Why am I proposing the personal pronouns we and us instead of the non-binary they and them? Nor do I mean the royal We and Us, but the humble we and us …the inclusive we and us. Perhaps then because they are even more powerful. We live in an epoch of divisiveness where they and them can signal mean discord in our communities and sometimes even in our families. They can accentuate otherness in a negative light. “I am a social democrat but those right-wing conservatives make my blood boil”; “I am a straight God-fearing man and those sinful gays will bring doom to my safe world view”; “I cannot stand to pass by those ugly neighbourhoods next to the highway… I cannot fathom how those folk can live like that”; “Strange food odours are coming from the new neighbours from wherever.”
You get the point… and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Judgement and its offspring Prejudice corrupt civil societies and they blind us to the reality of who we really are. They not only colour how we see each other, but they also mask how we see ourselves. On one hand, we see ourselves through a telescope that enlarges our ego, but on the other hand, we look at others through a microscope seeking out the defects.
What is a judgment? It is an opaque label that we stick on our mental image of others… and sometimes our self-image, thus blocking out the real person behind that label. The same is true for situations; our judgment in that case is a lens by which we try to make the situation a reflection of our values. All we may see on the label is a nomenclature and a fine printed list of ingredients with arbitrary percentages of daily values that help us choose whether we invest or not our energy. The truth is… our judgment is nothing but a projection of ourselves that blocks our view of reality and restricts our ability to see our true selves reflected back through the eyes of the other. What we like in others is what we find admirable in ourselves and what we dislike is what we detest in ourselves.
“Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur” – Saint Thomas of Aquinas1
Excessive judgment is learnt behaviour imparted to us from our society and so it can be unlearnt or at least, managed. Through conscious effort we should replace it with discernment which is necessary for our survival.
The difference is in the engagement… the willingness to not judge, to accept reality as it presents itself to us and to understand it. Conscious non-judgment allows us to be in a mindful relationship with life, with others and with ourselves.
Non-judgment brings truth and integrity back into our relationships and infuses life into our communities. We can dethrone the I and me from the pedestals of incivility and indifference in the increasingly individualist society that we have become. We are certainly more powerful than that and together, we can make miracles. Let Us shine our light into the dark and become beacons on the route to a better world.
Dear reader, I do hope that my words inspire you and that inspite of any differences we may have, we can all consider ourselves an integral part of this We are One community.
Pax, Lux et Amor
1: Whatever is received is received in the manner of the receiver – Saint Thomas of Aquinas