As I wait for final decisions on my doctoral candidacy and employment applications, I have been spending my days to read and write. Both my academic trainings and work experiences have exposed me to a wide range of environmental topics, however, none of which has penetrated to a depth where I can proudly label myself as an expert.

While a label in and of itself does not really make too much of a difference, and may even fall subject to mockery as being superficial. Action speaks louder than word, or does it? Let’s be real. Today’s society operates, unfortunately, more on connection and cash than meritocracy. Leaders give birth to “leaders,” university educators educate a lineage of “academicians,” and even the religious leaders’ recognize their kids as reincarnations of some sort. Consequently, a label is more often than not more important, at least for one’s entrance ticket, than actual knowledge.

The commodification of labels is no longer rare, and the inflation of one’s record is only a part of the social trend. Everyone, in today’s society, is an innovator. In 2010, the word innovative is one of the most overused buzzwords, only surpassed by “extensive experience.” In other words, the unreasoned emphasis on and measures against these labels as means to categorize people into different ability quadrants have led to label trade and piracy. However, neither trade, nor piracy carries much substance. On the contrary, such social yardstick, socially accepted, but morally corrosive, will only serve as a catalyst to further erode what is already a shaky social structure.

A, or a bunch of, label[s] has become the entrance ticket[s] to opportunities ranking right behind cash and connection. However, as more and more people buy rather than gain higher labels, the pursuance of these labels has become costlier and often results in no long-term paybacks guaranteed any more than the ones purchased.

A label can only say so much about a person that it is time to evaluate individuals against their deliverable capabilities and lived experiences rather than labels they purchase or pirate.

30/11/12 Tupgon T.