It’s curious how certain words just pick up a certain vibe or connotation completely unrelated to its original definition.
Like cuss words that have two outstandingly different meanings.
Or the phrase “throwing up.” I use it a lot to mean a good thing, like I’m so excited I’m throwing up. It’s commonplace amongst my friends, but tends to throw off strangers.
Or the verb “judging.” To judge. It’s always thrown around as a bad thing. We’re told “not to judge people,” “don’t be judgmental,” “stop judging.” And even just reading those phrases, the words judge stands out as a quite serious taboo.
Even the dictionary uses it negatively.
to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically: Youcan’t judge a book by its cover.
Thankfully it also offers this.
to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about orassess: He judged her to be correct.
The question that I have about all of this is: Why is judging bad? Why are we told not to do so? Why is it generally accepted that those who judge are bad people, or at least carry a trait that they would be smart to oppress?
Because, if we’re being honest, if we’re looking at it without any sort of bias built upon the word, judging isn’t a bad thing at all.
And, moreover, anyone who says they don’t judge people isn’t being fully honest to his/herself. People as soon as you meet someone, you’re making a judgement. It’s called a first impression. Even the decision to approach a person and be sociable is a judgment, because you’ve judged that that person is worth your time and looks like a person you want to talk to.
In nature, animals, including homo-sapiens, are judges and make judgments on people and their environment everyday.
A gazelle makes the judgment to stay away from a lion. He doesn’t go, “You know what, hey, maybe that lion is nice person on the inside.” Unless he’s looking to get an up close view of its insides. Animals are judgmental. Rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, ect., scurry away when they see a human approaching. Excluding the ones on college campuses. They make the judgment that that animal is freaking huge, and intimidating, so I’m leaving. This extends to all animals who wish to live. Which, is all of them.
Now there IS a negative form of judging, and I think that species is what clouds the entire action and makes it all seem like a bad thing. Being openly malicious about someone’s appearance, background, race, orientation, and superficial descriptions, now that’s pretty lame. And much like how most things go, the bad seems to scream louder than the good. The bad apple spoils the bunch.
But again, going back, that is one classification of “judging.” If I’m walking down a dark alley and happen to see a shady looking character hiding in the shadows, I would stay away, naturally. It’s nothing personal, that person could very well be the nicest person around, but the situation does not look beneficial to my health, and thus I make the decision to steer clear. I don’t hate that person, I don’t care what he/she may look like, or his/her story, I just don’t want to run the risk of getting shanked.
If I’m enjoying the day and happen upon a wasps’ nest, I don’t go “You know what, maybe I can reason with them,” and go knocking on the front door. I walk around it. Wasp stings aren’t my color.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all make judgment calls from the moment we wake up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, or nothing to look down on people for doing so, assuming of course that we’re remaining on the subjective side of things. A lot of the time “to judge” is turned into a synonym for “to hate.” And whoever started that is wrong. And yeah, I’m judging them. I don’t hate them, I don’t even dislike them, I have no disposition on them as people, they’re just wrong on this account. Nothing personal.
It doesn’t make you a horrible person, or a pessimist, or mean, or a jerk. It doesn’t mean that you can’t love any less than you already do, or more than you already do. If you extract the true definition and reject biases, you can just remain what you are. An animal. A human person. A being. A people.