Sunday, 22 January 2017

Curse of categorizing

The inherent craving for classifying what we perceive or come across into existing categories or types is perhaps the curse of an analytic or scientific brain.  We do it so often and for so long that unconsciously that we become a victim of it.  We look at people and in that first glance already pigeon hole them into the existing type of people we have in our mind, based on past experiences.  Mind you the other has not even interacted with me, yet I 'know' what kind of a person he or she is.

I'm seeing the drawbacks of such a mentality, in our philosophical discussions in class.  The whole attempt is often to brand a particular philosopher as such (that he is a realist or a transcendental idealist).  That the category itself is a very lose concept with no clarity of its own (all the more certainly not for the ones engaged in the discussion), makes this exercise quite ridiculous and very agonizing.

Reflecting on the aspect of human rights, the whole puzzle is on which foundation to base the legitimacy of the same?  The temptation to classify these rights under one or some of the types of rights is a very serious one.  The agony is that these rights do not really come under any existing categories. And the danger of leaving them out of any category or categories is to attract criticism for being imaginary or unreal.

Am also seriously questioning the very classification of human rights under the umbrella of 'rights' itself! Given the political connotations of the latter, the meaning of human 'rights' get minimized and tend to lose their essence in its deeper analysis.

The closest I've come to think is 'expressions' or 'elements' of being human.  But that leaves it to some wishful plea rather than having any real obligations on anyone, especially in contexts which blatantly operate blind to these essential elements of humanity.

What then to call them?

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