It’s human nature to classify things into types. We start to do this even before we have language skills.
As a child, you perhaps had a toy where you sorted shapes.
You learned that the cubes fit into the square holes, the balls fit into the round holes, and the pyramids fit into the triangle holes.
You learned to classify, categorize, and sort before you knew the names for these shapes. Round items don’t fit into the square holes.
This skill works for objects; in fact it’s helpful. Even someone who “sucks at organizing” doesn’t put underwear in the silverware drawer.
But classification gets more complicated when we move to the realm of ideas or descriptions of people and their positions on issues — what we can call “identity.”
Our natural human tendency is to classify people as believing one thing or another. Or being one thing or another.
But human beings are multi-dimensional. We can hold beliefs that may appear to be in conflict. In fact, the ability to hold space for opposites is a skill.
Similarly, ideas don’t always fit neatly into singular categories. In fact, the skill of taking an idea or framework from one realm and applying it to another realm is the essence of creativity.
It might serve us to remember this the next time we feel the urge to classify others. Human beings are not objects to be sorted.