wandelaar

What is wrong about being judgemental?

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For one, when we judge others, we are automatically placing ourselves artificially up on a pedestal, and others artificially down beneath us. This goes against the Mahayana teaching of equality of self and other.


Maybe I'll say more later.

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Judging is unconscious. By placing someone else down one feels as if they are raising themselves up. But that's not true. There is no raising. There is only pushing down. Inevitably one reaches a point where the judging becomes a source of pain and frustration, since the other person doesn't change. How can they? They likely don't even know they are being judged! So here you sit, judging others, feeling miserable that no one is changing, feeling isolated and slowly growing angry and frustrated. It's hell.

 

I have much experience with this and have been working on it for many years.

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Judging gets a bad rap but we all do it.  I think what people don`t like about so-called negative judgments is the aspect of non-acceptance.  We do better when we accept the world as it really is.

 

There`s a positive aspect to judgment too though, and that`s the quality of discernment.  In our desire to be nonjudgmental, we shouldn`t have to pretend that we don`t know what we know, see what we see.  Sometimes statements of discernment may seem moralistic and "judgmental" but they don`t have to be.  I can perceive, for instance, that someone is lying and still be accepting of that person.

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Yes - when you judge others then the judging is often felt by the others as being pushed down, irrespective of what the judging was about and whether there was a factually correct aspect to it. The feeling of being pushed down then often results in the other person trying to push you down in return. After that the discussion then often quickly escalates with the result that no serious discussion of the original judgement happens.

 

Edited by wandelaar

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7 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

There`s a positive aspect to judgment too though, and that`s the quality of discernment.  In our desire to be nonjudgmental, we shouldn`t have to pretend that we don`t know what we know, see what we see.  Sometimes statements of discernment may seem moralistic and "judgmental" but they don`t have to be.  I can perceive, for instance, that someone is lying and still be accepting of that person.

 

And that's the problem with being non-judgemental. People are not equal in knowledge, experience and capability. And not everything is of equal quality. Are we to refrain from all negative comments even when we know and feel that something is completely wrong?

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1 minute ago, wandelaar said:

 

 People are not equal in knowledge, experience and capability. And not everything is of equal quality. 

 

Exactly.  Suppose you needed open heart surgery.  You might "judge" that I`m not the right one to perform your operation based on my total lack of surgical experience and cardiac know-how.  Such a judgment might well save your life.

 

If, however, you came to the further conclusion that my lack of surgical acumen marked me as an inveterate deadbeat and all-around bad person, well, that would be taking judgment too far.  Or at least I`d think so.

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In day to day life, judgement can create a separation from actual experience, and it can indicate places where we are holding onto something that obscures clarity. 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

Judging gets a bad rap but we all do it.  I think what people don`t like about so-called negative judgments is the aspect of non-acceptance.  We do better when we accept the world as it really is.

 

There`s a positive aspect to judgment too though, and that`s the quality of discernment.  In our desire to be nonjudgmental, we shouldn`t have to pretend that we don`t know what we know, see what we see.  Sometimes statements of discernment may seem moralistic and "judgmental" but they don`t have to be.  I can perceive, for instance, that someone is lying and still be accepting of that person.

 

Discernment is actually considered a wisdom - one of the five wisdoms. 

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51 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

Judging is unconscious. By placing someone else down one feels as if they are raising themselves up. But that's not true. There is no raising. There is only pushing down. Inevitably one reaches a point where the judging becomes a source of pain and frustration, since the other person doesn't change. How can they? They likely don't even know they are being judged! So here you sit, judging others, feeling miserable that no one is changing, feeling isolated and slowly growing angry and frustrated. It's hell.

 

I have much experience with this and have been working on it for many years.

 

The six lokas practice addresses this, and I've personally found it beneficial. 

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There is the vocal judgement characterized by complaining about things and telling other people how they are wrong, etc. And there is the silent judgement where we observe behaviors that we disagree with and condemn the other within our own minds.

 

The first form may potentially be productive if the subject respects your opinion and is willing to hear it. The second form is mostly worthless and serves little more than to  bring stress to one's own life.

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31 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

There`s a positive aspect to judgment too though, and that`s the quality of discernment.  In our desire to be nonjudgmental, we shouldn`t have to pretend that we don`t know what we know, see what we see.  Sometimes statements of discernment may seem moralistic and "judgmental" but they don`t have to be.


I think discernment is just seeing and understanding things how they are, but judgment is discernment with also placing a subtle penalty on it (or a not so subtle penalty). That's really the dividing line between something very beneficial for us, and something very harmful to us...and it's a very challenging line to not cross.

Another example is that we can discern how drinking too much alcohol is bad for people, and that Jimbob drinks too much...but if we don't offer a helping hand to Jimbob because we think he's throwing his life away and isn't worth the effort (or whatever other subtle penalty), then we've just crossed the line into judgmental land.

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Just now, Lost in Translation said:

The second form is mostly worthless and serves little more than to  bring stress to one's own life.

 

That second form completely shuts us down from wisdom...from the spiritual path.

A person can have the first form, of telling people how it is and not holding back in the truth...but not have the second form. Their heart can be open and their mind clear. In which case, that's just discernment being mistaken for judgment.

One has to ask if they're feeling judged: have I actually been penalized in any way, or did they intend to show me something?

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8 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

it can indicate places where we are holding onto something that obscures clarity. 

 

All negativity we have is our own responsibility when we're on the spiritual path. When we're feeling negativity, like when someone did something to piss us off...it's not coming from others, but is coming from ourselves...

' "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

"He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred. '

- The Dhammapada, 1

 

There's the common saying, "When you point your finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you". With increasing wisdom, we naturally realize how true this is. With increasing hatred, we have no access to wisdom, and can never realize our own hypocrisy.

