In my warped mind, a noun is simply another word for label. And this is partly the reason why I’m spending today, angry at nouns. We all have far different qualities to the labels we find attached to us. And yet, certain labels are used to almost describe us in our entirety. Now, whether the manipulative nature of language, and specific labels are to blame for this, or whether humanity with it’s simplistic vision of the World (to the point where we’ve come to accept adjectives, almost more as nouns….black, gay) is to blame, is a different matter. A Muslim is viewed simply as that, and nothing more, purely because of the word itself. A Jew, carries certain connotations that others do not like. When used as nouns, Fat, thin, Liberal, Conservative, Black, Immigrant, British, Pakistani, Transsexual, Gay, seem to be used as a single mould, making up what we are, which simply isn’t true. “You’re British and you’re white“…. well yes, among a lot of other more important things that make up who I am.
A label acts to strip away the qualities of an object, the intrinsic beauties, whisking them together to form a single category. It doesn’t apply purely to humanity either.
It is difficult to cast our eyes onto a simple tree, and not just immediately think “That’s a tree“. The qualities, the natural beauty, the essence of what makes the tree, is condensed into that single word “tree” and so we do not begin to fathom the spectacular nature of it, our imagination, is manipulated by that single noun. It becomes meaningless, a word. We seemingly forget that natural beauty is far removed from anything man has created. Where does this beauty come from? It is only when we stand to look, to really look, that we open a box of new emotions. Perhaps, also the fact that you see a tree every day, takes away it’s beauty. “Every thing is spoilt by use.“
Sea. It’s a simple word that we all recognise. A common noun that evokes no feeling of extreme beauty, or tranquillity, it’s simply a word; a word that seemingly covers all situations for the particular object it is labelling. And yet, when we observe the sea, we observe something different every time. Everybody gets something out of it. A fisherman will have a different emotion attached to the sea, than a Thalassophobic. The sea on a calm summer’s morning, is far removed from that same body of water on a stormy day. The sea on an overcast boring grey day, is far removed from the sea on a clear star filled night, glistening. I should know! I’ve sat on enough coast lines in the midst of a starry night. The Sea is not simply a word, it is a description, a story unique to everyone.
“Immigrant” is a word that I have come to despise. It encompasses everything that is wrong with the World. It evokes a feeling of superiority. Suddenly an immigrant is simply that. Not a human, not someone who wishes the same as you and I wish, or dreams of a better life like the rest of us dream, or cries, or loves, or laughs. They are suddenly something alien to us, because that’s what the word immigrant has come to represent. They are hostile, different, a mystery that arouses intense suspicion, and for what reason? There is no logical reason.
Recently, in Belfast, a string of racist attacks against Romanian families has taken place. Some are suggesting that certain Romanians provoked the attacks. How that justifies smashing the windows of innocent families, purely because they happen to come from the same Country as the people provoking the Irish residents, is beyond me. But it does go a long way to prove that the label is to blame. The category of “Romanian” is to blame. An us vs them mentality, that has gone so far as to create a worryingly growing far right sympathy across the UK.
We are not all destined to be successful business men and women; we are not all cut out for a life of “hard work” making money for others in the hope of securing a holiday once a year every summer; we do not all care about owning the most luxurious car; we are not all obsessed with the Country we were born as if it were actually important; we are not all religious; we are not all white, or black, or asian; some of us are attracted to women, some to men, some to transsexuals, it does not matter; we are not all work minded, some of us are spiritually minded; some of us can sit for hours under the clear and serene world of the stars, others prefer to be tucked up in a nice warm bed; some of us love standing with our eyes closed and our arms wide open in the pouring rain; some of us see the beauty and the astonishment in a simple oak tree, others do not waste their time with such hippy nonsense; some of us pray five times a day, others only concern is money; some of us find it hard to trust or to love, others fall in love at the glimpse of a smile from a girl on the train station platform; some of us enjoy nothing more than tanning ourselves on sun loungers across the World; some of us are not burdened by narrow minded ancient Religious notions of what is decent and correct, others cling onto faith as a guide for life; some of us get that inner most feeling of life when we’re jumping out of a plane or rock climbing, others feel it within the simplistic nature of early Autumn mornings when gazing at ripening fruit “Blushing through the mist and dew“; some of us want to save ourselves for that one special person, others bask in a life of promiscuity; the World is a magnificent place because the level of diversity far outstrips the man made idea of common identity and categories. We are all different. Yes we have certain traits and features that bind us to others, but that similarity is far outweighed by the differences between us. The truth is, as long as you are not intentionally out to cause harm, then you are free to be as different and as diverse as you could possible imagine.
“Diverse” is the one label, I do not have a problem with.