We’re a judgemental lot, we are. I’m no sociologist, and far too lazy to research it, but it may be that making judgements is at the root of homo sapien’s instinct for survival. In the modern era, with the interweb weaving it’s magical tendrils all around us and enabling snappy judgements, we are more enmeshed than ever before. I’ve seen some bloggers and other writers talking about their friends, enemies and the world and I’m on Facebook too. So, of course, I wanted to weigh in on it. As I see it, judgement is everywhere; here, there and everywhere, if I may steal a song title from The Beatles.
If the religious scriptures are to be believed, then the Supreme Being will call you to judgement at some point or the other. And She is not merciful, from what I can tell. Depending on the specific flavour you like or trust you have a few endings ( or not – I’ll get to it in a bit… ). Generally, the common thread is “Be good or else”. Else what?
Well, let’s review what happens when your present body reaches end of life. Or at least, the life as we know it on earth. Except, of course, there are folks out there who will tell you that there is a life after this life on earth. They are enlightened in ways that I personally cannot imagine. I cannot question them about it because as an unenlightened one I do not have the mental strength to understand. I have, therefore, only two options. Believe what they say or be damned forever.
In some cases, I may not actually have an end, but a continued existence, possibly in another forms. It all depends on how my behaviour here is judged by the Great Auditor. Have you loved dogs, cats and human beings equally? Have you gone about with a beatific smile on your face? Have you been called names? Yes? You get to be a higher life-form. No? You’re coming back as a lower life form. How this squares with the belief “all creatures great or small” are equal, I don’t know. I do know that a critical self-examination leads me to believe I will be coming back as an earthworm. Especially after this article has been digested and understood ( and judged! ).
From a perusal of the Facebook posts from these Enlightened Ones and the rest of the internet, I have pieced together a frail understanding of my reason for being. Put simply, the reason for my being is: “To Be Judged”. This is an interesting concept.
Let’s take the fact that I was born at exactly 11:11:11 on the 26th of August in a certain year, in a certain GPS location. This is no accident, apparently. The earthquake that appeared the morning after, was certainly an act of a certain god. I am not quite sure if said god was celebrating or throwing a tantrum at my birth. Now, I’d heard stories from my mom about this. I must be a Great Doubter, because once Al Gore had invented the internet, I went back to check her story out. It is true. There WAS an earthquake the day after I was born. The 11:11:11 AM story is also her story. Unverified, but plausible.
Now this makes me a Virgo, born on the cusp with Leo. This apparently is the root cause of my many and varied insecurities. While the Virgo part of me pushes me to serve quietly and diligently, the Leo part of me wants to clobber a few heads and make myself the Caliph instead of the Caliph, just like Iznogoud.
Over the years many people have found it expedient to label me with all kinds of labels, names, epithets. One of the things I pride myself on is that I have never been a mere “Hey You!”. I have always excited people enough and worried them enough to make them reach for some test, some color coding, some quadrant or some arbitrary and completely justified ( in their head ) attribute.
Some have called me a Blue. This actually happened at an interview. I’d applied for the role of IT Development Manager. Two people interviewed me. Both were in their late 50s or early 60s. They talked amongst themselves for the first 15 minutes and I gathered that the lady had been boss to the guy for a good chunk of time, a couple of decades or more. She then asked me the first question.
“What is your favourite color?”
I was a tad confused. Now, I happen to believe in different colors for different objects. I do have a lot of blue shirts, but I would never buy a blue car. I’d buy a red t-shirt but never a pair of red stereo speakers.
“Well, I do have a lot of blue shirts….”, I started, when she cut me off, rather rudely.
“Oh, he’s a blue…”, she tailed off with an air of total disappointment to the guy. He made commiserating noises back at her. Interview over. I kid you not. This is a 110% true story.
Some tests have called me a White. Looking for Peace, man. I suppose my love for hippie music comes from there? Other people have called me Confused. Which last I don’t understand, because they said “You say confusing things. You’re confused.” I fail to understand that. I know perfectly well what I said. You are the one who didn’t understand it. You’re the confused one. I’m the confuser. You are the confusee. That confused them even more.
Another school of thought says that I’m an ENTP, a rare breed of personalities. Less than 5% of the worlds population are ENTPs. We are the rarest of the rare. The kind of people who are borderline nut jobs, crazy, complete whack jobs. When the rest of the world, though, has fucked up royally, they call us ENTPs to fix it for them.
On another test, I have an exorbitant Dominance rating, a high Influence and very low Steadiness and Conscientiousness rating. I suppose that’s the Leo influence working in conjunction with ENTP? Trust me, I know what I know. What I don’t know I will tell you. Then I will go find out and learn it and fix it. What you have to do is tell me what your problem is, answer my questions – they will require simple Yes / No responses – then you sit quietly in the corner with your chequebook out while I fix it. More often than not, I will design the proper solution for you but I may need a few minions. In which case pick up that pen and write that cheque. I may not stick around to see the end of the design. I don’t have to. I know it will work. Besides, there are other people out there who have also fucked up their projects and need my help. And please, for god’s sake, do not talk me to about some stupid footling rule book you created that details HOW I should work. You know that I know that it is completely flawed and I will fix it as part of everything else that I’m fixing. You’ll see that charge listed separately on the bill.
I’ve also been tested on things like Will, Energy, Affection, Control, Emotionality.
Will: I’m quick to tell other people what to do. Well, duh! I will take responsibility for events, so all is not lost. You, who play the blame game and hide behind committees, can rest assured, you poor lost souls. On the other hand, I am willing to accept other’s arguments, which means I keep an open mind. I will remain moderate and calm. I actually had one boss tell me I was too calm. I haven’t forgotten that imbecile yet!
