The reason for the title of this post is that one of the most dehumanising things I see is people being defined as things.
I say this because… things can be defined, described, they have fixed attributes, you know what they are and can talk about them with confidence knowing what they are and what to expect.
Things are defined, people are not things.
People aren’t like that. They are not things easily defined, they are many things at all times. Labelling them defines them in some ways. Labels, except in the broadest possible sense are misleading. I think I tend to think of people as an ongoing process, one that changes through time, changes with experience, because of experience, develops and changes constantly to a greater or lesser extent.
Things are static, people are not things.
The words we use to describe people are useful to communicate descriptions, likes, dislikes, tastes, preferences, thoughts, about people so long as we don’t think of people as being wholly defined by those words. This is particularly important where some words are ‘loaded’ with particular associations. This can lead people to associate value with people dependent on these words separate from that individuals worth.
Things don’t think, people are not things.
We all have facets, we cannot be defined by one of them alone, it’s important to remember that people are complex and full of contradictions. Logical, emotional, irrational, evolved and primal. We are in some respects prey to instincts, desires and lusts that we have no control over and are the consequence of millennia old evolutionary processes. Yet we can channel these, control them, use them for pleasure, tap the lizard brain leftovers and be our primal selves channelled by our higher brain functions.
Things don’t feel, people are not things.
We are what we are, but also what we make ourselves. We are the product of our evolutionary heritage, primal instincts, education, environment, experiences and memories. We are complex brilliant and foolish. We are animals and philosophers.
People are not things.