Living catalog(ue)

The past several days have presented me with a variety of events that have me thinking categorically: reading blogs of friends and others of professional connections (obviously with different ends as well as means for interpreting); seeing Fred’s citizenship card arrive, which leads to such tracings as passport application (and brings up the subject of what allegiances he can and will have across the future).

At the same time, I had to create several paragraphs describing how to interpret a bibliographic record, which is probably why cataloguing seeped up to the front of my consciousness.  And I unpacked a box of new books from Comic Relief and had to get them to the “right” shelves.

Aristotle declared justification for the chicken and egg question having a particular solution (for him the chicken, the actual, precedes the egg, which is “merely” potential). I remain unconvinced:  are the categories that order my thinking shaping my thinking so intrinsically that, given different categories, my thoughts would be substantively different? If Fred’s progress to official recognition in Canada had been merely  by the same route as mine is taking, would I think about his accidental birthright as a Canadian?  I can’t imagine so. But having that thought presented, I then move along its suggested path, marked by such terms as “identity,” “state,” and “birthright.”

And i give thanks that I am not a cataloguer and think in such terms only once in a while….. Otherwise, I’d never actually move from thought to action.


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