I think clones would be the only thing where you could argue that they're not unique... in terms of the gentic makeup. I think each and everyone one of us is different in some way, and as many similarities there are, there will also always be differences and the interaction between those two. I once used to think being 'unique' was a bad thing, b/c it was different from the norm, but that's not necessarily true. Then again, there is nothing worse than telling a child who wants to fit in that she's 'unique'. My point is, I'd rather be unique than be someone who is exactly like someone else, b/c only when you really are yourself inside and out can all of you shine through- making up your own 'unique' personality etc. I guess it depends on the context that you use 'being unique'.
Perhaps society should stop trying to pigeon-hole people - you can't put people into these square boxes - people tend to be round in shape with curves. Society might have change its ideas - accept people for what they are - not what society thinks they should be.
Same goes for parents in their expectation of their children too.
I wish it could be that way. Unfortunately, we humans are prone to categories and definitions. Some people use categories out of fear while others might use them to organize ideas in their mind. I think one important part to this issue is how we define and categorize ourselves. If we define/categorize ourselves according to the opinions of others, we open ourselves up to skewed definitions and miscategories. We must learn to create our own sense of who we are and then the pigeon holes are meaningless to us. This is not to say someone won't try to pigeon hole us but it is no longer a major issue as we know our own definitions and categories. (Our definitions need to be based upon our knowledge and awareness of ourselves but not the unfair judgments we have learned from those in our lives.)
I really must get Suzy to join this - I'm not in her league and this is right up her street. She says she would take this a stage further. She is studying Philosophy and Ethics of Mind and Mental Health and she is going to investigate the philosophy of diagnosis and its impact on the individual - now there is pigeon-holing if you are looking for it! And that is from the voice of one who knows first hand.
I don't know if it is reasonable to expect a societal change. There will always be pegeon holes, catagories, and generalizations out there, and in some cases they are necessary. BUT...it doesn't mean that an individual MUST belong to a particular catagory just because society placed them there. It's more a matter of "what makes sense to the society" as opposed to "it is what society says it is".
We can't control the masses, but we can control ourselves and how we react and deal with societal quirks. And somewhere in there, a change is born where people realize that the only "hole" that exists, is the one they put themselves into.
In most cases, diagnosis is simply a short-hand way of communicating to others a set of symptoms, symptom severity, and prognosis. Most practitioners I know don't use it on a day-to-day basis. Even when it is used, it is understood by most professionals that it is somewhat fluid. For example, if you look at hospital records, typically you will see such terms as "admission diagnosis", "working diagnosis", "discharge diagnosis" -- this reflects the fact that at a particular point in time the primary practitioner is proceeding on the hypothesis that the patient is suffereing from a particular disorder or set of disorders (the multiaxial format of current versions of the disagnostic manual allows for multiple diagnoses) but that the "diagnosis" may well change over time as more information is obtained and as the practitioner has more time to observe the patient and his/her response to treatment.
I agree with David. The diagnosis is not the focus for therapy but the means of focusing the framework of therapy.
Isn't it interesting how we humans are when it comes to classifying. JJ you said, "Diagnosis and its impact on the individual - now there is pigeon-holing if you are looking for it!" Is that not doing the same in which you are against? Diagnoses are like all words...they have no more power than that which we lend them. I never look at a person as "The diagnosis" but I look at them as a person.
She has been fortunate that the the people involved in her care saw her as her but there are others who have not been so fortunate.
Re labelling we have a family friend who was diagnosised with schizophrenia when he was 18 - now aged 35 he still seeks further consultants who will change the label. Suzy eventually asked him if he would feel better if it was called an ingrowing toenail! If he was he should realise the name may have changed but he would still have the same symptoms - so at last he is understanding that that is what he needs to focus on and deal with
She has the view (based on personal experience) that just as a person 'grows' the symptoms perhaps even evolve.
As you will gather I am no academic and have a rather simplistic approach to all this.
Certainly on being unique - I've yet to meet anyone who has an identical response to anything - be it physcial or mental - and that includes the identical twins I grew up with.
I have found that if I define myself (all of the different roles I fulfill) I take away the power of other people's definitions of me. Other people's words are only other people's words based upon their experience not mine. So their definitions do not fit me or have value. Ownership. I don't have to own what other's might think of me. Take care,
I think that categorization is a human survival mechanism and it can be used to one's advantage. However, it's best used to your advantage as long as you realize that the categories are only concepts. Just like the idea of a second or a minute or an hour in time is man made - just concepts. Some categorizations or diagnoses are made by many people who have studied symptoms and characteristics for a long time, and it's possible to use these ideas to help people. However, concepts are not static or the ultimate truths. They're dynamic and also relevant. They should be used as aids, and simply that - I think.
People are prone to take certain concepts as ultimate truths, but it has been shown that when people can change their concepts or paradigms they can bring about great change in themselves. I believe that's what psychological therapy is supposed to help someone do.
As to answer the original question - Is everyone unique? In many ways yes. I believe that we must be open and flexible to everyone's uniqueness. At the same time, I think this can be best achieved when we view everyone as being human beings with the same basic needs and desires.