Categorization - 76

Humans really like categorization. I see it everywhere in my life, on such a scale that it's practically unnoticeable. And for good reason, too: humans need it to process the world in all of its complexity. The sheer volume of information in the form of sensory input along with thoughts swirling around our conscious and unconscious minds makes it so that we are forced to heavily compartamentalize and categorization; without doing these things, it would be impossible to focus on any one thing at a time, rendering us unable to function.

One thing about categories is that they trade usefulness for neatness. There are very few sets of categories that don't have exceptions - the smartphone is the perfect example. Despite this, we continue to get more specific with categories, like making new folders one after another in order to house more files. Suddenly, we don't know where to find anything because we have too many categories, and closely-related items end up in separate containers, meant not to escape them despite the point of their existence being use with other items.

But the human brain exists to make connections. That - connecting topic to topic - is how we learn, innovate, and create. Categories encourage connections between things *inside the categories*, which is nice, but not ideal in the long term. It's difficult to talk usefully about categories in general (as it is with any very very very large set) so I'll just end this ramble here.

^^ I wrote these paragraphs but they're half-incoherent so I'm de-emphasizing them.

TT;DW (too tired, didn't write): Categories are useful but shouldn't be depended on for everything. In fact, they should be a secondary or tertiary tool to use when trying to parse a large amount of things, as they are highly inflexible and ignore the reality that things quite often don't fit nicely the way we want them to. I myself have ended up wasting a lot of time trying to categorize things that don't really need to go into folders or boxes.

Sorry about this one.
-branches


You'll only receive email when they publish something new.

More from branches