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Microlabels and belief in god


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Snaolent Night

(not any god specifically, just a higher power; I just thought the title sounded better with "god")

 

Y'all heard of microlabels? Hahahaha this is AVEN, of course you have. The asexual community as a whole has sprouted some elaborate experimentation with language; this is why we see threads suggesting new labels, but more relevantly to this discussion, why we see threads asking "What am I? Can I count as a [microlabel]?"

 

Words are made up. There is usually some etymological basis for it based on thousands of years of evolution of language. But ultimately it's still made up. These categories of people, which have had terms coined for them within the past few years, are examples of that. Of course they describe real feelings. Feelings, though, are individual. They come from deeply personal places, and words are used to express that. Once that word and its definition are out there, other people might come across it and think "I feel very similar to you, so I'm going to use that word as a means to bond over what we have in common." Isn't that the main goal? To be understood and related to?

 

When we see "Am I [microlabel]?" threads on AVEN, it seems like people are asking a general community to definitively tell them they are, fundamentally, this very specific thing. Sometimes it's a rhetorical question for a general musing, but other times they are quite literally asking for a solid answer. Why do they see this so concretely? Why do these terms seem official to them?

 

From this I wonder (sober, even; go figure) if this thought process is more likely to be found within a religious or spiritual paradigm that believes heavily in the creation of destinies by a higher power. Do people who think this way believe that these categories exist through wilful intentions of a metaphysical source and our duty is to unlock them to find the truth, as only one word can be correct? If so, do people feel spiritual reward when finding it?

 

I am not religious and don't like using microlabels (as I find that subculture puts too much pressure on people to publicly prove themselves), so both elements are outside my direct experience. I'd like to hear from people who have either or both of these traits, to understand some of the possible ways they intersect.

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Sarah-Sylvia

I think a lot of people think of labels prescriptively because they havent fully understood the diversity of how humans can be. Humans look to put and be put in acceptable boxes because acceptance isn't widespread. It's obvious that lots aren't just looking for a label but validation.

 

I don't know of any link between that and spirituality right off the bat.. I believe in divinity, but I think it's better to use labels descriptively. I don't have the same kind of spirituality as someone religious though. I might think some categories can have some spiritual reason behind, but I think diversity is part of it so.. I probably don't think the same as being religious which I guess does have a little to do with believing  more specific things that might put more into certain categories, I guess? So maybe there's some kind of link, i dunno.
I do think there's a similar train of thought as far as believing the categories exist more absolutely, like believing in specific concepts when it comes to religion. So.. hmm maybe you actually saw a connection that can exist :P.

I think believing something or a category absolutely exists does help get past some of the self-doubt and low confidence people can have. So I think there's emotional reasons in general for it. Them's my thoughts for now :).

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Snaolent Night
3 minutes ago, Sarah-Sylvia said:

I think believing something or a category absolutely exists does help get past some of the self-doubt and low confidence people can have.

Yeah, that's very true, and I wonder if people who are drawn to religion for a similar reason (to feel like everything has a divine purpose because the notion of randomness puts them at unease) would see orientation labels this way.

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Blue eyes white dragon

It seems that people who seek out microlabels are seeking individually and being unique rather than using similar thought processes that religious people use because religious people tend to want everything and everyone to think the same and be the same as they view their ideas as the only right way

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WhiteCatandcherries

I am an atheist and don't believe in fate. I like the ageosexual label because at a time where I really didn't understand what sexual attraction was supposed to be and thus was not really sure if I was asexual or not (also I didn't know the standpoints and opinions I have regarding asexuality now) - I read a description of that label and was like "that's me!". And I think they can give similar experiences to people: asexuality is very broad label in the sense that we are a lot of people with different experiences fitting under it and sometimes it's nice to be able to go "I relate to that particular experience".

Also all labels regardless of micro or macro for me just gives a feeling of clarity and identity. I agree that it isn't something other people can really asign you (at least you have to think it beyond people's suggestions) but having done that introspection I think adds something valuable to my life and it's nice to be able to set words to it and find a community to engage with.