Energy: I will be unobtrusive and am not likely to become overexcited. And please, I don’t need gold stars, red stars or and merit cards everyday to “motivate” me. I will build long lasting relationships. And I’m adaptable. What a winning combination! Pull out that cheque book and hire me now.
Affection: I seek out opportunities where others seek repetitive tasks. I’m not a touchy-feely kind of guy. I can be tough when required and I carry with me a bagful of healthy cynicism. Prove it or lose it. I really don’t care if your budgerigar just died, I need you to fulfill your promises. I will see through flattery. Which means that you should still flatter me. It just means that I will know you are flattering me. it doesn’t say anything about me asking you to stop. So keep at it!
Control: I learn fast. “A quick study”, a boss said of me. Too bad the moron didn’t act on it and gain my admiration. He did steal my idea and pass it off as his. ( I have proof of that, btw). I think freely, am totally flexible, completely adaptable and will challenge the status quo. I come equipped with a strong sense of responsibility and a strict personal code of conduct. In other words, I’m not here to suck up to you. Give me the work, tell me what you need and get the fuck out of my way, because I work to high standards at all times.
Emotionality: Now this is where things get very, very exciting. First the good stuff. I’m confident of my own skills. I’m a forward thinking and a positive person, generally, I will double check everything and assume nothing ( there’s that Virgo coming out). I’m sensitive to change around me and I will seek always to change myself. Now the bad part. Apparently, my Emotionality quotient is so high that all the above are now in doubt. In other words, the high Emotionality score indicates that I lied on all the other questions, so all the other scores may or may not be true.
See, folks, here’s the thing.
All those tests have one purpose. That purpose is to judge you. The thing is that once you do a few of these tests, you start to develop a conditioned response. You think you’re “expected” to be like that and you try to fulfill that prediction. With every passing test, your responses, now conditioned with this foreknowledge of your “expected responses”, confirm that pre-existing bias. Thus you negate the test. Yes, that has been proved somewhere, I think. Go look for it… let me know if I’m wrong!
Why then do we judge? Like I said before, I’m not a student of psychology and sociology, but we judge because we want to protect ourselves, we don’t want to appear foolish to others, we want to know how to react.
You make judgement calls all the time. When to wake up, what to wear, what time to leave, where to go. Some judgement is conditioned into you. Some you acquire along the way. When you meet people you judge them. When we drive a car, we make judgements all the time. Should I change lanes? How far ahead is the car in front of me? When to brake, accelerate, adjust direction, speed, turn on the wipers…. these are all judgements we make continuously as we drive along.
But there are judgements that are based on our upbringing, our need to be approving of those we like and critical of those we don’t. We like certain types of writing, hate some kinds of music. These are based on personal preferences. Some are irrational, conditioned reflexes based on whether our favourite nanny got sacked before we outgrew her or we didn’t get a slice of the cake we really wanted because some dragon lady glared at us. Or we are gullible, believe in every cause, consider ourselves righteous and faithful. We’ve judged ourselves to be a certain type of person. Or rather, we judge ourselves to be a model of what we believe a model person should be. We’re right, you’re not.
See, judgement is everywhere.
Book reviewers – judge.
Product reviewers – judge.
Blog readers – judge.
Bloggers – judge.
Your bosses – judge.
You eat certain kinds of meat? Oh my god? How can you?
You don’t eat garlic? Good lord, what’s wrong with you?
You pray to a certain god? You’re a fanatic!
You pray to a different god? You’re a loving, compassionate being.
You’re still reading this? My god! You’re deeply flawed!
Even HR people judge and they are the worst, most incompetent judges out there. See all these personality tests I listed above? HR people rely on rubbish like that. They call me a baby boomer, someone else a GenX or a Millenial and they assign attributes, completely arbitrarily to us. Why? Because .. oh watch this video. It will explain HR “testing and interviewing” practices.
Personally, such judgements based on when you were born are little better than relying on the daily Horoscope from the lovely Madame Zereldina, whose real name is probably Steve Jones, a 60-year-old cigar smoking man with a thick beard and moustache living in an apartment in uptown Toronto with 3 cats and a parakeet for company.
I have read many articles that tell me that the way you sit, dress, cross your legs and blink during a conversation apparently reveals a wealth of information about you. Judgement.
Judgement is everywhere. I just had a reader ask me to send my stories to him for his reading pleasure. He then went on to call me a “megalomaniac”. Judgement.
Others, have decided that I’m trying to win contests. Judgement.
The fact is to win contests, you have to first submit an entry. I haven’t, so by my judgement I’m not trying to win contests.
I think the folks who think I’m trying to win contests are morons, utter imbeciles and arrow-minded, petty cretins. See? Judgement.
There have been readers who have read and stayed away from leaving comments. I suppose some have nothing polite to say and are too polite to say what they feel. They’re making judgements.
Others have commented, generally positively. I don’t recall receiving any comments that are derisory or critical. Judgement has been delivered either by reading and commenting, reading and not commenting and by abstaining from reading altogether.
Judgement. It’s everywhere. Go get your share and dish it out freely. Don’t just seethe quietly when people judge you. Judge them right back!
That is why the internet, Facebook, Twitter et al were invented.
Have fun! Judging.
Remember, however, that Shylock’s effusive welcome of Portia with the words “A Daniel come to judgement” turned sour pretty darned quickly for him.
If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about in that previous sentence, you’re badly read.