The label is a wondrous development in the evolution of the ruling class. It is a form of thought that takes away the need for actual thinking. The label, in fact, replaces thinking with its short comforting familiarity of definition tailored to sooth the insecure individual and justify their “thoughts” and “opinions”, while delivering the individual into ruling class service.
A label is a word or phrase that encapsulates a whole range of assumptions and meanings, some of which are based in truth, others not so much. The socially approved label is sanctified by a social authority, such as a priest, politician, the press or a tradition. The label is an Establishment parasite that replaces personal interests with the ruling class agenda and always justifies the ruling class in some way (see here for a discussion on the Establishment).
The Establishment deploys its “memes”, definitions and assumptions to assault the young mind. Through repetition and over the years these ideas and thoughts harden along the contours of personal feelings and experience into concrete labels that put a heavy burden on the individual’s ego (see here for a discussion on the ego). Labels constrict movement of thought, if thought is required at all. Most of the time a label will suggest, according to point of view and context, how an individual is to think or act independent of actual thought.
All individuals are all guilty of this to some extent. Human consciousness would not be viable if individuals had to think about and analyze everything they said and did. Assumptions must be made. Life goes on.
A member of the Preservation Society is reminded of his uncle Marvin, who was a sensitive young man. It seems, while attending Columbia University as a Philosophy major, he had the notion to question everything. Trust nothing, he said. “Wake every morning and question whether there will be a floor beneath your feet when you get out of bed.” Tragically, young Marvin killed himself two years later by leaping off his father’s penthouse balcony. He left a simple note in writing: “questioning everything is a terrible burden”. The media commented on the Armani suit he wore with flip flops, but did not mention the note.
Thanks to labels, thinking need not be a burden to the masses or the ruling class. They know who is good or bad by the label they wear. Merit has little to do with it, though it may be a factor. The label tells us how to approach life and choose options, who our friends are and how to value each other.
The individual is the sum of their labels. Yet, whether the label is a faithful description of the individual is altogether irrelevant. What matters is the meaning labels have for their subject and observer and how they feel about those labels. This makes the meanings of labels context dependent. Two individuals may espouse belief in the same label, but the content of that belief will vary in accordance to the experiences and understanding brought to the label by the individual.
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Labels obstruct clear vision and twist reality into the Establishment. They keep the host ego on the Establishment track. Whatever common sense and rationality might say, the label, like an internal compass, maintains a pro-ruling class orientation within the individual.
The Preservation Society was struck by this passage from the ancient Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu:
The ancients’ knowledge was complete. How complete? There were some who refused to acknowledge that there were things. That complete. Nothing could be added to that. Then came some who acknowledged the existence of things but refused to discriminate among them; then some who discriminated but refused to label one “right” and another “wrong”….
“Therefore,” he announces provocatively, “I say, ‘those who discriminate cannot see’.” (The Essential Chuang Tzu)
“… refuse to acknowledge that there were things.” This seems impossible, until one considers the infant child or a non-human animal. These creatures don’t analyze their environment but exist within them. They do not think to themselves: tree, water, enemy, ally. They are simply in the flow of a totality. There are no things, there just is. Vision is crystal clear in this state. Consciousness is a unified field of perception of harmonious parts. It is the task of labels to alienate consciousness from reality, society from reality and society from itself.
The hyena may be the lion’s rival, but neither think nor dwell on the fact. They act as experience has taught them without preconceptions that might burden or complicate their lives. They may kill each other’s offspring at the first opportunity, but this is instinct and experience as instructed by nature, not actions based on a ruling class agenda through labels. They are much more in harmony with natural world.
This state of affairs will not do for a ruling class society. The Supreme Executive demands that society support him, and not nature or neutral reality. But labels do not negate the natural world. Rather, they help appropriate reality for the ruling class agenda. That is why when one says “one must work to sustain life”, one expresses a certain truth — giving it power — but that truth is complicated by Establishment reality. Life’s inherent need for “work” is compounded and worsened by labels that steers the individual into serving the ruling class — which compounds and worsens their lives.
Chuang Tzu refers to the “ancients”, implying a closer existence to nature. For the Preservation Society, it also conjures up, a time before the development of the ruling class and its Establishment. We postulate that this was before the patriarchy came to dominate the human community, when nature’s goddess ruled society. With its establishment, society became alienated from itself and its individuals. The rising ruling class removed human society from the realm of nature by creating an imbalance of its forces in favor of competition, aggression, compartmentalization and linear thought — the necessary foundations of the Great Institution.
With the descent into patriarchy “came some who acknowledged the existence of things but refused to discriminate among them; then some who discriminated but refused to label one “right” and another “wrong”. This is clear vision disintegrating into a society of labels, creating the lonely individual we’ve seen throughout history.
In the emergent “labelized” society of status, people became peasants. The outcast an unfortunate by-product. Rulers ruled. Criminals were stamped and individuals judged. Each is contained in their own category. Humanity held out against the patriarchal interference of consciousness but, like a good drug and the taste of power that it promoted was too much for the few who then condemned the many to the trappings of this discrimination and judgment, and, crucially, to the vulnerability of being judged and discriminated against.
This does not mean a society without a ruling class would be labelless itself. We merely point out that labels are vital to the workings of ruling class society. In a more balanced society, The Preservation Society suspects labels would be less authoritative and alienating to its members, and less dominant in society. We believe that the organic labels that might arise would orient the individual toward the common good rather than the interests of the ruling class. Isn’t that what the masses want?
