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a quote from Issola by Steven Brust that for some reason has been on my brain:

Categories, if you'll excuse a brief digression, are a useful way to get a handle on things you don't understand, as long as you don't get too attached to them and forget that things like to pop out of one cateogry and into another, and that sometimes the whole category turns itself inside out and becomes something different. It's useful, for example, to categorize your target as a sorcerer, if he is one; but if you get too attached to your category it'll leave you embarrassed when he suddenly pulls a knife on you.

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