People are human beings with the capacity of thinking, in other words, the rational, intellectual animal. Judging is part of our nature, but we can use our brains in order to make the right choices for our own lives, not by observing the other’s decisions and comment on them. As far as I have seen, some people talk about the others not only when they achieved something or have a good and happy and normal life, but also when they assumed some risks and got lost (e.g. drug addictive, alcoholics, smokers, even divorced adults or who let their children in orphanages). The question would be, why some of us are so bad, haters, envier, as long as there are so many rights, and we are supposed to be equal one with each other and leave in heavenly peace?
Even Sigmund Freud, the german thinker talks about judging others, in his book “Civilization and Its Discontents”, published in 1930:
“First of all, humans have certain typical instincts that are undeniable. The most notable ones are the desires for sex, and the inclination to violent aggression towards respected people and towards sexual competitors. There are many human traits that all of us have so we should not judge others but instead satisfy our needs. All of us are ruled by pleasure and the pleasure is satisfied by the instincts.
Therefore we must not be judging others because we have the exact same traits that are the cause of our problems. In my book Civilization and Its Discontents, it gives an outline of all of our character traits and what causes those actions that we do. Therefore we should not judge others because all of us have the same origins for our problems and we should find those origins to solve the problems instead of criticizing others.
However, some of these problems are unfortunately inevitable. Many times, all we can do is accept that this is who I am and do our best to accept these. Thus, we should let everyone be who they truly are and never judge anyone including ourselves. Accepting inevitable issues will help us stop judging people.”
I used to judge the others as well, until I realized it makes no sense, and usually, judging the others, it defines us; that’s why some are more judgmental than the others.
When we hear the word ‘label’ we might think of a product or an object that we want to buy. Labels help us to distinguish and recognize different objects. But in sociology it is a metaphor, ‘labeling people’, which is in fact a method derived from a general way of perceiving members of a certain nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender or some other group. When a majority of people held a certain point of view towards a certain topic, that point of view becomes a stereotype. In most of the cases, those stereotypes are more harmful than helpful.
For example, when we see a dirty man or woman, with ugly clothes, with a horrible smell and maybe asking for help or money, we say ‘oh, another homeless gipsy’. The same thing happened to me when I saw Ms. Maria, the old lady that lays all day on the benches from Hasdeu Campus: a big fat old fashioned lady, with short grey dirty hair, wearing long dress and snickers, without socks, and an interesting small childish purse where she had two cigarettes and a bottle of juice. At first I thought she was a homeless and I also gave her cigarettes and some food; but after several times, I tried to talk to her, and I found out that she was a great woman, with decent job and nice social life. The problems appeared after she discovered the taste of alcohol, then got ill, and now is receiving the monthly pension with which she pays the rent and medicines, that’s why she haunts the campus because the students are kind-hearted and help her.
My question would be, is it normal to judge and label a person only by his or her appearance? Well, I think that I found the answer in Emile Durkheim’s book about the normal and the pathological, where he says that ‘crime is normal, it is found in all societies, societies become higher forms over time, in more civilized societies crime goes up. Crime is normal and inevitable: an integral part of all healthy societies. Also, crime is normal as a society without crime is impossible; offends collective sentiments that would have to exist in all people the same degree and intensity. And regarding the social change, morality and law have to change or society stagnates and does not progress, tradition stands in the way of progress. Individual originality must be able to express itself and moral conscience must not be excessive. Both the idealist and criminal will express themselves, one can not occur without the other.’
As an ending, I would like to add that it is important not to judge the others before you begin to know them, and moreover to label a person, because in this way we will never escape of stereotypes that sometimes conduct to hatred and discrimination. So, let’s first start to discover ourselves, then try to understand the rest and maybe trying to help them.