Sunday, July 29, 2007

Judge Not???

These days everyone emphasizes that you should not make judgments or criticize anyone's actions and we are ‘judgmental’ if we find something that, we god forbid, pronounce any judgment on, silent or otherwise. We should mind our own business and judge not lest we be judged.

If I see something and make a judgment about it, does that imply that I think I’m more virtuous than the other person? Or I have less compassion? Or that I don’t understand the complexities of life and that there are no black and whites just shades of grey? Or that I won’t make the same judgment on myself? Or that I think I'm not capable of making that mistake myself?

I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s true…

Leaving out the whole debate of right and wrong being relative there are things that we see which are blatantly wrong because you know those are actions that will lead to consequences that will hurt innocent people unnecessarily. There do exist some actions that are reprehensible from any point of view. On the level of plain decency, on the levels of friendship, on the levels of personal trust.

The word ‘morals’ is actually derived from the Latin word; ‘mores’ meaning customs so can be used for men’s customary ways of judging conduct. If there exist cultures that appreciate innocent people getting hurt and lifelong friendships being betrayed, I don’t know them.

Forget ethics, forget religion, somethings are wrong on the deepest level of humanity. There are some actions that you don't care so much about the 'right', 'wrong', 'morality' or 'immorality' of them, you just shudder at the disrespect of another human being that it causes and you just pray to God that it doesn't happen to you or you don't cause it to others.

So go ahead judge me for being judgmental...


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Like it or not, we all make a judgement of sorts throughout the day in the actions we take.

paisley said...

i agree whole heartedly with jean... we are all judgmental fools... even if we don't act on them or state them publicly,, our own judgments are often the first word on any subject...

Random Magus said...

But why is it wrong to be judgmental? If something strikes you as really wrong why should someone else call you judgmental or for that matter why should you even blame yourself for being judgmental. You are not telling the people whose behaviour you made a judgment on, neither are you broadcasting it, but you still have the right to have an opinion about it right?

Ingrid said...

I can't speak for other people, but I will tell how how I see this issue.

Yes, it is inevitable. We all make judgments of one kind of other. And that is a good thing, otherwise thieves and murderers and child molesters would walk around unpunished. There are certain things that are not subject to opinion or personal taste.

But there are some people who walk through life with a very strict and inflexible code, and judge people on the smallest, most inconsequential things. If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, you're judged; if you don't go to the same church they do, you're judged; if you dress a certain way, you are judged. Those are the people I find judgmental.

We all have opinions, of course. In my twenties I had strong opinions about other people's actions and tastes that were a lot stronger than they are now that I am in my late thirties. Maybe it is true that we mellow out a little as we get older.

Micki said...

I admire you for it. My cyclical thinking hinders my judgement, so I have a tendency to reserve it. It isn't wrong to be judgemental. It means that you have formed an opinion, in certain terms, and have confidence in how you formed them without confusion. The tricky part is knowing when to exercise that particular judgement and when to keep it quiet.

HollyGL said...

Absolutely, Random. I think its impossible not to judge at some level - all the time. Its like a knee jerk reaction based on our experiences and conditioning.

Whether we then go back and reconsider our initial judgment for whatever reason, it was there; it existed. Also, if someone is saying you are judgmental, aren't they themselves placing a judgment on you?

Just like Jean and Paisley said, it is something we ALL do, whether we are willing to admit it or not. I think its just part and parcel of our human psychology.

Great topic as usual! :)

meleah rebeccah said...

yes Amber. you said this so perfectly. Everyone judges everyone else in same way shape or form.

"Wolfgang" said...

Excellent post! You see, even in my post about not judging others so quickly, I was judging that as being wrong.

I also agree that there are morally reprehensible things and things that just disturb us enough that a judgement is a natural response. The danger occurs when we begin judging others for things that are not wrong, or evil, or morally reprehensible, but just for things that are acceptable, but we just wouldn't do them or say them. An example would be reading certain books or practicing our religious beliefs.

Random Magus said...

Ingrid: I get what you're saying, but everything in this day gets taken to extremes some have judgments on everything is wrong or some don't want to call anything wrong.

micki: Well my husband is there to help with the tricky part... but the whole point is when should we stay quiet? He's totally nonjudgmental to a great extent so am I but there are somethings that I feel we should have a judgment on.

HollyGL: I was actually told by hubby to keep my nose out of some things I had witnessed and that kind of made this entire topic rife in my head. When should we stay quiet and when should we speak up.