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Ironically, “thinking” based on label thinking is complex. Labels have a hierarchy of importance in the same way that nationalism trumps regionalism and religion trumps religious sect, or depending on what ruling class priorities are at the moment. This is further complicated by the influence of other labels, and the intensity of feeling developed in relation to that label. Many labels take part in the shaping of ideas in the individual. Cognitive dissonance occurs by the acceptance of contradictory labels. Jack London was both a socialist and a social Darwinist. The label itself provides little information about an individual.
“This woman is a Christian.”
What does it say about her? Is she good, is she bad? Does she believe in compassion and peace or the blood-thirsty hand of a god? Does she believe in “romance”? Is she brilliant? The label is equally about the observer. How does he react to “Christian” or “woman”? In either case does the conscious intention match the true unconscious meaning? Then the implications of a label are also determined by the perceptions of the reader as well.
A simple label cannot provide us much information about an individual. In that sense it has no meaning. The label has to be multifaceted to custom fit the understanding of each individual through the individual’s deep-seated emotions and understanding, and in their own way, the label turns their loyalty and service toward the ruling class. Most of the time the meanings of label occurs unconsciously.
The perception of the label “Christian” can change dramatically with modifier labels:
“She is an Evangelical Texas Christian.”
“She is an indigenous Bolivian Christian.”
Two quite different versions of “Christian” emerge here. Suddenly the reader may feel an instinctive feeling one way or the other, perhaps unconsciously. The reader may find themselves favoring one over the other for no other reason that the emotions or understanding triggered by labels. The modifying labels force a certain views to emerge that generally coincides, in some manner, with the ruling class agenda. The variations and their effects on thought are endless, or at least as varied as individual “thinking”.
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Let us look at the health care “debate”. The “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) is, going strictly by the facts, a program of state-mandated profit for private corporate health care companies. Hardly a socialist program. It locks in the status quo of for-profit health care, and protects a market-oriented posture — the ruling class agenda. But meanings change with label modifiers (labels bolded).
To Liberals, the Affordable Care Act is a step closer to cheaper single payer health care.
To Conservatives, the Affordable Care Act is a frightening step closer to a socialist tyranny.
Here we see a curious role reversal. It is usually the Conservative party that pushes through ruling class policies. But single payer health care is a liberal cause, even though it has majority support of the masses. It would not be creditable for the conservative faction to push the ACA. It might cause questioning among the masses. A liberal law must be pursued by liberal politicians because they supposedly want single payer. The conservative label loyalist will then oppose the ACA because it was proposed by Liberals. The Establishment re-labeled the ACA Obamacare making it easier for the masses to take up their positions accordingly.
The single payer issue is an example of the disconnect between labels, and labels and their own meanings. 41% of Republicans support single payer, yet it is considered a liberal issue rather than the most rational to approach to health care. But the reality is very difficult to supplant. The everyday experience of individuals and the well-known facts of the for-profit industry keeps the masses focused on their real personal material needs which do not necessarily accommodate liberal or conservative label biases. It is when abstracted into a politics of distant rhetoric and authority — as must inevitably happen in a 300 million strong “democracy” — that labels take over and work their most effective alchemy.
Conservatives oppose liberal Obamacare, undeterred by the fact that it is modeled on proposals of the very conservative Heritage Foundation, protects market centrality, private profit, and was implemented by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. So Conservatives are opposed to plans by the conservative HF, which protect markets and private profits? But then, the HF is obligated to join with Conservatives to fight Obamacare which they helped inspire, and for whose passage Liberals fought, though rank-and-file Liberals (and Conservatives) want to move away from for-profit health care, not further entrench it. Despite their good feelings and intentions Liberals support private profit health care.
What a garbled mess. There may seem to be no rhyme or reason in how these labels promote or discourage certain views and align with others, but there is a unifying thread here, and that is the label’s inherent orientation toward superficial ruling class interests.
Ruling class orientation of labels overrides the label’s original meaning and intent because meaning and intent are based on the authority of the label leader, which is an authority of society. Complementing the label leaders is the individual bred to accept social labels and act accordingly. If the conservative leader says Obamacare is liberal socialist evil then it is so for the label loyalist. It doesn’t matter that Obamacare was written by Conservatives and is not close to being socialist. What matters is that label leaders said so. Conversely, Obamacare is “a step in the right direction” for Liberals because their leaders put it forward.
That Michael Moore campaigned for Obamacare should have raised eyebrows among the liberal masses, or anybody who is concerned about decent health care. Moore had just made a film dedicated to exposing the terrible state of health care in the U.S. and then suddenly he becomes an advocate of mandating that system. He came out in favor of private profit for the very industry he brutally assailed. But what does it matter? Moore is a liberal and Obamacare is a liberal program pushed by liberal leaders. How can the rank-and-file Liberal oppose that?
This jumble of contradictory meanings, double meanings and conscious and unconscious meanings resets the individual onto the path of ruling class subservience when they begin to stray. It lies at the heart of politics — at the very heart of ruling class society.
Labels are the content of the colonized ego. They are that individual’s universe. It is through the collective lens of labels that the individual understands their world. Nobody should expect for the masses en masse to break the chains of labelism. But at least if enough can, it might offer a counter-balance to the blindness of a society ambling toward the cliff.