If you wanted to layer me thick with labels, you could.
You could call me a cis white male right-handed Australian millennial.
I could shrug and say, okay.
Or I could, if I wanted, challenge some of those. I am Australian, but do I really identify as one? I was born close to the middle of the millennial range, but is that really the best label?
In many ways, those are bad fits.
So maybe I brainstorm and research for a bit until I find something perfect.
There are benefits to that. If someone else has the same label(s) as you, it means you’re not alone. It helps you express something you couldn’t find the words for before.
Using the right word is more inclusive – a beautiful thing.
But if you say full stop, end of story here, you’re skipping over a few lessons from history and psychology.
Psychology first: language focuses and constrains cognition.
Example 1 – children have a range of behaviours. Start calling a kid obnoxious and they’ll be obnoxious more, non-obnoxious less.
Example 2 – someone hears that electrons ‘sometimes act as waves’. They don’t know what the words mean, exactly (or even that they’re wrong) but they think they understand it, so they stop thinking about it.
If you stop thinking about politics, philosophy or your identity because you ‘already have a label for it’, you’re short-circuiting your intelligence.
Now, for the history lesson:
You might think that slapping finer and finer labels on people is like assembling a party in Dungeons & Dragons. You’ve got the half-orc ranger, the human paladin, the elf rogue and the halfling wizard – and this diversity gives them strength. After all, a talented GM could (and should) create a ‘fair fight’ that dismantles an all-wizard party.
Bu that diversity only works when the party is unified.
Tyranny rises into power effortlessly and smoothly when it can use labels against you. It’s a classic stratagem of class warfare – you can’t fight the masses, but you don’t need to. Divide them and get them to fight each other.
Unity gives our differences strength. Disunity turns them into a weapon.
And I know what some of you are thinking:
“Unity! Exactly! It’s a shame there are millions of Nazis in this country. Once we shame and deplatform them into silence, though, then we’ll have unity!”
That’s not unity.
The tools of fascism are a poisoned chalice. You can’t sip from it, even to fight for democracy.
Book burning, censorship, removing freedoms, imposing your beliefs on others – if these run rampant you have, at best, a warped democracy. And a warped democracy is moments from tyranny at all times.
You can disagree, you can argue, you can even hate some ideas. But don’t forgo what unifies us – especially if you care about diversity and inclusion.
With genuine unity, those are genuine results of it, not something folks pay reluctant lip service to.
The best part?
I’ve seen diversity campaigns decrease diversity (“we want more skin colours and fewer points of view around here!”)
I’ve seen inclusion used as a tool to exclude people.
But I’ve never seen folks say, “you know what? We’re all friends here and we should respect that,” without it leading somewhere better.
I’m big on unity. To me, it’s the common sense objective – the goal that subsumes many others. Maybe it’s because of my background – everyone can go into a trance at any time. When a group of folks trance together, it’s sublime.
It doesn’t matter what labels you where or what labels you shun.
You’re human, therefore you can enter a trance.
You can enjoy it, as if you’re giving your mind a cleansing bath.
Check out my catalogue of trance-based solutions. Then pick a time, lock it in and complete the form I email you.
Because when you experience something beyond words, you realise how little those labels matter.
Here’s my schedule: