Thursday, 30 May 2013
Judge and jury
I know how little others understand about me, about the complexities and subtleties of my personality. I know how often they jump to conclusions, or give me idiotic advice, or turn me into someone I'm not. If others are so bad at judging me, can I be any better when I'm doing the judging? So why not keep my thoughts to myself?
It's easy to over-simplify other people's lives, to think their problems are obvious and the solutions equally obvious. But how much do I really know about the tangle of motives and feelings and compulsions and desires that have made them what they are and make them behave the way they do? My glib views and assumptions are probably laughably ignorant and insulting.
But how often do you hear people casually passing judgment on others, as if it's a totally normal thing to do? "You really ought to lose a few pounds." Or "you could get a job if you tried a bit harder." Or "that hairstyle doesn't suit you at all." Or "you're just too self-absorbed." Why do they think they know better than the person they're dissing? As Laura Mvula puts it "Who made you the centre of the universe? Who made you judge and jury over me?"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about people's opinions. Opinions are always fair game, always open to challenge and argument. I'm talking about people's identity, what they actually are. Unless they're threatening my life, that's none of my business.
So be what you want to be. Pure-hearted or wicked. Fat or thin. Hairy or silky-smooth. Lazy or industrious. I'm saying nothing.