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and how the angle changes the view.

Taxonomy is the branch of science concerned with systematic classification of organisms; it’s how we know that Homo habilis preceded Homo erectus. It helps scientists unravel the evolutionary path that lead to us modern humans, the walking and talking descendants of hominins, that so badly wanted to escape reality, they came up with the Avengers. If you look up how many species of humans have existed over the eons, you’ll get confused. They say there are different lists, and scientists are disputing whom to include as our closest ancestors, therefore in essence, there is no consensus on what makes us human. That’s a matter of opinion; different perspectives result in different answers.

“Nerd”

A person devoted to intellectual, academic, or technical pursuits or interests

Merriam-Webster

One whose IQ exceeds his weight.

Urban dictionary

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We do the same in our everyday lives. We look at someone on the street and immediately assign characteristics and labels. Fat, tall, pretty, athletic. A guy hits a sign post because he’s looking at his phone and we immediately think he must be some kind of idiot. Maybe he’s a nuclear physicist and he just solved the energy crisis, or just worried about his mom not calling him back. And also some kind of idiot.

“Criminal”

Relating to, involving, or being a crime

Merriam-Webster

When something is completely and utterly bad

Urban Dictionary

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Classifying groups of humans by the color of their skin, their religion, political beliefs or any other contested notion, is the source of innumerable clashes. Supporters of the former USA president stormed the Capitol in what has been described as failed coup, but in their view, they were fighting for democracy. They thought it was the right thing to do and, like Rosa Parks, they reached a boiling point and decided to take action. Of course, there’s no debate about which of these two was on the right side of history and which was blindly following a false prophet, but try convincing either that they’re wrong.

“Queer”

Differing in some way from what is usual or normalodd, strange, weird

Merriam-Webster

Originally pejorative for gay, now being reclaimed by some gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons as a self-affirming umbrella term. Caution: still extremely offensive when used as an epithet.

Urban Dictionary

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At the individual level, we like to know who we are and where we stand in the world, but are our labels really what defines us and gives us value? Take Ricky Gervais for example, he’s a complete jackass when when asked why he doesn’t want kids, but deep down a sentimental fool (according to gossip). Take another, more abstract example, less subject to Hollywood: lawyers and garbage collectors. Personally, I’ve never needed a lawyer but I need my garbage collected twice a week; so why is one considered more prestigious than the other?

“Religious”

Relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity

Merriam-Webster

Something which is both hilarious and deeply saddening.

Urban Dictionary

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Finally, at the very personal level, by shaping opinions of what characterizes us best, we are locking ourselves up in little boxes, pre-defining the acceptable behavior for what we are. I can be a hypochondriac and I can be aloof, all at the same time, so why should I settle on a specific version, subjecting myself to either a lifetime of anxiety or indifference?

“Generation X”

The generation of people born in the 1960s and 1970s

Merriam-Webster

People in western countries born from the mid-1960s to 1980 approximately. You can imagine them as a blend of Boomers and Millennials in both good and bad traits but way more cynical. You might be cynical too if you were stuck between those two.

Urban Dictionary

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Even for labels that we created in order to serve a purpose, we are now realizing that the human condition can exist on a spectrum and can’t be precisely defined; take autism, which started singular and now includes a range of atypical conditions, or the LGBT community, which keeps adding letters and symbols to the acronym. It’s not that we got it wrong when we first defined it, it’s that we never realized there was no one definition. Allowing ourselves to be fluid in how we describe and experience our realities, helps us enjoy them instead of worrying that we’ve stepped out of line.

“Poor”

Lacking material possessions

Merriam-Webster

A person who has too much month at end of the money.

Urban dictionary

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.com

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