Random Magus said...

meleah: I reprimand myself if I find myself jumping to stupid conclusions and make an actual effort not to judge anyone BUT sometimes there are some lines that people should just not cross

"Wolfgang": I totally agree with what you're saying some people have an opinion on everything and that's is just a desire for everyone to conform to their rules. But there are certain things which if we don't find wrong then well... I don't want to be that person

Ingrid said...

"Ingrid: I get what you're saying, but everything in this day gets taken to extremes some have judgments on everything is wrong or some don't want to call anything wrong."

Very true. Neither extreme is good. It's hard, though, figuring out when to speak up and when to let things slide. And if we speak, how do we approach people? Do we argue or do we try to appeal to them?

Some people's (non)parenting styles really get on my nerves, for example. But I usually don't say anything because I am really not big on confrontation. That is, unless their (in)actions affect me or my family, in which case the lioness comes out.

the domestic minx said...

Judge me too...

I make a judgement each day based on what I know, fundamentally, to be right or wrong...

Micki said...

Amber - My "friend" should stay quiet when she tells me that I am a weak disciplinarian to my son because she has never met my son. She doesn't know his character.
I won't stay quiet about the fact that I believe released sex offenders should continue to have their whereabouts monitored and announced.
It's all subjective, but people can't be fixed. Certain situations can be improved.

HollyGL said...

Hmm. I think it depends on the situation, the relationship, and the behavior being judged. I hate to have to qualify it so much, but... those would be the factors that would influence my speaking up or keeping quiet.

Also, we have to be prepared for not only resistance to our speaking up, but the fact, and unfortunate liklihood, that it may make no difference whatsoever.

Peter Haslam said...

People call you judgemental when you take action and they want to sit on the sidelines just talking. I dislike the word judgement as it implies a punishment to be personally handed out. Whenever an action disrespects the rights of an individual I consider that to be morally wrong. My actions would be based on that and within a moral framework. Perhaps someone else would consider that judgemental.

Bobby Revell said...

Amber, this is just what I needed to read right at this moment:)

Titania Starlight said...

Well said. No getting around it we have to judge. Nothing wrong in it but that is my opinion. Do you think the stigma attached to being judgemental stems from religious beliefs? I think so and being too damn politically correct. What ever happened to being judgmental along with common sense?

Awesome post.

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

Everyone is judgmental. It is human nature. It is the very act of judging that puts people in prison every day. I think the point of "Judge Not, lest ye be judged", is simply to make us aware that we are not so perfect ourselves and sometimes we forget to look a little deeper before we make that judgment. For example a 300lb person who judges the "smoker" should probably stop and think about her food addiction before being so quick to judge.
I don't think it's wrong to be judgmental - it's how we change things for the better. But when it comes to personal judging then maybe we could try walking in that persons shoes before condemning them.

Anonymous said...

Basically....all humans are judgemental by nature...saying it is wrong to judge...well... people won't stop judging..guess the next step is to know when to keep those judgements to urself and when to let it all out!

Greg said...

"Leaving out the whole debate of right and wrong being relative ..."

You're leaving this out in order to claim that there are objective truths. In this case you are claiming objective morality for "special" cases. I disagree that there can be something that will always be seen as wrong by all people. Maybe you are just exaggerating, but there will always be a case where someone can and will say there is no moral problem with any particular action.

Morality and ethics are really just a codified set of rules for other people to follow. If they were personal standards there would be no reason to tell others about them. It's population control.

Feel free to give me a specific action that you find wrong in all cases and I'm sure I can give a different viewpoint on it. That, said, I agree that a lot of people will probably agree with you on your specific case.

The manner in which our brains functions demand that we associate every new piece of information with something we already “know”. If we know morality (which most people do in some form) then we make associations with our knowledge of morality and these associations are called judgments.

You're really just asking, I think, when to say something or when to shut up. Whatever floats your boat. You do have to live with your husband, so it's probably a good idea to consider his opinion. And it's probably a good idea that he consider yours.

Saving a drowning baby may cause you to loose your own. Knowing as much as possible before you act is often good. But sometimes good can only come from acting before you know everything.

You’re asking questions that only you can answer. I can give you my answers, but they are only answers to my questions in my life; they won’t be your answers. Answers are easy and everywhere. What is important is what you choose to question.

Random Magus said...

