Why did the founding fathers of the United States consider egalitarianism to be such a necessary value? True egalitarianism is based on tolerance for differences. It is a principle of integrity much more than a rule of law. The antithesis of egalitarianism is judgment. Judging others does not define them. It defines you.
My friend's grandmother went to the same university in which Albert Einstein taught. Einstein had a friend who was a psychology teacher. This teacher made his judgmental and racists students do a very embarrassing exercise as a class assignment. They had to go up to student on campus that they disliked and say, "What about you don't I like about myself?"
People often mistake judgment for prudence. Choosing not to hang out at bars with chronic alcoholics when you're an abstainer is prudent. Condemning people for being alcoholics is judgment.
Of course, choosing not to judge does not mean associating with people with whom you don't have much in common. You have a right to choose your companions. Poets and wrestlers need not be friends. They choose different ways of expressing themselves about the values of life. This does not mean that either group has the right to condemn the other.
Why is judgment inimical? Since it is so much part of society, existing subtly, almost undetected, it appears innocuous enough.
First of all, we never know all the facts. When someone is an alcoholic, for example, it is because they are seeking to bury a deep pain. Since we don't know the story of that pain, we can't really comment on it.
Judgment also does not help the judged; and it pollutes your own free spirit. It results in gossip, slander, and, if the judger is powerful enough, in persecution.
Second, our view of the world is not the only one that is correct. For a man of one religion, the church of another is not his sacred ground. As Arthur Schopenhauer put it, "Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world."
Third, it prevents forgiveness when boundaries are crossed. And resentment corrupts the person who resents, diminishing their good-will and light-heart.
More significantly, however, when we choose to judge another, there is something about ourselves that we are hiding from.
As Carl Jung expressed it, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves."
The opposite of judgment is the decision to be free. Releasing judgment gives you and the other the opportunity to be free.
We have to understand that with billions of people on the planet, it's going to be remarkable to find a majority who share exactly the same values that you do.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake because of judgment.
Jesus Christ was crucified because of judgment.
The great pogroms of the world, where millions have been tortured and killed are due to judgment.
Judgment is the energy of intolerance. When exercised fully, it leads to much suffering.
When a law court judges someone, it is not the same thing. This is a completely different meaning of the word. Evidence is collected, reason is marshaled, and decisions are made about an infraction that is based on what is fair in the eyes of the collective rule.
The judgment I refer to, the one with the sinister side, is the condemnation of another for not sharing the same values. This resentment then leads to subtle or overt expressions of hatred. Egalitarianism is often defined as equality before the law, but it may be wiser to broaden this definition to include equality to be free to be different.
Saleem Rana got his masters in psychotherapy from California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, Ca., 15 years ago and now resides in Denver, Colorado. His articles on the internet have inspired over ten thousand people from around the world. Discover how to create a remarkable life
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