Judge. We all do – it’s an inevitable part of the sociability sector of human nature, to judge and to expect to be judged. It’s so easy, since inside our imperfect human genes lies an innate inclination to convenience. It is convenient to generalize, pack things and people away in mental boxes, and profile anything new that we experience to match what we already know. We’re inescapably lazy by nature, trying to find patterns and familiarity among ambiguity. And a lot of the time, we may be correct. If small, red berries picked from the woods poisoned a neighbor it was obviously wise to avoid similar looking possibly-poisonous red berries. In a modern context, an anxious-looking man wearing a mask to cover his face, holding a mysterious object draped with cloth, is probably dangerous – or so our instinctive mind tells us, because we have learned (probably more from movies or dramas rather than real experience), or at least assume, that most homicidal criminals or bombers probably would look or act in that certain abnormal way. We sense the potential danger of the man and practically reflexively make the decision to move to the next subway cell. Although there is a chance that our intellectual and instinctive interpretation of the situation may not be accurate, we are programmed to act in a way that we think will best ensure our survival.
From a naturalistic, behaviorist perspective, judging and holding prejudices and stereotypes makes perfect sense. Then why is it that the word has such a negative ring to it? The use of the word ‘judge’ has become so prevalent in shaming people in our generation. Is it just me, or is the word being used much more often than before? We hashtag #nojudgmentnohate, Miley sings, ‘Only God can judge ya, forget the haters, ‘coz somebody loves ya’, and people all over the internet are getting bashed on SNS for getting ‘judgey’. Personally I think it’s an interesting phenomenon to watch humanity fight against their utmost primal instinct of survival. We’re in an era of a new type of evolution, one of human mentality and sociability. It’s not a physical evolution, and not only are we smarter and more resourceful, we’re technically contradicting our genes and it’s on a digital, global, ubiquitous scale.
A woman wearing a revealing tight tank top showing lots of cleavage and a miniskirt walks by. What would you think? Be honest. What would your judgement of that particular individual be? That she’s promiscuous? That she’s asking for it? This is where the terrible flaw of human nature is exposed. Not only is the train of thought that ‘revealing clothes –> promiscuity –> asking for it’ dangerous and cripplingly disturbing (for obvious reasons!!), it’s statistically and logically wrong (the majority of rape crimes happened under circumstances where the victim was, comparatively, dressed in less revealing clothing).
Judging people endorses assumptions, and I believe assumptions are what we as a new generation must guard our minds against. They’re what make us tick people off our mental lists that could have been exceptional partners, friends, or lovers. They’re what bar us from seeing the potential behind the nerdy glasses and the introverted shyness (a LOT of innovative thinkers were less-sociable introverts, apparently, and innovative, free thinkers are exactly the sort of people we need in such a technologically advanced period of human development.). They’re what make us foolish and stop us from enjoying everyone’s individual uniqueness.
And in such an era of acceptance and celebration of diversity, I ask you – please don’t dish out labels and judgement. For your own sake, too. Don’t judge people for their type of lifestyle (as long as it’s not harming other people or illegal); whether you think they’re doing a great job in life should really just be a speck of dust floating around the bottom of your ‘things that I should be nosy and judgmental about’ list. You don’t understand other people’s dynamic or motives, so stop before you lose your focus on yourself while being a pancake, shallowly draping all over other people’s private lives. Don’t judge LGBT people for their way of love; you can’t imagine how many amazing LGBT people I know that are amazing companions, best friends, incredibly intelligent human beings etc. Judging them and shunning them only makes you miss out on the truly admirable qualities that they have to offer to the world. Don’t judge people based on their exterior (how they look, dress, carry themselves) – this one should be even more obvious. #Nomorehate!
I strongly support the rising social (mostly online, I think) movement against ‘judgment’ and ‘hate’. Not only is it a manifest of the beneficial positive side of IT development but personally I think it’s also a huge relief that we’re finally understanding(or at least, beginning to raise more awareness on the matter than before) the immense individual and societal dangers of carrying a ‘naturally’ judgmental mind, especially when facing other people. Society is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable, and we can no longer afford to pretend like we live in a world of simplicity where, if one red berry is poisonous, the next similar looking red berry is, too.
Let people do their thing. That’s the only direction in which this society will be able to shift toward a more humanitarian, productive future. Current times require of us the strength to generously accept and creatively flourish, not to judge and be judged. Break stereotypes and be innovative.