As a rule I try to stay out of people business - I don't ask questions I don't know which ones to ask and which ones would be too personal. That said, sometimes without it being your intention you chance upon things that you can't help but have an opinion on

the domestic minx:
There are things that I am judgmental about and then if I do them myself I judge myself as harshly as well. So its no double standard

Exactly and if no one speaks up then who will stand up for them?

Thank God that option of speaking up has been decided on, I have decided not to but in but I still reserve the right to have my judgment on it.

Peter Haslam:
Thank you, you have put it really well. It's easy always not to do anything especially if you don't want any life to be ruined because of you.

Bobby Revel:
It helped realize somethings about myself- this exercise

Random Magus said...

Titania Starlight:
I couldn't elaborate upon this post otherwise it would be clear that there are actions that are wrong on an interpersonal level and would be wrong if anyone human being did to the other irrespective of religion.

insanity-suits-me (Dawn):
You are absolutely correct and at least for being being judgmental about anything makes do the self analysis exercise on myself very thoroughly.

Exactly - but these days if you have any sort of inclination to have any standard by which you judge yourself or others you're labeled immediately

I was leaving out the debate because I didn't want to emphasize on the relative morality of actions from the point of view of either religion or ethics, but when we share this planet as human beings we have certain rights and duties towards each other especially when we in personal relations, we have some obligations and some lines - one of the most important ones being respect. Nobody is saying that one has to be perfect and never cross any lines but there are occasions when doing something is really thoughtless and plain horrible. I don't mind there being people who have no moral problem with any particular action - I just don't want to be that person myself!

Epimenides said...

I quite agree with you there random! There are some things that are plain wrong for all humans alike!

Greg said...

Those "things" are only horrible or wrong from your given individual perspectives. They are wrong because someone taught you they are wrong.

It is only wrong if the individual believes it to be wrong. There are people that have no issue with walking up to another and punching that person in the face for no reason. And they have no issue with doing so. I could judge them from my standard and say they are wrong or right, but it may not be wrong or right for that person.

The idea that what is right for me or you must be right for all humanity is what causes wars and other destructive tendencies. It is easy to talk about rights and equality and democracy (even though it only sets people against each other), yet to extend these words to meaning is another thing entirely.

There is no question that for some, they feel that some actions are just wrong. Where do you draw the line? At what action? Killing? War? Drugs? Homosexuality? Heterosexuality? Free Speech?

I think when we start asking questions such as where to draw the line, we've already gone too far. There is no line because each of us are different.

Now if you want to take a different approach and say there are some actions that are detrimental to society as a whole, like random killing, then we are now talking about trade-offs, not objective standards.

Ricardo said...

I think it's a healthy thing to have some judgement on things but to use it as a bully pulpit to hurt and manipulate others is where I draw the line. There is taking a stand for what you believe in for the greater good of things and then there is being a hypocrite. I don't think you are doing the latter nor do I sense any superiority complex with you. It's natural for us to make judgements on everything through the course of the day. I think it's just how our minds work.

I do think that when one strips away religion and ethics there is still humanity and to have a sense of that is essential for treating others well and leading a good life. Ethincs and religion without a sense of humanity are not worth much in my opinon. A sense of humanity is a good compass to navigate through life. It will teach you respect, compasion, empathy and so much more.

Grace said...

I think it's refreshing to read that someone has convictions about 'absolutes' :)

For me, it helps to use different wording. I can make a judgement or a determination about something without being 'judgemental' in the least. I believe alot of it has to do with intention, and what the end result of that judgement is.

Pointing the finger at someone does have some temporary benefits. I try to keep that for very few instances (for example, I'm pretty vocal about my feelings about George Bush). And being a parent, I definitely have strong ideas about what is 'right' or 'wrong' for a child.

Too many times, the call to be non-judgemental is another form of Political Correctness :) I truly applaud you for standing up for what you believe in.

QUASAR9 said...

Our whole life is a series of judgement calls - tea or coffee
Black (or green tea) or with milk?

Even in our moral and emotional life, to tell or not to tell, that is the question.

But alas, I know where you are coming from - when we decry the pain of betrayal, yet we are ready to betray at the drop of a hat. And the cock crowed thrice.

And those who seek sympathy because of their terrible plight, yet are themselves cruel and ready to be just as violent if not worse.

