Wednesday, 27 July 2011

It's good to be Judgmental!

This rant will concern the nature of judgmentalism and the negative connotations surrounding it. This of course refers to "fair" judgements only, based on a persons observed behaviour and in no way is to be used as support for racist, sexist, or other prejudicial ideologies.

So recently in a conversation with a friend of mine, I made the point that if I had heard from enough reliable sources that someone was not the type of person I'd want to be associated with (i.e. immature, a criminal, someone who picks on people, etc), then I would absolutely under no circumstances give this person a second of my time, outside the realms of common courtasy and social obligation at least. In response to this my friend accused me of being judgmental.

After some thought, I began to wonder why the word "judgmental" had acquired such negative connotations over the years, especially when the actual trait of being judgmental has so many potential benefits on the face of it.

In my example, if I were to find out somebody were not the type of person I'd want to be associated with, from multiple reliable sources, then surely it would only make sense to not waste any time on this person. It stands to reason that being judgmental could act as an excellent protective force against all manner of time-wasters, cheats, conmen, and people who are just plain boring!

Another point worth drawing attention to, is that making judgments is only natural! In fact without our power to judge, we could never learn anything! According to Jean Piaget, the renowned developmental psychologist, we develop our world view by making judgments about the world around us, and fitting them into pre-existing ideas in order to better understand our environment. This has been essential for our survival as a species. Can you imagine what the world would be like if your caveman ancestor hadn't had the ability to distinguish between what animals were dangerous and what animals were food? Chances are he'd have been eaten by lions or tigers or bears, and you wouldn't be sat there behind that screen enjoying that delicious pop-tart.

Of course one could argue that it is an overgeneralisation to liken the judgment of a lion or a wolf as dangerous, to the judgment of a person as an arsehole - and that in today's society we should give everyone a chance - because they might be nice on the inside, right? FUCK.THAT. If you hear from enough sources, and you deem those sources to be reliable and unbiased, that someone is not the type of person you want to deal with - you don't owe it to them or anyone else to give them the time of day because they might be "nice when you get to know them". In fact you owe it to yourself not to waste your time. The very notion of someone being "nice when you get to know them" is probably the result of faulty perception, because that person has been psychologically "split" in the mind of the beholder, where a perfect idealised version of that person exists where all of their positive feelings and memories are concentrated, and a demonised version of that person exists which is exactly the opposite. Only when they think of that person they prefer to think of the idealised version - and this is the one that they present to you in this instance.

So to conclude: you were raised with - and probably born with - the power to judge. Use it. But that said use it rationally, and always consider the intentions of the person or persons who are providing you with information which may influence your judgment. I hope this saves you a lot of time, and allows you to avoid undesirable people in your life. 

Rant over. Peace out.