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Snaolent Night
8 minutes ago, Blue eyes white dragon said:

It seems that people who seek out microlabels are seeking individually and being unique rather than using similar thought processes that religious people use because religious people tend to want everything and everyone to think the same and be the same as they view their ideas as the only right way

There are definitely churches like that, for sure. This overlap would be limited to less culturally strict belief systems that still emphasize fate, destiny, divine design, etc. Religiosity or spirituality likely isn't the origin of this disposition towards definite answers like this, anyway, as that's just a trait a lot of people have that might guide them towards certain pursuits or ways of thinking.

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Troll in the dungeon

I want to do research on how people feel attraction. 

 

If only fate existed.... and I knew mine....

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Deltalorian

The flying Spaghetti monster hands out microlabels at conception. I thought this was well known.

 

...wait, is this a serious thread? Um my previous statement stands.

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Lord Revan
Just now, Deltalorian said:

The flying Spaghetti monster hands out microlabels at conception. I thought this was well known.

 

...wait, is this a serious thread? Um my previous statement stands.

Pretty sure that Cthulhu does too

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Rockblossom

I think it may be simpler.  If there is a "label" for something, then there must be others who fit that label or there wouldn't be one.  Not only is there a: "Wow! That's me!" reaction, but there's also the:  "Wow! There are other people like me!"  feeling of relief.  

 

I can't really speak to religion.  I sometimes call myself a Pastafarian if only to have a reason for my unusually large collection of colorful colanders.

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Dominus Temporis
6 minutes ago, Lord Revan said:

Pretty sure that Cthulhu does too

The flying teapot does the same

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Lord Revan
Just now, Dominus Temporis said:

The flying teapot does the same

And the Invisible Pink Unicorn

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Snaolent Night
10 minutes ago, Deltalorian said:

...wait, is this a serious thread? Um my previous statement stands.

It's a serious thought, but not a serious thread. Shitpost away, comrade!

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Lord Revan
1 minute ago, Snao Cone said:

It's a serious thought, but not a serious thread. Shitpost away, comrade!

Thanks mate !

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Mean Tetus

Depending on the person, they might not agree that words are made up. More than one religious tradition involves the passing down of words from deities in a direct, revelatory manner. Others hold that particular words have magical and/or spiritual significance.

 

In fact, in almost every magical tradition, names have a special power: the name IS the thing in a way, so to name something is to invoke it and to exhibit some degree of control over it. This concept is widely held, as can be seen in taboos around using the name of a god, or invoking the name of a god in a careless manner, in addition to the more obvious examples of spellcasting, spirit calling, and binding.

 

Magical thinking is built into human nature as part of a highly overtuned pattern recognition mechanism: great for solving problems and learning, excellent for intuitive leaps, and also causes us to think that we see faces in shadows, hear voices on the wind, and that our thoughts and words affect the world around us in immediate, material ways. So I think you've kind of hit the nail on the head in that it's the same kind of thought process: that there are specific words or concepts that possess a quality of truth or meaning beyond just kind of doing our best to get an idea out of one person's head and into another's.

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Guest Queerdo
2 hours ago, Snao Cone said:

From this I wonder (sober, even; go figure) if this thought process is more likely to be found within a religious or spiritual paradigm that believes heavily in the creation of destinies by a higher power. Do people who think this way believe that these categories exist through wilful intentions of a metaphysical source and our duty is to unlock them to find the truth, as only one word can be correct? If so, do people feel spiritual reward when finding it?

 

I like this connection, but I see it a bit differently.

 

A positive use of labels within religious communities is to enable people who share similar perspectives to find each other. I'm a Unitarian Universalist dharmic and pantheist. The church down the street is Korean Methodist. A few miles away, there's a Zen group, a Catholic Cathedral, and one of the oldest Jewish congregations in North America. Using a microlabel allows for people who have a common language, culture, ideals, and ceremonial structure to find each other and build community spaces, activities, and events. And those distinctions are rarely just one dimension. 

 

There's a lot of context involved, since language and identity are dynamically negotiated. There's also rarely a single theory to explain all of these distinctions. People can disagree on the boundaries of categories. 

