Classifying and generalizing are part of our design. After all, they make it easIer for us to process information. By classifying and generalizing, we get an idea of the anatomy of a dog regardless of what breed it is. Because all dogs (probably) have the same anatomy.
The same goes for books. Somehow, we know what to expect from books under the Sales category, under Marketing, under Entrepreneurship, and under Mystery/Thriller.
We even classify food into go, grow, and glow which makes it easier for us to identify what nutrients we can expect from what we eat.
They are a helpful and efficient part of our brain's design.
But, while walking home after attending our small church gathering, I realized that we classify and generalize people too:
The churched and the unchurched.
The holy and the worldly.
The saints and the sinners.
The rich and the poor.
The employed and the unemployed.
The staff members and the managers.
The employees and the entrepreneurs.
The leaders and the followers.
The Filipinos and the foreigners.
There's nothing wrong with these classifications and generalizations as most of them, if not all, may simply be statements of fact.
But, when classifications and generalizations get in the way of loving and caring for each other, when they become a cause of division (like they almost always do), or when they cause us to develop an us versus them mentality, we begin to care only for ourselves and those who are just like us. We tend to forget and even discriminate those who are not like us.
Deep inside, we are all the same regardless of religion, of social status, of class, of race, of gender, and of profession.
Last night, a cab, a jeepney, and an SUV were all driving so fast on the streets of Ayala. Then, I realized that they just wanted to go home to their families. They were all the same.
Deep inside, we all work so hard for our families. We all want to love and be loved. We all connect with God in our own ways and it doesn't need to be inside the church (although it does help because of various factors such as the setting and the context).
The means may be different, but the ends are the same.
Maybe we should open our hearts and our minds more and see beyond what our eyes see.
Because no matter how different we all seem, deep inside, we are all the same. There is no us or them. There is only all of us. And maybe we should go beyond caring only for ourselves and those who look like us or think like we do. Maybe we should begin reaching out more.
At the end of the day, there is only one thing all of us need regardless of classification—love.