But yes, if we pass judgement, it should be impartial, what we find wrong for one side should be wrong on all sides.
What we don't want done to Us, we should be unwilling to do to others
"Do unto others as you'd have done unto you"

But alas there is so much pain and misery (and suffering & sadness) in the world, that we seem hell bent in spreading it around, making sure eberyone gets a taste.

Sure - Not all the time, and not intentionally maybe. But "let he or she that is free of sin cast the first stone."

The Real Mother Hen said...

Boy I'm judgmental and don't feel guilty about it.

Mike French said...

You can't help but form judgments on people. To not to do so would be like me asking you to close your eyes and not think of Pink Elephants.

See them.

Yeah of course you do.

It's not wrong, no more than thinking that someone is boring is wrong. What is wrong is if you attack that person or gossip about them.

I find the best way to deal with judgements is to use them to learn something about myself.
I ask myself some questions.

Am I open to changing my mind?

Why did I make that judgment?

Have I swallowed some cultural conditioning or have blind spots that have led me to my judgement?

So don't stone the pink elephant, just ask it questions!

Anonymous said...

This whole discussion is based on the presupposition that judging others is wrong. Judgments are nothing more than opinions. The only reason anyone will ever attack you for being judgmental is that it suits them to either make you look bad or feel guilty. Somehow judging others has been branded as wrong in our society. Funny, that in itself is a judgment. The truth though is that we all constantly judge and if we didn't we wouldn't know who to trust and who to run away from. There's nothing at all wrong with it and it is in fact necessary to the continuation of life on Earth.

Your argument that certain actions are just plain wrong only holds up under our particular set of rules and beliefs. Some of the world's greatest accomplishments were achieved through actions that our modern society would consider barbaric, heinous, and flat out wrong. The only rule that really matters though is the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I used to know this old couple who's favorite thing to do was go to the mall and eat outrageously decadent pastries while quietly making fun of all the passers by. They were judgmental as all hell, but they were funny too. Sometimes nothing lifts the spirit more than putting down a stranger. ;) Anyway, they never hurt anyone's feelings or voiced their opinions very loud but they judged everybody, even the handicapped weren't spared. Of course they both eventually died horribly painful deaths. I mean brutal afflictions that you wouldn't wish on the bully that killed your puppy in 8th grade. It was almost like God was mad at them or something. Coincidence? Maybe, but it's a good story none the less.

Mark said...

Interesting thoughts! We all make judgements all of the time, this is true. We make these judgements based on many things. Is it right or wrong to judge? Are there absolute wrongs? Good questions, questions that we should explore further.
Thanks for making us think.
The key is this, when we live from a place of unconditional love, we simply love and we find that there is no room or time for judgement!

Random Magus said...

Epi: That's all I'm saying

Greg: But each of us can at least draw our own lines and try to stay within even if sometimes we do dance at the borders. No one is perfect we all do and judge according to things we process as too much. Maybe someone else won't find it wrong...which is okay too. For me there will always be a standard for things that are plain selfishly cruel to another person

Ricardo: I think whether we set a universal standard for what's right or wrong or we don't, there are things that the majority of us would find wrong or wince at - especially if it involves innocent people getting hurt through no fault of theirs.

Grace: But I didn't say anything I wanted to, I found it wrong, but sometimes the issue is so complicated and you don't want to be responsible for hurting an innocent.

Random Magus said...

Quasar9: Anything I make a judgment on , the first thing I do is try to put myself in the other person's shoes and honestly question if the circumstances were the same would I have done it differently and that kind of takes care of it. 'To tell or not to tell' is the worst question of all - it's a responsibility that ties itself around your neck whether you asked for it or not.

The Real Mother Hen:
I have a problematic relationship with guilt

Mike French: The elephant sometimes refuses to answer...

David: It certainly does show us who to trust...although I'll still hold on to the belief that certain things we find wrong are not because of any particular set of rules or beliefs just because we find it as wrong done to another human being

Mark: Absolutes are a funny thing aren't they. As all different religions would have different absolutes - but there should be some absolutes that apply to humanity outside of religion and caste or creed

Greg said...

I haven't actually argued against one person judging another. The only point I really argue against is when you say something like there are some things that are just wrong no matter what.

I agree with your last point that everyone will have their personal morality or guidelines, you have to in order to survive. Nothing wrong with that. You don't have to like everyone. In fact, you can hate everyone if you like. I'd say nothing wrong with that either.

