?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Thoughts on compassion and judgement - The Desian Universe
Links Home / GitHub January 2017
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
 
 
 
 
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sun, Sep. 4th, 2005 11:52 pm
Thoughts on compassion and judgement

I went into San Francisco and did touristy things with the family again today. We wandered around the remodelled ferry building [Is it bad that I wanted to spell it "fairy building"? ;P], then wandered through some of the gardens at Golden Gate Park, stopped briefly at the Cliff House, then went to dinner at the usual pizza place.

Entries like these are always hard, because there are several different trains of thought running through my head at once, all colliding with each other and vying to be written first. My challenge is sticking to one at a time, so these entries make sense. ;)

Anyway...

While we were wandering through the ferry building, I had an epiphany without realizing it, sort of. I decided that instead of looking at the various stores and things they had to offer (which, frankly, were pretty boring to me), I would instead watch the people.

This guy's really busy, but stopped for a second to make sure his customer is doing OK. That guy wants to challenge anything that moves. This woman just needs to pick up a few kitchen utensils, while the woman standing over there is happy, excited to be here and drinking in everything around her.

Each person I saw, I would look them in the eye; pay close attention to them for a brief moment -- smile at them, accept their presence and move on. A surprisingly large number (and by surprisingly large, I mean perhaps a half-dozen out of who-knows-how-many) met my glance and genuinely returned the smile.

I noticed--unsurprisingly--that the more I did this, the more I was smiling naturally ... not because I was smiling at anybody in particular, but just because I was. After a fairly short period, I actually started to become overwhelmed with this feeling.

Of course, every so often, monkey-mind would jump in. It would make a judgement -- think something unkind ("Oh, she's fat!" "He looks like an asshole!" "She should cover her fucking breasts." "What if he doesn't like me looking at him?"), and then I would lose state and go back to square one. When monkey-mind was quiet, people reacted favorably to me. But when it was fidgeting, people would, without fail, look at me strangely or suspiciously.

I think we spend too much time staring at people and making judgements about them ... we are constantly and unconsciously judging and making threat assessments. We forget what it means to simply observe, and accept.

Today I had some direct and practical experience in observing and accepting. Today I realized just how ingrained this "judging" thing is in my psyche. Although judging isn't a bad thing, necessarily ... I realized that we really do take it to extremes, and I know that unfounded or discompassionate judgement--even when it remains unexpressed--is often a very hurtful thing.

>>>

On the way home, while we were going over the Bay Bridge, I wondered what driving would be like if every car came equipped with a short range (i.e. several hundred feet) radio. Would people be more considerate, or less so? I think they would be more considerate -- communication might help us come to the emotional realization that there are actual people in those other cars around us.

I'm curious what you think.

-- Des

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: calm calm

3CommentReplyShare

queueball
queueball
Q
Mon, Sep. 5th, 2005 08:32 am (UTC)

I think we spend too much time staring at people and making judgements about them ... we are constantly and unconsciously judging and making threat assessments. We forget what it means to simply observe, and accept.

Today I had some direct and practical experience in observing and accepting. Today I realized just how ingrained this "judging" thing is in my psyche. Although judging isn't a bad thing, necessarily ... I realized that we really do take it to extremes, and I know that unfounded or discompassionate judgement--even when it remains unexpressed--is often a very hurtful thing.


Amen.

Spinoza: "I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them."

Wilde: "[T]he first thing I have got to do is to free myself from any possible bitterness of feeling against the world."

I'm curious what you think.

Believe it or not, I think you might be right in saying that more communication would probably be good for the world. ;)


ReplyThread
phlog
phlog
Phlog
Thu, Sep. 8th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
Here's what I think

I've got to disagree on the judgment thing a bit (but maybe it's just semantics). There should be a lot of latitude when it comes to forming opinions about trivial/unimportant things about people. ie, if you don't like someone's taste in music, clothes, etc., just shrug it off. It's not important.

But I think we SHOULD judge people (perhaps more than we do now) about important things. Like, if someone commits a double murder, let's go ahead and say they're a bad person. "They're not a bad person; they just do bad things" is insane, to me. I think our best and most fair way of assessing someone's values is through their actions, in accordance to their ability to perform good deeds/avoid bad deeds, and their magnitude.

So if someone went out of their way to do something to make a mildly rude comment to someone else, it's bad, but not horrible. Whereas if someone had to work really hard to significantly help someone, they deserve a lot of praise (or better reward).

***

"She should cover her fucking breasts."

Right. You're full-blown gay! :)


ReplyThread
deskitty
deskitty
Des
Thu, Sep. 8th, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Here's what I think

But I think we SHOULD judge people (perhaps more than we do now) about important things. Like, if someone commits a double murder, let's go ahead and say they're a bad person. "They're not a bad person; they just do bad things" is insane, to me. I think our best and most fair way of assessing someone's values is through their actions, in accordance to their ability to perform good deeds/avoid bad deeds, and their magnitude.

I used to think that ...

But the thing is, I've been in far too many situations where a person has done something hurtful or malicious not out of spite, but because either (a) they didn't know any better way to handle things, (b) they weren't aware of the entire situation, or (c) they're in so much pain they've become irrational. In short, they may well be a good person doing bad things. ;)

I've seen (a), (b) and (c) far more often than I've seen true malice. Given that, I don't think we should ever make such a judgement without considering the intentions and motivation of the actor (or, person performing the action). But in order to do that, we need to have a certain amount of compassion and empathy for the person we're judging -- we need to understand their situation.

Most people don't bother trying to gain that understanding, and so they make judgements prematurely. Someone may have committed double murder, taken the lives of two people with friends and family who love them dearly ... but would you judge that person harshly if he or she acted in self-defense?


ReplyThread Parent