On the Public Radio program, “A Way with Words,” it was suggested that when aliens come to visit, they may well describe humans as “The Classifiers.” This is different from our assessment of ourselves as “The Wise.”
Folks who listen to only one aspect of how they want to be known will soon enough be telling generation-long lies about their wisdom and greatness. It turns out that one needs to be a sap if they are going to glorify themselves as sapient. Wisdom without doubt and questions regarding what is known and not known is not wisdom. At best, it is a closed-loop feedback system that falls prey to the old rubric of GIGO (garbage in; garbage out). To change the image to genetics—no new bloodline leads to homozygosity, an expression of unhealthy recessive genes.
It is this tendency to classify that leads to rapacious colonialism molesting the Land and Indigenous Peoples. When uncomfortable in the presence of difference and easily tripped up by unacknowledged entitlement to the best, we begin to classify each and every Neighb*r. Wealth is one such classification. Race is another. We are so very good at classifying; we can even do it on the basis of “one drop of blood.”
When classifications begin to multiply, Wealth mates with Race, and soon their offspring carry a Supremacist look upon their face. Well split hairs of difference lead to a whole class of people who have lost their hair or had it harvested into ropes to hang their donors.
If we don’t wise up about how others see us, it won’t just be our sapience that we lose, but we’ll so finely classify everything until all is finer than dust. With ourselves as the apple of our own eye, the fruit of a tree of knowledge will bring wisdom full circle—from dust you have come; to dust, you shall return.