I don’t particularly like the idea that we shouldn’t judge other people. It’s a maxim taught to children, and the Golden Rule refers to the dangers of judgement.
Yet that’s not really the problem, or a reasonable solution. Humans instinctively judge and categorize new things, places, and people. To truly live up to the idea that we shouldn’t judge others, we would need to rewire significant parts of the brain. Judging others has no good or bad value attached to it.
The two aspects that I think are most important, and should be part of a more detailed lesson to youth, are the dangers of warped judgements, and the emphasis that we put on judgements.
Said plain, the core is judgements that are influenced by racism, sexism, homophobia, or other ideologies that devalue humans and make them lesser individuals. Additionally, if we value personal judgements over other facts, we run the risk of placing a person under a very skewed spotlight. This is much like the difference between prejudice and discrimination- one can have prejudicial views but do not believe they are important enough or appropriate to turn into action.
This may seem like splitting hairs, but I think it’s important to explore why judgement can be a dangerous thing. The simplicity of “we shouldn’t judge people” masks an important lesson about devaluing people and using a warped view of the world.
2 thoughts on “Moving beyond “don’t judge””
I think the danger of judging goes far beyond warped judging. The full Biblical saying (nout the Golden Rule) is Judge not that you be not judged (and variations.) Every time we judge, we enforce the idea that there are rules that people should follow, and that those rules also apply to us, and it is right and proper that others should judge us. There are other problems with judging, too.
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We all need to judge individual people and situations we find ourselves in- the problem is people misuse judgement so much that it has gotten a bad rap- our culture is in particular obsessed with more harshly judging people with less money and power while often letting people with more such status off the hook. https://paganleft.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/judgment-its-not-always-a-bad-thing/