Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Blog 27 - Judging

I was watching something on TV the other day, I forget what it was, but it had real people in so was either a documentary or reality tv.

One person said to the other "You're judging me!", and this grabbed the attention of the assembled bystanders. There was an almost visible intake of breath.

"I'm not judging you because I'd never do that. Ever", was the reply from the alleged judge. Correct answer apparantly. The bystanders relaxed. She was back in the game.

This seems to be a big thing from what I see these days, both myself, and increasingly in the teeny programmes my girls are starting to get into. Judging is a big no-no. Judge not lest thouself be judged.

This is of course, contrary to human nature. We judge EVERYTHING. From the unconscious like "How far do I have to hop so I don't splash in that puddle?", or "Can I make it before that light turns red?" to the more considered "Can we afford to buy a new car?", or "Can I drink one more pint and still make the last bus home?".

Why then is it considered bad form to judge people? I judge everyone. If you're reading this and you know me, I've made a judgement about you. I've probably made lots of judgements about you. And I'd be shocked to shit if you hadn't done the same about me. If you've made the effort to read this then you probably don't mind me as a person. Either that or you're planning to sue me and looking for ammunition amongst my paranoid ramblings. If so fill your boots, there's probably plenty to go on. But if you are one of those that don't mind me, you probably like some things about me, but could happily forego other aspects of what passes for my personality. You might find me devilishly attractive but at the same time think I have a grating sense of self-righteousness. You may think I'm kind but overbearing. We all have pro's and con's.

I think the idea about judging someone being a bad thing come from the notion that if you are judging someone you are setting yourself above them. "Who are you to judge me?" is the cry. But if you judge everyone based on the same criteria, regardless of who they are, then why should you not have an opinion? Regardless of whether it's a friend, or a politician, or a footballer or a boss at work, if a man, say, cheats on his wife I'll have the same opinion of him and his actions in that context. Equally, he may have other characteristics that I do approve of. After their wives kick them out, the friend may put her through a messy divorce and upset the kids, whereas the politician may come clean and spend all his time trying to win back his wife's trust (unlikely I know but work with me). Either way I'm still judging them on their actions. If my friend's actions really disappoint me, I may stop being his friend. I may judge that he is not the type of person that I want to be friends with. And yes, in this context, that would be because I think I'm better than him in some ways. Important ways. At least important to me.

When people say "Who are you to judge me?" what people are really saying is "Who are you to have an opinion of me that I don't like?". Nobody complains about being judged if someone says "In my opinion you are a lovely person". What they're almost certainly saying is "Please don't voice a judgement because it will paint me in a negative light as even I'm aware that I'm behaving badly". They infer that judgement is a bad thing because judgement will place the judge above them morally. But if that feeling of superiority is justified, that judgement is valid.

I judge people. I always have and always will. If you do something I don't like or don't agree with I may tell you.

"Who are you to judge me?" you may say.

I'm just me and it's just my opinion. You may not care about my opinion. If so, bravo.

But beware the person that squawks "Who are you to judge me?". They're probably behaving like an arse at the time.