 

But there are other churches in town that use labels in a negative way, as a fundamental distinction that separates the sheep from the goats so to speak. And that's where people run into trouble with microlabels, when you're not just labeling yourself but you're using personal identification with a label as a litmus test for other people's beliefs or relationships. "We have the correct interpretation, they do not." "We are progressive, they are not." That's where a lot of the tensions around microlabels come from. Too many adoptees turn right around, insist that other people adopt the same words, and use that as a political or moral litmus test. 

 

I do think that some microlabels are driven by a rather naive reductive essentialism, that sexual preferences can be mapped to specific personality traits or physical brain wiring rather than the sum of experiences imposed on an incredibly plastic and multi-processing organ that thinks it's thinking. 

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Snaolent Night
14 minutes ago, Epic Tetus said:

Depending on the person, they might not agree that words are made up. More than one religious tradition involves the passing down of words from deities in a direct, revelatory manner. Others hold that particular words have magical and/or spiritual significance.

 

In fact, in almost every magical tradition, names have a special power: the name IS the thing in a way, so to name something is to invoke it and to exhibit some degree of control over it. This concept is widely held, as can be seen in taboos around using the name of a god, or invoking the name of a god in a careless manner, in addition to the more obvious examples of spellcasting, spirit calling, and binding.

Yeah, I was thinking about this a lot before posting this thread. I am a neurodiverse atheist leftist with an education in sociology; I clearly have the background to question the objective reality of language and how society is built around it, while still observing the power of it. 

 

Different cultures have different naming traditions, so some people will change names as they grow into themselves, based on the roles they're deemed to fit in their culture. We frown upon changing names in Western cultures (unless you become the property spouse of someone else, traditionally speaking) but that's far from a universal value. Some people might believe that finding our name and finding our purpose are the same journey, and microlabels might be seen the same way by some perspectives.

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Guest Queerdo

I do think there's a lot of cultural and political reasons why we spend more time justifying words for every way sexuality can be experienced, as opposed to Ska music. 

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SilenceRadio

I'd be interested in how you define "microlabel", especially since some of the things you've said could apply to much "broader" labels. ("Am I asexual" threads exist, after all, and most people don't consider asexual a "microlabel")

 

This reminds me of the subject of "fatalism" that was brought up in the CIM/Essentialism thread a year ago. And I remember thinking a lot about gods and destinies when first questioning my (a)sexuality, so perhaps you're unto something.

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Snaolent Night
1 hour ago, Guest Queerdo said:

I do think there's a lot of cultural and political reasons why we spend more time justifying words for every way sexuality can be experienced, as opposed to Ska music

This made me laugh really hard for some reason.

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Snaolent Night
1 hour ago, SilenceRadio said:

I'd be interested in how you define "microlabel", especially since some of the things you've said could apply to much "broader" labels. ("Am I asexual" threads exist, after all, and most people don't consider asexual a "microlabel")

Asexual is a broader label, as are grey- and demi-, imo. (The same applies to -romantic, though orientationalizing other elements of attraction is more like the microlabels I'm referring to, eg specifying aesthetic tastes as an orientation unto itself.) Things like cupio- and fray- are sort of fuzzy on this, as they come from broader concepts but wouldn't be relevant in everyday conversation. I would hide under my desk if a colleague asked me what those are, while I could very simply describe a-, grey-, or demi- without changing the tone of the conversation.

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everywhere and nowhere

I am a spiritual person, but I think that if there's any link between my approach to spirituality and my approach to microlabels, it goes in the opposite direction than what you suggest. I once wrote that "for me diversity is a theological issue". An idea which obviously isn't fully original, isn't only mine, but yet feels convincing to me: the complexity of the world so much exceeds what would seem enough for its existence and functioning, that a plausible interpretation is that of Someone who wanted it to exist in all its splendour and eeriness and ungraspability. Which, in turn, leads me to the conclusion - in the area of social life - that experience is always greater than any labels me might try to pin on it. So I don't like microlabels very much because of my conviction that diversity of human experience will anyway surpass any attempts at categorising it, and this conviction always has a spiritual aspect for me.

