Defying categorisation

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I’ve been told that categorisation is an integral part of human nature. If we didn’t assign labels to each other and everything else, how would we be able to describe anything?

When I was a teenaged university student, I shared digs with a guy who came from a sheltered background, but it was obvious that his family was not particularly well read or travelled. This fellow’s behaviour came across to many of my peers as outlandish and unrefined. He also seemed unaware of many social mores that the rest of us took for granted. Perhaps unkindly, he was given the nickname “bush man”.

This young man was not unintelligent however. He quickly understood that we regarded his quaint antics and mannerisms as amusing. He made a psychological choice to take the teasing on the chin and appeared to fly his “bush man” flag with pride.

I have no idea what happened to him later in life. He probably runs an Oil and Gas company in Nigeria now and has access to resources that can take him around the world several times, if he so desires.

We can label behaviour patterns or objects at a particular point in time, but none of us is compelled to shoehorn our lives into sticking to anyone else’s idea of who we are, or what we’re like.