I’ve been out for drinks with my new co-workers–whimsically-themed cocktails are something I’m very much in favor of. for the record, especially the citrus-flavored variety–so we’ll see how coherent this ends up being.
See, I’ve been talking elseblog about TVTropes, and then sort of about personality tests, and the various ways one can define things. Definitions and labels, mind, do to some extent serve to limit understanding even as they aid it: so do words themselves, and even our senses. They’re like the little hand-and-footholds we carve in the glacial expanse of The Cosmos–which is a metaphor I really should have used in some college essay. And on the one hand, you can’t get too dependent on them: you hold onto the same little niches in the ice long enough, and the view will get really tiring, plus your hands will get exhausted and you’ll fall and die and be a discouraging story on the Discovery Channel. On the other hand, you need those niches. Because you are not Spiderman.
My point, insofar as I have one, is that I think “classification cannot fully describe everything and thus all classification is wrong” is…not the way to approach this. I take the opposite approach: no one system of classification can fully describe a person or a situation, largely, and thus you should play around with every system you can. I’m an INTJ, a 4 or a 7 on the enneagram (I think: it’s been a long time), Artemis/Aphrodite in the Goddesses in Everywoman test (more Aphrodite, but I think that’s because some of the Artemis questions are very nature-and-sports oriented, so I don’t hit her stuff until we get to relationships and my lack of desire for commitment or kids or whatever*), probably Fire if we’re going all classical elements, a Libra in Western astrology and a Dog in Chinese, often the Page or Knight of Wands if I identify with the Tarot, Neutral with what I hope are Chaotic Good leanings…
…there are a million ways to classify a person. And a million ways in which a person, or a character, or whatever, doesn’t entirely fit one characterization, or complicates it, or whatever. We use the word “jumping-off-point” a lot in my job, and I think that’s a good one for these kinds of things: you take a look at a category, and you talk about how you fit it and how you don’t, and then suddenly you’re talking about all kinds of interesting things that you might not have mentioned if not for the category.
It’s not a definition. But it’s a very useful place to start.
*Like olives, or spicy food: absolutely great that other people want them, I’m totally pro-them-doing-that, but So Not My Thing.