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Old 07-15-2008, 03:31 PM   #85
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kaplods's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Wausau, WI
Posts: 13,383

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Height: 5'6"


Humans love labels. They make communication easier (at least they're supposed to), but when people don't fit into existing labels there's a dilemma.

Use an existing label inappropriately (really annoys a lot of people).

Coin a new label (really annoys a lot of people).

Give a lengthy explanation (really annoys a lot of people).

Being too precise can destroy meaning as much as being too vague, but the problem is where to draw the line. The line is always drawn individually based upon personal values and beliefs not only regarding the specific label itself, but about the necessity for precision in language (both situationally and generally).

It's selfish and egocentric (as is most of human behavior) to only care about the labels in regard to how they apply to ourselves, but that's generally what occurs. If I belong and care about the label, I don't want to be mislabeled and I don't want others mislabeled either. If it's a label to which I do not belong to or identify with, my motives for caring are very different. Then I'm apt to regard the label only in terms of it's informative value to me, and it only has to be as precise as I need it to be.

When I converted to the Missouri Synod Lutheran church, I learned that for many people the synod to which one belongs is VERY important, and confusing synod membership can be "fighting words." At our own wedding, we nearly caused a family feud, because the minister said a prayer at our wedding reception before the meal. Apparently, praying in a mixed group of denominations (Catholic, Missouri and Wisconsin synod Lutheran and the mixed religions of our coworkers who attended) is a MAJOR no-no for Wisconsin synod Lutherans. Some of my husband's relatives were DEEPLY offended, and we heard about it later, heck we STILL hear about it.

Not sure if there is any solution, but I do think talking about it does help. It brings the awareness to people who otherwise wouldn't realize there was a reason to care.
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