Friday, January 04, 2008

two kinds

I used to love to group things (and people) into two categories. It didn't matter which two; they were always changing. The point was two. For example, a favorite: There are two kinds of people... observant and oblivious. (I liked the alliteration on that one.)

As I grew a little wiser, I decided everything and everyone is really some place on a continuum, and that can be a slippery place, given upbringing, conditioning, DNA and environmental factors. I also came to understand that the two kinds definition was usually meant to put somebody down (and usually not me) so while I might still think they were funny, these classifications were not especially helpful in my late-blooming desire to be less judgmental.

Earlier today I was making a to-do list and I automatically thought: there are two kinds of people... those who make lists and those who hate people who make lists. I laughed. Where did that come from? Who knows? Old habits die hard. But as I examined it I realized it's often true. Hate may be too strong a word, but in the childish sense (I hate her!) it is true we just can't relate to others who do things differently. Much as we advocate diversity, encourage it and celebrate it, when it comes down to it, we want like-minded people to be our friends. They "understand" us, which means there's no need to justify our way of thinking or doing because they already agree.

Justification, approval, validation, acknowledgement... we long for these things... sometimes a lot. If it's in our DNA it would appear that it all goes back to that rude awakening in the garden: suddenly knowing we're naked. I wonder what would have have happened if Adam had said, "Oh my God, we're naked!" And Eve had responded, "Yes we are. It's pretty cool, isn't it? Let's go show God!"


Luke said...

I expect exactly the same thing would have happened.

Pat said...

What a wonderful read for this morning. Human version A and human version B have just finished cleaning up the mess of communicating in their normally very different styles, humorously (finally) grumbling about our tendencies to categorize each other.
Garden of Eden version 2 had me laughing out loud and I shared it with human version B.
Thanks for the virtual caffeine.

Anonymous said...

There are two kinds of bloggers: those who accept double dawg dares and those who don't.

I'm glad you took the challenge.

Now, I am thinking about this Twitter thing-a-ma-jig. I obviously have been on Winter Break too long.