Categorizing analytically versus categorizing in reality

Categorizing analytically versus categorizing in reality

Categorizing people analytically can be a useful fiction for understanding broad trends and patterns in human behavior and identity. However, we must be cautious not to let these analytical categories overly determine how we perceive and engage with actual individuals in reality. Each person is far more complex than any single label or identity category could ever capture.

In our effort to make sense of the diversity of humanity, we may find it pragmatically useful to sort people into groups based on certain qualities they share. But we should remember that these are just simplified models of reality. No individual fits neatly and fully into any one box.

We are all multifaceted beings with diverse characteristics, experiences, and ways of identifying ourselves. When interacting with someone, we should avoid assumptions based on our analytical categories and instead remain open to discovering their full, unique personhood.

If we can balance categorization’s analytical utility with an appreciation for each person’s irreducible complexity, we can gain insight while still respecting individuals in all their humanity.

If we restrict ourselves to be biased by categories, we might be unfairly restricting others to receive graces and blessings like how the disciples of Jesus almost prevented children from being with Him.

Matthew 19:13-15. Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.


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