As habitual readers of this blog will know, human beings fascinate me, and not always in a positive fashion. Of late, I’ve been a spectator to human being’s need to judge (let’s face it, we’re all spectators to this as it’s utterly pervasive). It’s as kneejerk and intrinsic to us as breathing. Of late, I’ve seen how utterly hurtful and pointless it truly is and of course it compelled me to take a closer look at it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to judgment. And I will fully admit when I see a mother at 9:00 a.m. feeding her kid soda and potato chips at the bus stop, I feel my judgment pistons firing on full tilt. Of course, most of our need to judge comes from ego, as do most of our flaws (Oh Freud, I wish I could have you over for dinner). We sit on our individual human perches and cast out opinions and proclamations to validate our own choices, and place ourselves higher than another on the human totem pole. You see, EGO drives the human ship, it's plain and simple. (Gasp), “I would never give my son Coke at 9am, I am better than that, I'm a good parent damn it!”…Well, actually, I’d never do it cause Coke rots your teeth and it’s the driving force behind obesity rates, but you see what I’m getting at. It’s very hard for us as humans to keep our opinions to ourselves and not look at others and point out (even if it’s quietly in our heads) all the things they are doing wrong and how we’d do them differently. Cause even if we don't know the person, if we can convince ourselves we are doing right (and others wrong), there is a sense of comfort in that mere fact (or fallacy). Of course there is an exception to everything and some judgment does come down to a simple wrong or right; Charles Manson is going to be judged like it or not, and I’m thinking he’s pretty worthy of the criticism.
When it comes to judgment, as we all know, it’s a pretty pervasive beast. People are judged on what they wear, whom they love (we have spent decades wrapped up in this judgment, have we not?), their sexual orientation, if they eat meat, own a gun, don’t own a gun, vote Republican, how they parent (this is a big one nowadays). Hell, we judge people on their morning coffee if it strikes us: "are you seriously going to drink coffee with whipped cream on it?!" The fascinating part of the whole judgment thing is for most people who judge, they cannot stand to be judged themselves. Some claim they don’t care, but trust me, if the ‘wrong’ person is judging them, it will cause a seismic shift, I can assure you.
Like anything, there are also varying degrees of judgment. The little stuff I can handle. You don’t like my boots, so be it; you don’t have to wear them. I honestly could care less. You think I’m a Californian tofu eating, liberal, blogging wacko? Yes, you’re right on most counts (although wacko is so subjective). But you judge someone for their choices based on ignorance, bias or sheer stupidity without walking a mile in their shoes, oh then I’ll have something to say about it. That’s the most maddening thing about casting judgment upon people. For the most part people do it from a vantage point that is usually the polar opposite from those that they’re judging: the rich judging the poor, those with access to opportunities judging the disenfranchised. The societally accepted white heterosexual man judging the homosexual who just wants to get married and have equal rights like any other citizen. A man judging a woman's decisions on what to do with her own body. I could go on and on but there is seriously not enough to time to cover a list this long.
So I suppose this is for us all (myself included), the next time you feel like judging someone, ask yourself why? Is it to make yourself feel better, more accomplished? Is it to confirm all the choices you’ve made by comparison? Or is from a lack of understanding about the other person’s situation and need to inflict your principles upon those around you? Cause if so, it’s time to educate ourselves or keep our eyes on our own page (so to speak).
Happy Hump Day.