Judgment is something that people have a really strange relationship with. Our days are filled with judgments—ones that we make upon the world, and ones that are made upon us. We are often afraid of judgment; we often feel the need to judge.
I have difficulty understanding why people make judgments about things or situations that have nothing to do with them. The only thing that I can think of is that it’s a matter of ego and a need to insert oneself into everything in order to feel involved.
Of course, I do it, too. I’m doing it right now, as I write this piece about how people judge people. But I try not to get too emotionally caught up in it. It just seems so strange to me when people get emotional and violent regarding something that has nothing to do with them. I will never understand why, for example, anybody could possibly get so disturbed and angry about the prospect of gay marriage. Perhaps the desire to suffer is so great that people feel the need to find things outside of their own life to feel bad and angry about, just so that they can suffer over it.
One of the strangest quirks of judgment is that it seems most extreme and prevalent within strongly religious communities. Perhaps I just don’t understand the idea of “judge not, lest ye be judged” and “let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” but it seems to me that it means that we ought not expend so much energy on judging others, because we ain’t exactly perfect ourselves.
I’m not religious, so I don’t believe that we will be judged in the afterlife, and I don’t find the judgment of others in this life to be that significant. So, it is not for fear of being judged that I think that judging should be avoided or minimized. I feel that the reason for minimizing judgments made upon others and upon the world is that it only brings us unnecessary pain. Feeling disgusted and hating others is such an exhausting and negative thing to have to deal with. It’s as if people can’t stand to just enjoy their lives or deal with their own problems, so they generate these negative feelings out of nothing so that they can feel bothered about this and that. Maybe it’s just a way to blame the world instead of dealing with things.
I don’t really believe in morality as a thing. I don’t feel motivated to do good or not do bad because of any kind of moral compass. I don’t believe that the concept of morality really helps other people do better or worse in life or treat people better or worse. All the concept of morality really does, it seems, is offer up an invented standard that we’re all going to feel bad for not living up to. Morality is just a set of generally agreed upon ideas to make ourselves feel bad, and to find ways of hating other people. All that morality can offer us is the sense of shame.
I feel like I’ve seen more examples of the concept of morality leading to additional suffering than I’ve seen it lead to happiness, and shame is at the center of that. Shame is what leads us to not talk about things that really need to be dealt with, and so we have cases like The Vatican ignoring sexual misconduct within the church, because it would be too shameful to admit and deal with. Instead of preventing additional harm, The Vatican facilitated additional harm by avoiding what needed to be addressed. That seems to be the kind of thing that happens when we think about things in terms of good and evil, rather than in terms of harm and no harm.
Harm and no harm requires responsibility, because it’s based upon action, and we can trace these actions and use that information to reduce future harm, which is all that really matters. An eye for an eye is not going to help your other eye. An eye for an eye is a great way to get your one remaining good eye plucked out of your skull in the vicious cycle of revenge.
So, my thoughts: do minimal harm, feel no shame, dwell on nothing, don’t concern yourself with what others are doing if it’s just going to make you feel bad. Holding onto all that negative stuff does nothing but weigh you down. Be light and be free instead. Let others do the same. Not for any moral reason. Not because it’s the right thing to do. Do it because being light and free FEELS BETTER than being angry and judgmental. Do it so that you won’t waste your life feeling bad just to feel bad.
Look at this this way: we are all going to die someday and none of our judgments will matter one lick. We’re alive now. Briefly. So let’s just skip to the good parts.