If I Ever Judge, I Go By Evidence, Not Assumptions

It is against my nature to be judgemental and in general I am a tolerant and patient man. That's not to say I never judge, but on the rare occasion that I do, I will look to give the benefit of the doubt and only to do so when I believe that a person's character is inherently flawed. This is rare though, and I generally will respect another person's opinion, even if I believe it is wrong. I realise that a person can make a mistake and accidentally cause harm and so I will treat it as water under the bridge. We cannot learn without making mistakes and I won't be unduly cynical on someone who I generally hold in good esteem. After all, most people don't intend harm, they simply get it wrong from time to time and must be seen as humans. It would be irrational and dangerous, however, to never judge people and so when I believe that the situation calls for it, I will take a much harder stance on someone's behaviour; generally, the two things that turn me against someone and malice of intent and cyncism - hence I always use my discretion.

The big flaw of judgementalism stems from the fact it's normally based upon somone's opinion, not any concrete actions of the person being judged that reveals something of their character. Two years ago, I began to notice a curious phenomenon that was starting to affect my friends. They began to become less and less open to other people and when they say that their friends were beginning to mature and do meaningful things they became more insecure about their own lack of initiative. As a result, an overall negative mentality began to proliferate and my friends began to start putting each other down, some openly, others behind each others' backs, as a means to make themselves cool and important. The people being judged weren't bad people or anything like that, they just had the misfortune that someone didn't like him/her! A good friend of mine had success as a musician and another friend, who was clearly jealous, started to resent him. Behind his back, he would label him names such as "douche" and "****", claiming that he was beginning to become stuck up his own arse as a result of his musical success. It didn't stop there - this same friend started making highly inappropriate jokes about the musician's girlfriend and the other guys joined in and tried to make more jokes about her appearance.

That is a particularly unpleasant example, but it didn't end there - the girls were even worse. The impulse behind making judgements for them was more for the sake of gaining each other's approval than making each other laugh. Not all of them subscribed to this grotesque habit, but one in particular liked to stir up drama and used to play the victim after breaking up with some boyfriends. Not to mention she loved sticking her noses in other peoples' business; at her boyfriend's 18th birthday party, she spent quite a while attempting to morally lecture someone else for having smashed a bottle over someone's head when a gang attacked people at a party a month before. I know smashing a bottle over someone's head is wrong, but this girl had no knowledge of what really went on, neither did she know the person who had the bottle smashed over her head; in other words, she was arguing with him for the sake of making herself look big, not because she actually gave a stuff for the people who disturbed the party. Everybody does things that are morally wrong from time to time, but why assume you know everything when you clearly cannot witness and entire fight at once? Even at that, I'm not certain that she was even there at the time, in which case the notion of a judgement is absurd!

Speaking of assumptions, are people not aware that when you assume, you make an *** out of U and Me? There's a reason why one just doesn't make assumptions when judging others, and that's because the person being judged will feel all the more victimised if he/she feels that he/she has done nothing wrong. Even seemingly volatile situations can be the result of accidents and misinterpretted words and if a person is aggressively confronted or is harshly judged without their presence, the whole affair becomes particularly problematic for all involved - the accuser because he/she will look foolish if he/she is shown to have jumped the gun and the accused because he/she will feel resentful for having been jumped on so quickly. The aforementioned drama queen assumed something I said in another language (VERY risky tactic, made her look very foolish afterwards!) and tried to pluck several untrue accusations out of nowhere to get other girls to judge me negatively. Thankfully, it didn't work; ironically her reputation took a massive blow as a result. The problem remains, though; assumptions are a surefire way of ending friendships. Another friend expressed a rather disapproving opinion of the fact that I'll discuss someone I fancy with a friend I trust. Really, judge me behind my back! He claimed that I was clingy, which was incorrect - I only discussed the matter briefly with a couple of good friends in a conversation about a much bigger picture. That betrayal was one of the reasons I ceased associating with him.

