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- Added May 20th, 2017
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Whats in a label?
By Gordon Abernethy in All Sorts
we label things and people; but to put a label that hurts someone, or a group, or a nation, so ostracizing them, goes against decency and humanism.WHAT'S IN A LABEL?
Walking (following) down the aisle recently, supermarket, not church, wondering at the plenitude of labels and presentations of the 'millions' of goods arranged regimentally on the shelving, I wondered; wondered at the imagination, the artistry, the science, the effort that so many humans have made to elevate, in eye-catching array, otherwise ordinary, mundane consumables to the notice of the consumer, us buyers, we that keep the dollar rolling around the nation.
And what about the labels? That which tells us what's the best, what's our favourite. The advertising people tell us - "look for the LABEL!" The label tells all, persuading us which brand to buy - until they change the labelling then we are confused.
There's not just tins and packets and boxes and ... but everything we 'want' even if we don't necessarily need! The designer label is sooo.... Important. What we HAVE to have. Keeping the dollar rolling - a rolling dollar gathers no, well little, interest. (Who said that?)
But it's not just 'things' we label, we also label human beings. What does your personal logo look like? What do you/I want others to think? Try looking in the mirror, I know you do that every morning. Personally speaking, whatever others see, I see, beyond the wrinkles and receding hairline of a person with many labels. Working on compiling our family tree I catch labels like son and father, brother and uncle, husband and brother-in-law, nephew, grandfather; the list will be different for you
ladies, of course! And I still have difficulty with Reverend! I met a young man from the UK recently and he called me 'sir'!
We all have labels that define our beliefs, our politics, our interests, and sadly, at times, our class and status. A jigsaw of labels that make up the picture of who we are, and with so many pieces still to be added and assembled, and so many lost forever.
The Bible is a good place to see people's labels displayed. Take a parable or three of Jesus'. I'm sure he didn't go out to label people, but they all had to be identified. Take the one where two people went to the temple to pray, "One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector." If we hadn't previously heard this story, we would likely favour the Pharisee - the tax collector, well, a tax collector! The story of the 'Good Samaritan' is another. Labels.
But Jesus surprises us - you can't tell a person by their label - "Thank you that I'm not like that tax collector over there." Is Jesus guilty here of labelling the Pharisee, and hence other Pharisees as being self-righteous?
Labelling people, other people, goes on all the time - give a dog a bad name. Better a good name! It's so easy to slip into the fashion of the times, buying what everyone else buys.
Many people of the world have suffered, and are suffering, or being punished, because of past happenings in their nation, the past bad actions of a faction. The Jewish people - what suffering they have endured. Then there's the many German people who were ostracized after the wars because of the actions of a certain section of their country-folk. It is obviously difficult for Syrians to resettle themselves, because a section of their nation has built up a bad reputation. And even the Irish get the stick. The colour of a person's skin can go against them, or their religion. Christians have been and are written off, partly because of their actions and behaviour in the past. Labelling people,
whether of nation or person can and does ostracize and stigmatize many innocent people.
If a product gets a bad name or we find we don't like the product, we can easily buy a different one, look for a different label. I suppose we could do that with people, but people have feelings - we have feelings, we can love, we can hurt, we can feel loved, we can feel hurt. To put a label that hurts someone, or a group, or a nation, so ostracizing them, goes against decency and humanism.