"Right and wrong
is purely a fantasy of the mind."
-- Albert K Strong
My Life Lessons
Life Lesson #19
There isn't much space between judgment and justification.
For most of us, as with me, we are taught a whole lot of ways to make judgement. Right and wrong, good and bad, plus and minus, positive and negative, and a thousand shades and variations on this theme. But the thing that has impressed me the most, is learning that all of these judgments are just opinions. It may be my opinion that I learned from an authority figure, or from books, or church, but it is just an opinion. We make a decision that something is this way or that, when in reality it just is and all the rest of the labels we give it are totally made up.
In this respect, there is no such thing as right or wrong, good or bad, it just is what it is. Yet, when we label it and judge or justify as a result of our thinking of the label and what it means to us, that thing that just is will be turned into something much greater.
Then we have a tendency to justify more by seeking people with very similar opinions or judgments. And, it doesn't matter how many ban together about the thing because it still is what it is, yet the fantasy of the thing continues to morph into something else.
The truth is that we decide what is right and wrong and good and bad and everywhere in between. And we can change that thought any time we like and see a different perspective--perhaps even the opposite perspective than we had known.
This fantasy of something being right and that people will all find it someday and know it as truth is far fetched. They will see whatever they see and decide whatever they will decide, while the thing is still the thing without any labels at all. Completely neutral.
Carl Jung said that "everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." This idea has helped me to consider my irritation when it exists and to examine myself, or my thinking about that to try to understand better what is really going on.
Of course this goes both ways too. Sally Field said it well when she said, "It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes." We can stand in judgement of others and we can also allow them to stand in judgment of us, and that is also often enough an interpretation based on not feeling good about ourselves.
We also often use different standards. For example, Ian Percy said that, "we judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions." The ego sure doesn't like to be anything except above the crowd, and perfect in every way.
I still judge people, things and events. I'm not certain that I will ever be completely free of it, and I mean this differently than discernment where I am making choices based on how I feel about something or someone. But, my awareness of this idea that right or wrong is just my opinion has helped me to tone down the righteousness and indignation, and even change my thinking mid-stream sometimes by reminding myself to pause and reflect a bit before passing judgment thoughtlessly, or by rote.
I Have A Lot Of Opportunities To Make Better Choices. I Need The Practice.
Spread Some Joy Today--by showing your own. It's unmistakable.