How helpful are labels? What can we learn from this?


Your cousin from across the country calls you for a visit and tells you that they have a “Blue Bike” in their garage.

You congratulate them, and then but then realize that while you know what a Bike typically is, and while you know what the color “Blue” is… The statement “I have a blue bike” really doesn’t end up telling you much despite the use of a “descriptive label.” Without context, it is almost impossible to for sure really understand.

Is the “bike” of which they are speaking literally a bicycle for transportation? … Or is it something like a scooter that has a very similar function, so the speaker just lumps it together in their own mind and calls it a “bike” — more to describe its function rather than what it actually is? Maybe its much like how people often refer to motorcycles as “bikes” even though they really aren’t the same thing.

Maybe it shares the form of a “bike”, but not the function… like its actually just an an exercise “blue bike.” Maybe its figuratively a “blue bike”.. maybe its a remote control toy… or a pillow… or a poster, or a birthday cake?  Maybe it is a Clown’s balloon creation…


Maybe its only figuratively called a “bike” because of how it looks to us?

It is even plausible that they are actually referring to a poster depicting the image of a “blue bike” that they have mounted on their wall….. and they point at it to show their friends saying… “See my blue bike?”

Maybe “Blue Bike” is a movie … or a song…. or a brand name?

Maybe it is metaphorical?

And then there is the word “Blue” itself…

Blue… is it light, dark, or medium blue? Could it actually be teal and the person just considers it “blue”? Perhaps they weren’t referring to the color at all.. maybe its a feeling or an situation they are trying to convey?

Maybe its a picture of a bike with a sad face on it. Was the bike…. “feeling blue”?, Maybe they meant the poor condition of the bike…maybe they are inferring that it is a sad sight.




Sheesh my head is spinning….

The reality is that bikes come in all sorts of sizes and shapes and kinds. There are literal “bikes” and figurative “bikes” and we often aren’t always very concise or specific about what we are actually trying to convey. A whole broad spectrum of things are very lumped together under one label for our own ease.

How are you supposed to know for sure what was meant when we use our words to describe both the literal, and figurative versions of something… metaphorical versions even?

At some point you have to start questioning how helpful and relevent labels are when we use them so wildly. You almost  have to already know the overall context in order to truly understand what you are being told.

And now we get to the serious part of my post. I told you all of that, just to help make the following make a little more sense. This is a thought on how we use labels on the very people around us.

Very often in this life, we find that words of description are forged into labels that are given meanings that don’t actually belong to them. It its interesting about how often, if you strip them all away, it ends up leaving you with the pure and simple facts of a situation when it comes to the dealings of people. The mere fact that a inclusion of a “label” rather than an action itself, has power to affect wither you see something as “right” or “wrong” is to me… quite troubling. Does it bother you at all?

This personal justification of “as long as its someone like me its ok.” is not a solid stance. That is not thinking ethically, or morally regardless of what you tell yourself. Our lazy ignorance of others is not valid enough upon which to decide something about “some group” of people you don’t know and haven’t bothered to (you yourself) reach out to. Research is more than just reading some article somewhere once, and even instances where you’ve been made aware of one of ‘s view, it doesn’t ever for certain mean that the next you meet will totally agree.

Absolute cloning is not yet a thing.. so don’t allow your mind to believe that it is. Challenge yourself whenever you see yourself taking the easy way out of thinking about any situation. Don’t let the labels distract you from the situation. Truth is always nuanced.. If life isn’t simple enough to for certain know what someone means when they merely say “I have a blue bike”… then that very much means that life isn’t simple enough to label someone, judge them and just walk away.

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