What we were accusing others of were really the issues that were most dominant in our minds. They were our issues, not the accused's.

 

Those issue were clouding our lens of perception, and they caused us to see others as having those faults. If we didn't have those issues, we wouldn't see others as having them. So a good rule of thumb is that when we're accusing someone of something, we should really stop and think of how we're guilty of that very thing.

Even if someone doesn't believe in the truth of these ideas, this is still incredibly helpful to constantly think about for spiritual cultivation.

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2 minutes ago, Aetherous said:

That second form completely shuts us down from wisdom...from the spiritual path.

 

I disagree. Perhaps we are not discussing exactly the same thing. When I said "The second form is mostly worthless and serves little more than to  bring stress to one's own life," I intentionally added "mostly" because there is one person who is hearing the criticism and the judgements -- you! From that perspective one can use this internal dialog to compare and contrast behaviors, using their natural judgements to acquire understanding and wisdom. But it is a painful process and not one I would encourage.

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46 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Yes - when you judge others then the judging is often felt by the others as being pushed down, irrespective of what the judging was about and whether there was a factually correct aspect to it. The feeling of being pushed down then often results in the other person trying to push you down in return. After that the discussion then often quickly escalates with the result that no serious discussion of the original judgement happens.

 

It's important to have rationality take precedence over feelings: if you can admit there's a factually correct aspect to it, then you should know it wasn't something to be upset over.

The feeling of being pushed down, if you were constructively criticized where zero actual harm came to you, is just the false notion of oneself...it isn't really you. That false notion of self is what Tibetan Buddhist practice seek to liberate people from.

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5 minutes ago, Lost in Translation said:

I disagree. Perhaps we are not discussing exactly the same thing. When I said "The second form is mostly worthless and serves little more than to  bring stress to one's own life," I intentionally added "mostly" because there is one person who is hearing the criticism and the judgements -- you! From that perspective one can use this internal dialog to compare and contrast behaviors, using their natural judgements to acquire understanding and wisdom. But it is a painful process and not one I would encourage.

 

I was addressing the type of judgment which condemns others silently. I think that does have the effect described.

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Does that mean that discernment is simply judging well, in which case judgement need not be wrong when done well? 

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1 minute ago, wandelaar said:

Is there a problem in judging something as wrong in others that you know you also have to fight against in yourself?

 

No, as long as you are actively working on that same item within yourself and you acknowledge the parallel. That is consistency. But failing to work on yourself or failure to acknowledge the parallel - that is hypocrisy.

 

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40 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

 

Discernment is actually considered a wisdom - one of the five wisdoms. 

Oh now that is really good. So Discernment is wisdom guided decision making? Is that right?

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26 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Is there a problem in judging something as wrong in others that you know you also have to fight against in yourself?

 

If there's some form of penalty for the others, yes.

For instance, to be direct in regard to why this thread was started: if you think that people having political discussions are being too unspiritual, so you try numerous times to stifle their discussion against their stated wishes. That's a form of penalty, and so it was judgmental of you.

 

And also in total agreement with how Lost in Translation responded to the question.

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It's a interesting thread and posed question. My first reaction is, it is about being self-centered.   Why?  Well, what is the basis for any judgment except against our own thought ?

 

But if we can forget self for a minute, 'judgment' can have some useful sides, but can be quite the opposite... culturally, we may have a subconscious knowledge of Matthew 7:1-2:

 

‚ÄúDo not judge, so that you will not be judged, since you will be judged in the same judgment that you make, and you will be measured by the same standard you apply.‚ÄĚ

 

It is not about, not judging but do you accept your judgement criteria for yourself as well? 

 

We each call balls and strikes as we see them.  We look for how life can be better embraced.  When our focus is on our self, that seems a kind of betterment.  When our focus is on another, then that is judgment that likely should consider if that is betterment. 

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How could somebody who considers being judgemental as wrong have any problem with others who don't see a problem in being judgemental? Isn't the judgement that being judgemental is wrong itself a form of being judgemental? It seems to me that as a conscious human being one simply cannot escape from being judgemental. That is: as long as one has conscious likes and dislikes.

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1 minute ago, wandelaar said:

How could somebody who considers being judgemental as wrong have any problem with others who don't see a problem in being judgemental?

 

They have discernment, which is good.

 

Unless it crosses the line into judgment. If that's the case, then they likely have hypocrisy, which is bad.

Just think of the meanings of the two words: to discern means to understand the truth. To judge means that someone is on trial, and you (and the jury) make the decision of what happens to them in the form of a punishment.

 

Understanding the truth, versus deciding someone deserves punishment, are miles apart. Yet in real life, it's sometimes a real challenge to understand which is which.

 

2 minutes ago, wandelaar said:

Isn't the judgement that being judgemental is wrong itself a form of being judgemental?

 

It's a discernment, so no. It's okay to understand that certain things are right and other things are wrong; that being judgmental is wrong, and people who do it are in the wrong. Spirituality is not about pretending to not a have a problem with anything or anyone, and being incapable of understanding right from wrong. Quite the opposite.

On the other hand, if the discernment carries a form of penalty with it, then it's a judgment rather than discernment.

For instance, when I first said to you in the other thread that it's not good to be judgmental...that carried zero penalty (although you did take offense and felt slightly attacked). It was said in an illustrative spirit, to help you understand yourself, and the brief discussion you and I were having about spirituality. So, not having any real penalty, it was a mention of something discerned...a helpful tip, if you could take it as such.

If I were to have condemned you somehow, it would've been a judgment. For instance, if I said it just in order to stick a thorn in your side; to influence others to turn against you; or to cause something to happen against your wishes.

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