It is only when you say that everyone should feel or respond in a particular manner that I take issue. But also keep in mind that in practice, I may say that a person is not wrong or right objectively, but if they interfere with my life, then I will create a conflict—again not because they are wrong or right, but because they conflict with my own objectives.

Josie Two Shoes said...

I totally agree with what you wrote here, Amber. I think the answer is to judge the action, not the person. Some things are just plain wrong, no ifs and or buts about it, but the person doing the deed still needs compassion and someone to help them see a new perspective, unless we believe that it is possible for a person to be irretrievably lost.

Loz said...

I think that in order to judge whether we are being fair in our judgements we need to understand that people act the way they do because of the cultural, historical and societal frameworks into which we are born. Farting in public may be perfectly acceptable in Monrovia, but not in Melbourne. Once we understand that, we also need to recognise that our own judgements are subject to the same factors of influence and it is therefore very difficult to consider some aspects of behaviour with any true objectivity. I do agree though that there are some behaviours that are totally unacceptable to most people, or should be - like child abuse for one thing.

E-Babe said...

I think people can sometimes confuse being judgemental with being discerning. If I pass a hitchhiker on the road and decide not to stop because I am fearful that he may kill me, did I judge him or was I being discerning?

Any why is it that the people who lecture us not to judge, but rather be "tolerant" the same ones that are NOT tolerant about people who are judgemental?

Jean Chia said...

judgement, assumption, opinions, what are the differences?

whatever it is, we are to be taken accountable for what we have said or did.

anyway,you've just been awarded. pls come collect your award at my place! :)

Zubli Zainordin said...

I have the right to do a judgment, directly relating to me. Yet, I prefer not to be judgmental of you. This is because when I am being judgmental of you, I define me, and not you. So, an act of sound judgment is totally different from any that is judgmentally good. (More at my blog page).

Jeff said...

I think the crux of it is that we must judge actions, but not so much the soul of those who acted. If someone else stated this, sorry for the re-run. But you have 40 bleeping comments here, you celebrity, you. ;)

Random Magus said...

Hey all sorry for the delay in replying I was hibernating!!!

I get your point - maybe something that is so outrageous to me might not be to someone else. Maybe in Utopia...

Josie Two Shoes:
You know when you put yourself in the shoes of the person doing what you see as wrong you can sort of understand but then you put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom the wrong is being done and then you can’t help but judge

To me a betrayal of trust is a severe wrong… especially when it’s done in a very shabby manner

You know I don’t mind others calling me judgmental but when people I’m close to me choose to make that ‘judgment’ about me I’m not okay with it.

Jean Chia:
Hey thank you – that’s got to be the cutest most individualistic award ever. I’m really touched!

Zubli Zainordin:
I don't mind if it's something that defines 'me' at all... if I’m not actively acting out on any judgment I have reached

It is the action I was judging not the person that much but sometimes it’s difficult to separate the two.

Michelle said...

I agree totally Random.

Isn't someone frowning upon you for being judgmental being judgemental themselves? :-\

Sorry I haven't been here much lately. Life has been crazy and busy and I've had so little online time. I'm getting withdrawal symptoms!

I've read several of your blog entries today, but I just don't have time to reply to them all so .. great writing, loved them, wish I could stay and chat longer.

Bobby said...

Hi Amber, I read a post:
Sometimes philosophical discussions get lost as we overcomplicate them by using the terminologies and viewpoints that philosophy itself is built from. There is something wrong with the morality of this world. We, as intelligent beings should simplify morality and separate it from a religious viewpoint. I see morality as a natural insight stemming from natural human intelligence. If a culture says killing gay people is right, and the people believed it I would think it must be in the early 14th century. Today, humans should know it is wrong. So, I say that morality is NOT relative. It is part of humankind's higher consciousness. When detailed nuance comes into this discussion, like when discussing a detailed case for example, morality becomes unclear and is not morality. Humankind is evolving I hope, to a point where most of us can agree on morality and know it is the natural essence of life itself and is not to be associated with multiple takes from endless religious viewpoints. These can be difficult subjects for all of us to agree on. The closer we get, the less killing, war and evil this world will have:) Have a wonderful week filled with hope and love!!!!!

Reality Niche This

Random Magus said...

That was beautifully said Bobby. I think the whole debate sometimes mistakenly gets centered around religions and cultures and the argument of innate verses learnt.
One would hope that mankind was evolving...bbut sometimes it seems like more of a hidden regression.