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SilenceRadio
6 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

Asexual is a broader label, as are grey- and demi-, imo.

So is the intent behind "am I asexual" threads and "am I [microlabel]" ones the same?

 

3 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

I would hide under my desk if a colleague asked me what those are, while I could very simply describe a-, grey-, or demi- without changing the tone of the conversation.

So social ostracization marks the boundary between "microlabels" and "broader labels"? :P Though more seriously, I wonder why "demisexual" is fair game and "fraysexual" is not when they're often conceptualized as opposites (demi is attraction appearing after a strong bond and fray is attraction disappearing after one). Is it because "demisexual" is much more common knowledge than "fraysexual"? Is it that "demi" as a prefix is more intuitive than "fray"? If so, what makes "gray" necessarily a more intuitive prefix? If "fraysexual" was in the AVEN FAQ, would it change anything? And would objectum orientations be considered "microlabels" despite not falling under any sort of umbrella?

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Mezmerising

In the realm of science, I always try to understand everything and classify things for easier framing in the context of the world. This also seemingly gives me comfort, when I can say that *this* fits to the family of *that*. So in emotions (and alike), that are not as point blank as  x happens always when y happens, having smaller and more confined labels to explain something, as in subgroups under umbrella terms, can easier show the variety and spectrum of it while allowing for group classification. Thus pointing towards an actual spectrum while still allowing for the comfort of groups if that makes sense.

For example the color pallet can be segmented in to different groups,all the way down to an RGB value or hex code, each 'color' having a precise label. This allows to pick basically the exact color needed for a project, even if slightly different colors could work too. For microlabels, this can be seen almost the same. If someone needs for their comfort to know exactly what they are, they can pick a microlabel with the digits they need. Anyone not so choosy might decide 'green' is enough. But I think this can be either way regardless of spirituality.

More likely this is based strongly on the emotional state of someone on the discovery journey. If just interested in what is out there but already know kinda what they are, a more general label can be enough. Someone not feeling valid by their environment might just see 'asexuality' and being relieved there, no need currently for more data. Maybe they are feeling sort of ace and allo, then, if not satisfied knowing that asexuality exists, it might go more into the interest side of things and find demi or fray.

 

Interested however if smaller groups (e.g. microlabels inside of spirituality of groups) in spirituality might behave one way, while other differently, leading to a neutral result in spirituality over all, or more heavily in direction.

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5 hours ago, Rockblossom said:

I think it may be simpler.  If there is a "label" for something, then there must be others who fit that label or there wouldn't be one.  Not only is there a: "Wow! That's me!" reaction, but there's also the:  "Wow! There are other people like me!"  feeling of relief.  

 

I think that is the case -- safety in numbers, along with your particular crowd standing out from the larger crowd.  So both safety and rebellion nicely tied up in a label.  

 

I'm part of a discrete religion, but one which is just as much a people as a theology.  My religion contains multitudes; only in the fundamentalist far end are we required to adhere to a belief.  Thus I am a religionist who is not seeking the comfort of a label that is highly specific, and that extends to my orientation.  I'm fine with "romantic asexual", now considered to be sloppily general, it seems.  

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Snaolent Night
2 hours ago, SilenceRadio said:

So is the intent behind "am I asexual" threads and "am I [microlabel]" ones the same?

Sorry, I don't think I understand this. Do you mean the intent of the posters of those threads? Why am I responsible for that? Or do you mean whether they equally come across as looking for a definite answer like God's plan for absolute truth? I think the broader terms seem less like asking for that definitive destiny type feeling. 

 

2 hours ago, SilenceRadio said:

So social ostracization marks the boundary between "microlabels" and "broader labels"? :P Though more seriously, I wonder why "demisexual" is fair game and "fraysexual" is not when they're often conceptualized as opposites (demi is attraction appearing after a strong bond and fray is attraction disappearing after one). Is it because "demisexual" is much more common knowledge than "fraysexual"? Is it that "demi" as a prefix is more intuitive than "fray"? If so, what makes "gray" necessarily a more intuitive prefix? If "fraysexual" was in the AVEN FAQ, would it change anything? And would objectum orientations be considered "microlabels" despite not falling under any sort of umbrella?

