willing to present and discuss any water issue before any audience in Arizona where full disclosure and two way dialog is permitted.

… People should never be afraid of their government, government should always be afraid of the people …

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