Archive for the 'judgment' Category

Artificial byproduct or precious goal?

October 18, 2013

Well, I’m glad somebody had more patience with the NYTimes and their focus on debunking faith than I do.  There’s a letter today that talks about the writer’s research finding that people who endure trauma need their faith.

This way of stating the scientist perspective makes it easier to see the resolution:  faith is both a byproduct of trauma and a goal of development.

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations of late have talked about the role of suffering in our spiritual development, including today’s.  Religion and the letter writer (Shane Sharp, an assistant professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University) are in agreement:  trauma can result in the state of mind of faith.

Scientists seem to think of this result as an artificial state of mind, while the religious camp sees it as reaching a desirable goal.  They are describing the same thing, only characterizing it differently.  The disagreement is all about the adjectives, the judgment of the phenomenon.

That leads to the questions of, why we are judging the phenomenon, how we should judge it, by what criteria are we judging it, etc.

But it also, for me, provides the unification of the two competing camps:  the phenomenon occurs, our need to appraise it is just our human need, not one that exists outside of ourselves.

At the highest reaches of the universe there is no appraising and judging.  It is the state of achieving “Let it be.”  In scientific circles I thought we focus on the objective and withhold our editorial response.

We can all just rest on the narrow point of equilibrium that suffering produces the phenomenon of faith, that faith exists.

Some of us celebrate it, some of us deride it, some of us rely on it, some of us wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.  But we agree that the phenomenon exists.

That, to me, is an example of how we bridge a perceived gap.

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Not judging

May 1, 2013

Not being judgmental is not about making an assessment and then suspending it through an act of will but about having no interest in making an assessment in the first place.

My apologies for not knowing whom to credit for this point.

Righteous indignation and moral superiority

February 11, 2012

I’ve thought about the basis for an urge to feel righteously indignant or morally superior, and my current theory is that they arise out of need to believe that someone in a previous situation could have done better by me, and my desire not to let go of that assessment of the situation.  So, I think, “Well, they could have done better [otherwise it’s my own issue to heal my own damage and not insist the other person help me out], I would have done better — better could have been done and the outcome would have been fairer if it had.  And I somehow should have gotten that outcome.”

If I hold on to my desire to make them responsible and to my belief that they should have done better because I would have, then I can feel indignant and superior.  But if the attribution of responsibility is misplaced (including because my theory of causation in general is inadequate and inaccurate) or I don’t or can’t know how I would have done in their role, then I have to admit they have no demerit and I have no leg up on them.

Eventually if I do that, I end up separating the redressing of damage from judgment on the other person.  I may try to avoid repeating the situation with the person, but I stop expecting them to change or to fix things.

I’m okay at practicing this technique of perspective, especially over time, but I have found I have an Achilles’ heel in my willingness to use it — I have a really hard time when the other person insists on attributing blame themselves to other people, either regarding the situation in which we were involved or regarding some other situation.  If I’m going to see things less judgmentally, something in me wants them not to get unhelpful emotional satisfaction themselves from seeing things judgmentally.  Of course, how they see things is none of my business.  But it bothers me if they judge others in a way they are not being judged, and I think that part of my frustration is my sense that by doing this, they are insulating themselves from learning not to profit personally from others’ kindness.  Eventually I hope to learn to let go of that attachment, too.