May 25, 2014
The elections for the Indian Parliament have finished; and people are on their way to pick up another label they identify themselves with.
In a world run by corporations and branding, it is not surprising that everything has become a label.
But are we going too far with this? People flaunt the brand of the clothing they wear, the gadgets they carry, the cars they drive. I suppose it is not inherently bad. But when it we start recognizing ourselves by the stuff we own, it might be the signs of a problem.
Labels used to be recognized for the values the organizations represented. In the PR age, looking and sounding cool has become more important than ever before. If you want to be identified in the age of information overload, you have to do things as a brand that show you as different from the others. This applies equally to corporations and persons who are brands. This is why everybody wants to be seen doing good things, regardless of whether it has any effect on the real world.
Labeling is not limited to brands, though. We label ourselves and others with the schools we attend, the companies we work for, the country we belong to, the beliefs we follow and even the color of skin or gender.
When we see people not as individuals but stereotype them as a member of a group whose population runs in thousands or millions; it is rather hard to have a sensible discussion of any kind. We can see this in action everywhere from the feminists, some of whom have taken the purpose of the movement to mean 'hating all men'; to racism, caste or creed, geography or any other way we choose to discriminate with fellow humans.
Looking at the history of human civilization, every single war can likely be traced back to people acting crazy about some label or the other.