Judging other people is about as useful as using a net to catch waves in the sea. This need to pass judgement has to be the least appealing of all human traits, and as far as I can tell it is the cause of most conflict in the world. It is just too easy to look at other people and decide that they are somehow getting life wrong – the saps. This judgement can then be enough to put me up on my high horse from where I decide that it is my duty to save these lost souls. It’s all bullshit of course. The only way that I can judge the beliefs of other people is by comparing those beliefs to my own beliefs, and for this to work I have to assume that my beliefs are the best ones – something that is impossible to know.
One of the most dangerous aspects of judging other people is that it becomes a form of scapegoating – a way for me to weasel out of dealing with my own shit. It means that I can pretend to be one of the good guys and to give credit for all the problems in the world to whoever ends up on my naughty list. It is so much easier to blame the shittier aspects of life on religion, political beliefs, or cultural character traits. I can kid myself that by trying to fix the world I can fix myself – sort of like the guy who wants the world covered in leather, so that he does not need to buy any shoes. What a joke.
More about Bullshit Beliefs
I’ve written on here before about my uneasiness with all beliefs – at best I see them as a necessary evil. Of course, I’m only talking here about my own relationship with beliefs, and I’m not trying to tell other people what to believe or what not to believe. I’m just saying that I’ve found that the fewer beliefs I hold, the greater my peace of mind.
I’m convinced that at their very best a belief can only ever be a partial-truth, so I tend to view all beliefs as basically bullshit. From my perspective, this judgment business is all about one group of people pointing out the bullshit of other people from the comfort of their own bullshit. I’ve lost my appetite for this type of carry on. I now know that it is only my ability to spot my own bullshit that can be beneficial to me, and by focusing too much on other people’s bullshit it is just a way to not focus on my own bullshit.
The Sound of Egos Clashing
For the last few years, I’ve wasted a fair amount of time on web forums. I’ve always been interested in spiritual stuff, and I particularly enjoy the forums where the believers and skeptics clash. During my twenties, my loyalties were with the skeptics/atheists, but for the last few years my allegiance has changed to the believers. In recent months, it has become impossible for me to ignore that these debates are just a massive waste of my time. Both sides in these arguments can be described as believers, and they both believe in things that can never be proven true. It is just a clash of egos, and a type of entertainment. I also suspect that these forums are damaging because the act of defending beliefs can make us more entrenched in these beliefs – I don’t see this as a good thing.
I’ve completely lost interest in all online debate forums. I’ve no real beliefs to defend anymore, and this means that I’ve no real urge to change the beliefs of other people. I want to only focus on my own bullshit because that is the road that will take me where I want to go in life. Judging other people is easy, but it is not very productive.
Sometimes You Gotta Be Tough
Of course, there are times when judging other people may be more justified. Those people who hold beliefs that make them a nuisance to other people do need to be kept in check, but this is less about judging them and more about social order. I’ve no interest in judging other people because they believe in things that I might find strange – the only point at which I might become interested is when these beliefs are causing problems for the rest of us. So, if you tell me that that your best friend is a garden pixie, I’ll try my best not to judge you negatively, but if you tell me that this pixie is telling you to do nasty things I will probably become a bit more judgmental.