Humans tend to label everything.
Well, to begin with, labeling or naming, seems to give a feeling of understanding.
However, many people wrongly interpret what they think they understand.
For example, a few months ago I ordered a pizza. Although I do not eat meat for over a year, I refuse to be called a vegetarian as I still eat sea food. Instead, I prefer to say I am a wannabe plant based person that tries to eat healthy. For this reason, I noted in my shrimp pizza order: “Please, do not put meat or eggs.”
Despite the fact I added the note, I received a big looking pizza with ton of cheese above quite a few pieces of hidden fatty ham and eggs. Indeed shocking and frustrating. But I was smart enough to order two pizzas because the delivery company were Turkish people with whom I already had messy delivering experiences in some other countries too. Obviously, I needed to put in my note: I am vegetarian or I am alergic to meat and eggs. Undoubtedly, I would have received a perfectly desired pizza.
For instance, dining in any restaurant is more or less the same. If you do not point out you are vegetarian or intolerant/allergic, you risk your chance of dying, breaking your Ramadan or whatsoever.
Without a doubt, labels seem to categorize humans into groups so other people know how to behave towards them.
At the same time, labelling brings problems and critics. From my point of view, a particular person looses its uniqueness by being labelled. In a way, it does not seem that bad, but when someone sees you firstly as a label and not the unique soul you are, half hero and half villian, it can be distracting and building a harsh wall that yet needs to be crossed over.
The complexity of labels goes back far into history. Moreover, an austrain philosopher Alfred Schütz, somewhere in the beginning of 20th century, started exploring the complex called "lifeworld" and society in general. His main concerns were the ways how people grasp the consciousness of others while they live within their own stream of consciousness.
His beliefs were that humans attempt to typify, or so-called - labeling — to categorize people and things to better understand them within the context of society. He also believed, as mentioned above, that the different typifications we use literally inform us how we understand and interact with people and objects in the social world.
Schütz had concerns on "dialectical relationship between the way people construct social reality and the obdurate social and cultural reality that they inherit from those who preceded them in the social world"
To some extent, we could again blame it on our parents, predecessors. Another example partly proving this statement: I was raised in a family and society where it is believed that people who read product labels, especially for a longer period of time, are indeed crazy. On the contrary, when I started living on my own, I thought the same thing about people who do not read product labels. How on earth you can buy something that you will eventually put inside yourself without knowing what that thing actually contains?
Later on, I’ve learned to avoid labelling people as I had no clue is that particular person in a rush, did that person just survived the hardest day in their lives so he or she obviously would not care about food at that point or perhaps, something even worse. To be frank, I stopped giving a damn.
It seems like we are looking at the world through social lenses anyway.
Schütz writes: "Whitin the in-group the bulk of personal types and course-of-action types is taken for granted (until counter-evidence appears) as a set of rules and recipes which have stood the test so far and are expected to stand it in the future. Even more, the pattern of typical constructs is frequently institutionalized as a standard of behaviour warranted by traditional and habitual mores and sometimes by specific means of so-called social control, such as the legal order."
I am not showing Schütz's ideas as if they were my own but connecting them for my own interpretive purposes.
Of course we have to understand that labeling is insulated from the actualities of history and every day life. Labels are more like creations of an ordinary man in an ordinary world, without any deeper personal interpretation, analysis or philosophical approach. Clearly, labelling means stamping and it helps people immediately experience rather than digging the deeper understanding that stands behind. Also, labels help in creation of selfhood. Despite the fact that typyfing structures help every ordinary man in this ordinary world - or rather to say - the reality that we live in, everything is much more complex than it seems. We have to distinguish those rot signs of categories that put us in the same bucket. I may be you and you might be me and we are probably the same thing, but in order to appreciate our true colors, we have to go beyond labels.
After all, the first step of understanding ourselves comes from taking the role of the other, a particular, community or a group which indeed means taking a certain label. Our consciousness is continuously expanding and developing from its intentional roots within society and social actions. I believe on that way, labels are expanding too.