Opti-judge or Pessi-judge

I’m always dumbfounded by the comment, “Don’t judge.”.
To me, that suggests shutting off one’s brain and disregarding all one’s experiences while looking at one’s feet.

Of course, we must judge (aka discriminate) to function and survive. It’s called “thinking”.
So, the phrase “don’t judge” must mean something else.
Perhaps, it means don’t have negative thoughts?
Well, how does that work when you’re being mugged? Might you have avoided the mugging by discriminating against potential dangers in the environment a bit?
Over simplifying, and taking a literal approach, can be a disservice to rational thought.
People who do this most often know better, too.
BUT, I don’t… so here goes. LOL
I believe we should all judge but by using our better natures. I call this being an opti-judge.
The opti-judge understands there’s good and evil but he’s confident that it is only revealed by studying behaviors. He believes evil is good at hiding and isn’t everywhere. He also believes there’s nothing he can do to eliminate that age old dynamic. A ‘place’ cannot be good or evil and neither can an article of clothing or a tool…only people. Most importantly, he never approaches a scenario expecting others can define, or change, him. He is often pretty happy.

Then there are, what I call, pessi-judges.
She greets the world with expectations of finding perfection. She also knows there’s good and evil but she’s sure she can spot it, easily and quickly, by studying the appearance of people. Her outlook is to combat evil wherever she suspects it so it cannot infect her and change her and so the world can become more perfect. Objects, places, and animals can be evil in her view. Lord knows, it’s everywhere and she believes it can be eradicated. She thinks it’s her job. She is often distressed.

Those are the two extremes. Where do you fall on that spectrum?

We all judge. We need to judge. Judging isn’t the problem. It’s how we do it and what our motivation is when we do it.
Ask yourself…

Don’t worry… you’ll be okay.

Wishes, Expectations and Perceptions

I was sitting at my kitchen table with three friends. We were snacking on potato chips. A lull in the conversation inspired me to examine my chip.

“Is this a chip or a crumb?” I asked the group. They all responded, “Chip”.

Then I took a bite of it. “Well?” The group had a variety of responses and the discussion came to life.

We sat and pondered the criteria that each individual used to reach a conclusion. One member insisted that in order to be called a potato chip it had to have a roundness. I suggested that a chip was anything that could withstand dipping beyond my clasped forefinger and thumb. We all then agreed immediately that dipping rules can vary and it depended whether  the dipping were at home or in public. Everyone knows that “home dipping” allows the fingers to touch the dip and “public dipping” does not.

There are so many ways to consider things that it amazes me how people have such a close idea of undefined measurements. Society and experiences must be out training ground.

If you ask a four-year old about porcupines, they all tell you that the sharp quills are called “porks”. No exceptions! Their grasp of language rules and concepts is greater than their understanding of the world itself.

Our book club got together this month to discuss “The Next Thing on My List” by Jill Smolinski. It is about a woman who becomes the custodian of a list of accomplishments another woman has written and hopes to complete. The creator of the list is killed and the woman who feels responsible for her death, decides to complete it for her. Although the book is comical and enjoyable, the idea of keeping a list of “hopeful things” made our discussion personal. We each took turns reciting 5 things from our own list of hopefuls. While listening to others, I realized that hopes and wishes have a blurred, overlapping territory. I hoped to one day learn how to operate a backhoe. Another member dreamed of knowing that her kids were comfortable,settled and happy.

Our lists proved so very interesting, we learned about each other in ways we hadn’t imagined. Even after the meeting, people paired off to compare notes on specific items brought up from our lists.

This whole piece is dedicated to the varied and communal sides of our human experience. How we somehow know when a rock is a boulder not a stone and a chip is a crumb.