The sheer insensitivity of judgementalism aside, this unpleasant practice becomes highly irresponsible when done for its own sake, not least because it hurts the feelings of those who are judged the very second they put a foot wrong, but also because it often burns bridges in the process. If someone gets drunk and makes an arse out of him/herself, fair enough, let them learn their lesson and if they don't, have a little chat with them to help them along. What they won't appreciate, however, is some know-it-all speaking ill of them as if a little drunkenness makes them a bad person. Maybe it is a problem, but you have to help these people, not put them down! Speaking of them as if they're misbehaving schoolchildren is only going to make them unwilling to be friends with you. Let's not forget, telling someone that to his/her face that they're an is bad enough, but doing it behind his/her back for all the world to hear is nothing short of spineless, fickle and two-faced. There's something seriously not right with people who jump on others' weakness/quirks as a means of boosting their own reputations in the process. Surely this is a symptom of a lack of friendship in the first place?

This didn't just extend to judging friends, it became judging everything! It seems that one's opinions on whether a song or a football team is "lame" or "boring" or not takes precedence over a calm analysis of its merits (or lack thereof). The musician friend I mentioned earlier was mocked because his singing style was considered "whiny" by a few people, who just so happened not to have ever been his real friends, though he trusted one of these friends a lot. There was a large pre-occupation with who could make a mean joke about someone/something else and if someone made a bad joke, people would start saying, "Oh, that's poor," or "No, just no." One of my friends (a good, yet anguished man by all accounts) bore particularly this reputation; in fact, his reputation for bad jokes seemed to supercede him, as if making bad jokes is a character flaw of his. I no longer associate with these people, but there were times when I simply felt they ought to grow up. What have humans come to if we can't even make a mistake anymore without others using it as asource of amusement and self-gratification? Have we really allowed this fickle and mercenary culture to seep into the world? This is not what humans are meant to be like, we are meant to understand patience and compassion, two qualities lacking in much of today's world.

This is merely a concise summary of the flaws of judgementalism. Why do people let their need to make themselves look big take precedence over friendship? Do they really have such low regard for the integrity of friendship that their friends are just aquaintances? After all, real friends care for each other. Attheend of it all, what about the people I judge? I believe I've already described them. I have nothing but contempt for people who treat friendship as a joke and who try to use deceit, cowardice and selfishness as a means of fulfilling their own personal gaps. Still, I am not too harsh on these people when they are young because I acknowledge that they can change. However, when they're like this at the age of 18, they really have no excuse! If someone shows intent to harm without provocation or otherwise demonstrates cynicism (judgementalism being a possible manifestation of both), then I will be more than ready to evaluate the situation and respons as necessary. But don't worry, I won't be rash - as I opened this piece, I go by evidence, not assumptions.

Laertes
Laertes Laertes
18-21, M
7 Responses Jul 20, 2010

tez49,<br />
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Once again, you have conflated judgements and opinions. Let's analyse your two examples: when I meet somebody, it is only natural that I might ask myself, "Is this person intelligent." However, when I answer this question in my head in light of my impressions, my answer is an opinion, not a judgement. I don't say, "This person is/is not intelligent," I say "In my opinion, this person is/is not intelligent." Opinions are subjective and are open to change. Judgements, however, presume to be true, no matter what angle you take or what side you argue. Therefore, I have not judged, I have merely formed an opinion; your first example is irrelevant.<br />
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Second example: I may also ask myself does this person speak the truth. There are two cases here; first, I may agree or disagree with what someone says. However, I do not presume the opinion to be right or wrong (judging it), I simply hold the same/a different opinion. In the second case, I believe that the case is coherently/fallaciously argued, even if it's not necessarily factually true/untrue. I can support this by examining how logic and reasoning have been applied; while their opinion may not necessarily be wrong, it might be poorly supported or expressed. In this case, yes, I do judge. However, I don't judge them as people to be right/wrong, I judge their opinion using reasoning and logic to demonstrate a lack of coherence in their case. Please note that this is not the same as judging them as people. Which leads us back to the purpose of this article - it is about judging people, not judging opinions. Therefore your second example is also irrelevant.<br />
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By the way, I have not judged you as a trouble maker. I am simply demonstrating that your argument lacks premise and analysis. You've expressed your opinion, yes, but you haven't used any facts - that's a judgement I've made on your argument ba<x>sed on evidence and your free to try and demonstrate that I am wrong. However, this isn't even coming close to happening bearing in mind you haven't even defined precisely what judging means, never mind its implications with reference to my original article. I don't think you're a bad person, I simply judge your argument, but not your personality. There is a distinct difference which must be respected.

