Thursday, December 01, 2005

Classification Obsession – Invitation to the Future

One almost cannot help noticing a theme in current mainstream thought – an obsession with classification. Are priests gay or not, or more precisely, how gay are gay priests? Are decorated public space trees holiday trees or Christmas trees? Should cities have trees – holiday, Christmas or whatever? Should researchers be allowed to donate eggs for stem cells? Is the war in Iraq a war in Iraq?

At the meta level, in an increasingly complex world, a struggle for classification, delineation and categorization is quite normal. Is there more meaning to the recent classification game than the natural human pattern finding tendency?

Classification is not just pattern finding/assignation but can also be read as an attempt at order imposition in an increasingly shifting and expanding world…an early warning sign of futureshock.

More than futureshock, classification is the first step in perceiving, assessing and absorbing new situations. It is humans grappling with the degree of newness available in the world today, the inevitable cant of progress and the invitation to participate.