The cupio and fray factors are more about why it's at all relevant to everyday conversation. The boundary for that varies from person to person, but I think a lot of it comes down to what will help the people around you understand your life sitch. They're grey-microlabels. :P

 

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Sarah-Sylvia

I don't see a huge difference between umbrella labels and microlabels. Both can describe someone's experiences. It's just micro-labels can be looking deeper than might be necessary (and most people don't know them). Some people want all parts explained. They can be useful to connect with others who feel the same but Asexuality too is not some magical box - it just describes a certain range of experiences.

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SilenceRadio
Just now, Snao Cone said:

Sorry, I don't think I understand this. Do you mean the intent of the posters of those threads? Why am I responsible for that? Or do you mean whether they equally come across as looking for a definite answer like God's plan for absolute truth? I think the broader terms seem less like asking for that definitive destiny type feeling.

Yeah, I meant the bolded part.

 

Funnily, I'd say my experience has been mostly the opposite. I first rejected the possibility of being asexual because it didn't make sense for God to single me out and make me asexual out of everyone else (even if I pretty much lacked faith in any god... yeah I didn't make much sense back then). I imagined that there was no way to disprove that I was demisexual, and that I was fated to a miserable life. After seeing the big definition debate of last summer, I thought the "asexual" label was too "sacred", and that I would taint it if I used it, and so I identified as gray-a instead.

 

When I sought certain "microlabels" however, I did it as a way of escaping whatever the "truth" was. Some of the discussions around them made me understand that these labels are just words to describe certain experiences, and that certain frameworks aren't useful to certain people. It actually broke me away from the "destiny" framework.

 

20 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

The cupio and fray factors are more about why it's at all relevant to everyday conversation. The boundary for that varies from person to person, but I think a lot of it comes down to what will help the people around you understand your life sitch.

Are there many gray-as and/or demi folks who come out as gray/demi? I've heard that most gray-as will say that they're "kinda asexual" or that they identify with asexuality, and rarely will they ever say they're gray/demi.

 

From what I've seen, plenty of ace "microlabels" are based on either intersections, or things that are sometimes considered to "disqualify" one from being asexual. For example, "caedsexual" is about trauma and the fraught debate around whether one can "become" asexual or not. "Anegosexual", like @WhiteCatandcherries said, can help certain asexuals feel like they can be asexual despite certain sexual experiences. There's also a lot of discussions regarding the link between asexuality and autism, and that's why you get ace labels that can exclusively be used by neurodivergent people, or labels about how one is unsure about whether one's ace or not because of intrusive thoughts (since that gets invalidated sometimes). "Cupiosexual" gets often criticized not because it treats aces who desire sex as a fundamentally different group, but because it assumes that these people are ace. I've seen people talking about how they're being pushed in the gray area and therefore feeling like they have to identify with all these "microlabels" when in reality, they'd prefer identifying as just "asexual". But because of certain community norms, they don't feel like they can.

 

While I obviously don't think it explains everything about "microlabels", I think that might apply to quite a few people. You've wondered if the "microlabel" categories are considered as "concrete", "official" "truths", but maybe the question that should be asked instead is whether asexuality, as a label, is the one that's considered "concrete", while the "microlabels" are merely descriptions for those who feel they are not solidly asexual despite wanting to be (or, alternatively, people who didn't think they could be asexual, but now feel they can be thanks to specific labels that act as "qualifiers").

 

20 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

They're grey-microlabels. :P

Let's not make microlabels about microlabelling. :P

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Muffin123

"Wlw" is a term that applies to women that are attracted to other women. That includes bisexual women, pansexual women and lesbians.

 

They all have that one thing in common, they can all relate to that, and you can use wlw if you are not sure what fits you the most. But no one would think it would be a good idea to call yourself bisexual if you, as a woman, are not attracted to men and viceversa. 

 

How is this any different? 

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