no i havn't missed the point your point is you say you don't gudge the fact is you do wether you think you don't or not your brain works a lot faster than you think and in the time it takes to read something you have formed an opinion of someone as you form that opinion you do gudge that person in your mind without being consious of doing so.i.e is this person inteligent yes or no that is a gudgment dose this person speak the truth yes or no another gudgment, <br />
the fact is we make so many gudgments evry second of the day so you are compleatly used to doing so,and may i just say that you have already gudged me as a trouble courser although i am not trying to course trouble i am mearly expessing my opinion ba<x>sed on facts,<br />
if it was possible to switch your brain off for a while then it would be possible to not gudge but i'm afraid that we can't so we will gudge things and people till the day we expire.

tez49, your response is a perfect example of someone who has completely missed the point of the entire article. It's made very clear that there is a difference between forming an opinion of someone and making a judgement, which you unfortunately haven't grasped. When people read my article, they don't "gudge" me, they merely form opinions about my personality and writing style. When I say form opinions, it means that they get an impression of me, which they know is subjective and not necessarily correct. Furthermore, to make the distinction between forming opinions and judging, judging contains not only the inherent commitment to the belief that one is right, but also a definitive call on whether something is good or bad, normally in moral terms. However, if I disagree with someone, I don't think they're a bad person or that their opinion is wrong, I simply see things a different way to them, and it is the same with the way others see me.<br />
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Therefore, what you are talking about is not judging as we in this group see it, but actually simply the act of forming opinions. Seriously, how many people on this site are offended because someone else holds a different opinion to them? Very few, I suspect, and with good reason - our brain forms impressions all the time, but most of them, as I have said are opinions, not judgements. If I feel someone has made a good/bad first impression on me, does that mean I'm judging them? No, I'm simply forming an opinion on them. Opinions can change, unlike judgements, which by their very nature are definitive and final.<br />
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In light of this, you are incorrect when you say it is impossible not to judge and that judging is not a choice as you have conflated two mutually exclusive concepts; opinions and judgements. On a side note, I recommend you refrain from saying that I am wrong, followed by the word "fact". That's an example of poor debating, as you haven't demonstrated in any way how it's a fact, and that's where your argument falls down - you have to substantiate your assumptions, otherwise nobody will be convinced.<br />
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Laertes

very impresive but also very untrue,i am sorry i am not a trouble maker but i am now branded as one and i do this to rase a point,and the point is if you are human you gudge it is not a choice by writing what you have you have made a clear and precise statment of, to you a fact, "i do not gudge"yes,people have read your words and said yes he is right but firstly there brains have analized what you have writen there by making a mental perseption of who you are,gudging you,you have read there coments and automaticly formed a picture in you mind of the person who wrote the coment gudging them,you can't help it you are human it is imposible not to gudge you make gudgments evry day your brain is good at it therefor you can't stop it.<br />
so i am very sorry to pop your bubble but all you fancy words are fake wether you like it or not sorry fact

Thank you, I am glad you both liked it.<br />
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Laertes

Love it, thanks for sharing.

Wise beyond your years, grasshopper! ;-)