The tendency to classify and categorize objects is a deeply ingrained aspect of human nature. Without this ability, we'd quickly get overwhelmed in every new encounter, but this fundamental skill can also be extremely damaging, especially when it comes to categorizing people.
I think we can all agree that for some people, eating in America has become a way to define yourself. We have vegetarians and vegans, people who follow raw food diets, macrobiotic diets, Paleolithic diets, the list goes on and on.
One of the best ways to dismiss the ideas of others, without ever having to think about them, is to label them as quickly as they are uttered. Some roads to hell may be paved with good intentions, but others are made smooth by a flippant bigotry that avoids truth by stereotyping.
Recovery, therapy, and starting my life all over again has caused a 180-degree turnaround in my ability to understand others and have compassion and empathy for them. I believe that each person's story makes him or her unique, and I don't endorse labels or generalizations.
When we learn to watch the mind and stop labeling everything and everyone automatically, we start to see things differently. Instead of a divided and fearful world, we see a world that's fundamentally whole and unbiased.