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Bad Handles

Most of us are not trained to treat categories, “types” and “kinds” as mere "HANDLES” (like hooks) or ways of gathering and collecting different items that are “tethered” or grouped together.” A single word or term thus becomes the HAND-DLE by which we organize and speak about the underlying unique items of and in reality. Accordingly, we separate, divide, apportion, and segregate people into races, ethnicities, religious groupings, and even “brands. We categorize “bugs,” “insects” and “arthropods” as if they were the same, hardly realizing that they are thousands of times more varied and unique than mammals, including homo sapiens and other primates. We refer to and treat “collections” of stars into “Constellations,” and the stations of the Zodiac. We speak of time periods (and epochs) such as the 60's and 90's as well as the Silurian, Jurassic, and we made a big deal about the Inauguration of the third Millennium as we “hit” and “embarked” upon “Y2K!.”

True, as a civilization and cultures, we are prone, passionate and obsessed about groupings, categories, types, kinds and their rubrics. We are singularly obsessed with categorizing, pigeonholing, ramming and crashing items into neat and silly categories. Some individuals argue as to whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable as if it makes a difference. Others quibble as to the name of a particular color or hue be it some version of pink, yellow or green (ignoring the fact that the human eye can see thousands of variations and that we have no agreed upon names for all of the variations).

Cyril Bert devised his theories of intelligence based upon his racist beliefs and his reducing and parsing the notion of brain acuity and functions into so called "intelligence tests” with the the fewest possible dimensions and ignoring the notion that mental skills can take scores of different forms.

The practice and obsession with handles, types and kinds is the embodiment of Reification i.e. the practice, habit and unconscious treating words, concepts, and categories as being more real than the underlying realities. If words and categories are seen as maps, the underlying realities or referents, to which the words refer can be seen as territories.