the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions
As people, we judge things everyday. We may look at a piece of fruit and judge whether is it still good to eat or not. When crossing a road, we may look at a car and judge its speed before establishing whether there is time to cross in front of it or not. There are thousands of examples in our everyday lives of judgement being used to our advantage. Most of the time we judge things in order to keep us safe – to prevent us from eating spoiled food or from getting hurt or injured for example.
Some of these judgements will be applied to our fellow humans.
Society is full of people telling us not to be judgemental, but we rely on this trait to keep ourselves and others safe. The important thing is to be able to identify the difference between judgements which are constructive and allow us to come to sensible conclusions, and those which are not, and do not.
A dishevelled gentleman approaches, smelling strongly of alcohol and who is unable to walk in a straight line. We can judge and make the reasoned conclusion that he is drunk. Following that, it’s reasonable to believe there is a chance he may react suddenly or sporadically, either scaring others or possibly harming them.
This is not guaranteed. It is also possible that he will pass by harmlessly. However the possibility that he could react negatively means that being cautious while walking by is a reasonable judgement to make. To not make this judgement could be careless and dangerous. The problem occurs when this expands.
We think we are better than this gentleman. We look down upon him. We make assumptions we cannot possibly back up; he’s an alcoholic. An unemployed drain on society. Vulgar, uncouth, foul mouthed, dangerous. A multitude of negative traits and factors.
This sort of judgement does not satisfy reason. It does nothing but boost our ego and fill our hearts and minds with bitter and unkind thoughts which may take root and grow into spiteful, horrible, bigoted beliefs.
It is this latter form of judgement that society could do without.
You do not know the drunken gentleman. He could be a CEO of a huge company. He could have been drinking because he’s celebrating something. He is walking home because he does not want to drink and drive, and lives fairly close by so does not want to get a taxi as he is concerned about keeping his carbon-footprint to a minimum. He’s conscientious. Caring. A man who volunteers to play Santa at children’s hospitals each Christmas and who makes regular charitable donations. A good, upstanding citizen.
Care to think again about your judgement?
Of course, this will not always be the case. Sometimes it will be an unemployed individual, who may be aggressive because of their alcohol consumption. But does this give you the right to judge him?
Why? Because you have no idea of his journey in life so far, which brought him to this point. You also do not know what the future may bring his, or your life. One day, you could be in his position. One day, he could be much better off than you are now.
Why do we seem to always see the negative in people? Looking for the positive is surely so much more rewarding a venture, for both their good, and your own mental outlook.
Think before you judge too far.