Categorization is a Denial of Diversity or Complexity – Why Fight It?
Let’s admit it: it’s a Jungle out there. So the natural tendency we humans have (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) is trying to control it. Get a grip on it. So the easy way out is to just follow our instinct. Our natural born way to collect things and categorize them can be seen on all kinds of societal levels.
The categorization process often starts in our youth with pinboards or stamp collections or something comparable. We collect all kinds of stuff and then try to structure it by using categorization techniques: great by great, small by small, country by country, size by size, color by color, technique by technique, language by language, origin by origin, species by species and so forth. It’s as if our yachting instinct tells us to do this: go collect something and if you collected more than one piece: categorize it. Or it might be that our instinct tells us to categorize things or we will loose grip. Not be able to control it.
Later on when we grow up, we keep repeating this collecting anger but then in another context. Some of us become managers or leaders. Their tendency is to collect people into their virtual system, categorize them so same kind of people are organized together and then can be put inside an organigram. Others will start a Zoo. They will collect all kinds of wild animals from the jungle, organize them together species by species and put fences around the species so they don’t mix. And even in today’s IT systems we see this technique coming back: we collect data and categorize it, hoping that this technique gives us control. But isn’t this all an illusion?
What would happen if we just left out the (illusionary) fences? Let incompatible collections come together? Let large and small come together? Black and White? Managers and Employees? Let species mix? Letting go of control, because that’s in fact only an illusion? This technique might even help creating a better world, so what are we waiting for? Happy uncategorization hunting!