The Trouble with Grouping

Our human brains are designed to group information.  As children we learn the rules of speech (which is very frustrating to English speaking three year olds who are corrected for saying “I goed potty” or “Dad doed it”)!  We learn what characteristics make a horse different than a dog, etc.  We need to group information to learn without being overwhelmed by ever little detail.  It is important to our functioning.

However, grouping can cause problems.  If you look on the media you see this group at war with that group, and it can seem like everyone hates everyone.  But maybe that’s not actually true.  Maybe a lot of  memes and quips aren’t referring to real human people, but stereotypes. We might not all be in a “Borg vs. everyone else” type battle.

When you talk to your neighbor, you see the humanity of that person, and they see yours. Things aren’t always as they seem. People are pretty amazing. Some conservatives love the poor.  Some liberals care about keeping pre-born babies alive.  Some sensates have insight. Some intuitives have sense. Some media and social media gurus may sometimes frame the way we look at things, and they may like drama.  It doesn’t mean that everything they present is reality.

Generalizing can help us make sense of the world, but it can also cause us to see things as worse than they are and despair.  And in our personal lives as well, it is easy to get into “I ALWAYS make that mistake” or ” No one EVER calls me” or “ALL people are haters,” or “society is COMPLETELY bad…” But these aren’t true.  Sometimes, you do the thing well. Sometimes, someone reaches out. Sometimes, people are lovely. flower in hand

Go outside. See the trees, talk to a neighbor. Yes, there are things in the world that really need to change.  We don’t want to be blind to that, and we need to do what is good and reasonable to do to help. But there is also so much good.  Watch the face of a three year old.  See the art of someone close to you.  Eat delicious vegetables.  Hug someone you love. Read a fascinating book.

And it might help to begin to replace “all or nothing” words with words of moderation. Without as many generalities, life can be much better. They are NEVER true anyway. 😉 (joke)

May your day be beautiful. May God bless your day.




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