Judging others has become the new ‘hot’ thing.
People so desperately want to feel important, that judgment of/hating on others is where they get their current dopamine fix.
Once people see others who are judging celebrated, they realize they’d enjoy that celebration too, and attempt to create enough judgment to be the recipient of similar rewards.
They want to feel part of the group, and unfortunately they see there is a new team to join, where if they just join the judgment, they’ll be praised/accepted.
Everybody is getting in on it.
The more people who participate, the more the disease spreads.
No one wants to get left behind.
It’s like it’s some perverted accomplishment if you can get a lot of likes for putting others down.
Like many things in life(the market, the economy, etc…) trends tend to work on a pendulum.
Right now judging others is at the extreme end of the pendulum.
Many who are participating today will likely want to hide their participation trophy in the future.
Some people get off wanting to cancel others.
It’s today’s version of the Roman Colosseum. People want to see blood.
“Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”
They can sit on the sidelines of life, extending their arm, and like a Roman emperor, expose their thumb in the direction of whether the person lives or dies.
Then they’re hooked.
It felt too good wielding that kind of power to not play again, even if the imaginary role of importance of pales in comparison to their reality. The one they’ve failed to create for themselves, so the judgment of others will have to do as a consolation prize.
Most cancellers are unintentionally canceling themselves; they just don’t understand it yet.
When the pendulum eventually swings back to the other side and everyone casting stones realizes the crowd has dispersed, and here they sit alone, without thoughts/decisions of their own, the people they’ve judged won’t be the most negatively affected. It will be them and anyone else attempting to prop themselves up by putting others down.
Since they aren’t first order consequences, they don’t realize the damage the 2nd and 3rd order consequences are quietly inflicting on them.
They fail to realize they’re only being celebrated by others judging. And once that crowd follows the next crowd, as they always do, the ones that remain will have the choice to follow the crowd again, or to begin to think for themselves.
They may leave, but the damage they’ve done from the judgment they’ve been so excited to cast may not.
99%+ don’t stop to consider why they are judging as they do it.
Everytime you judge you spotlight for where you currently are, and attract others who are playing at that same place.
They think in their judgment of another they’re showing where that person is at. But really, they’re just showing where they themselves are even though they don’t know that’s what they’re doing. They’re just unintentionally broadcasting to you exactly where they’re at.
Me, you, and everyone else has participated at some point.
And everytime we do, we’re playing a flawed game.
Missing the whole point of it all.
We don’t need to judge ourselves for the flawed game we slip into, we just need to catch our own reflection in our judgment, and adjust accordingly.
See everyone as a mirror
When you see someone else, you are looking into a mirror.
They reflect back what you need to see about yourself.
Instead of judging them for something you thought about them, you should be thanking them for that lesson that they taught you about yourself.
Instead of analyzing what about them you are judging, as to how they are or they should be different or act different, you should analyze what it is within you that is feeling the need to judge.
Because if you felt 100% perfect with everything, you wouldn’t be judging them.
So again, it has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with you.
The next time you judge someone, inquire what it is within you that felt the need to judge?
And the same is true if you feel judged. Understand it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the one judging.
Something you said or did stirred something up within them.
But it was not you.
You just happened to be their mirror this time.
Showing them what they need to see about themselves, if they’re willing to look.
So few people are in the present though that they don’t take the time to observe their thoughts to realize this is what’s happening.
Just understand we are nothing but a mirror for each other.
This allows you to continue on in your game in a more optimal way – making changes within yourself instead of constantly pointing out the things you view as flaws in others. As these perceived flaws exist not in them, but in your perception of them.
Observe the thoughts that come up.
And be thankful for the lesson.
It’s easy to just tell ourselves to stop judging, but it’s more likely to stick if we learn why it’s happening.
So where does judgment come from?
Judgment comes from the desire to feel a certain way about oneself.
It feeds the ego what it feels it needs in the moment. That’s the payoff.
Those that don’t feel the need to judge have just unhooked the egoic rewards from judgment.
They’ve removed the payoff.
No payoff, no need to judge.
The easiest way to remove this payoff is to observe what’s actually happening in the exchange.
It lies in the perspective shift to understand that if they place judgment they are reflecting back something about themselves, NOT someone else to put down for whatever reason you’re stirred up about.
Instead of using whatever has been stirred up in them as their justification for judgment, they start understanding that’s where their work is. They peeked at the opportunity to judge and instead merely notice the reflection in the mirror. And they let judgment drop.
The dopamine supply has run dry on judgment when understood from that perspective.
So they become unattached from the payoff that comes from judgment of another.
The desire to judge ceases.
It ceases due to the realization that they’ve been unintentionally outing themselves, and worse, putting it on public display.
And if we look deeper into how ego gets involved in judgment, it comes from comparison.
It’s often why people feel the need to either put someone down or boost themselves up.
It’s from the perspective of where they see themselves vs. what they are seeing someone else say or do.
Ego won’t be triggered to pull out the gun of judgment if there is no comparison to spark it.
If someone says, “I made a sandwich”, there is no reason for anyone’s ego to get involved. It’s unlikely that even the gluten free’ist of us will take offense and welcome our ego to the party.
But now let’s say they said, “I made $10 million.”
Some egos will wake up from their slumber.
That statement, despite being the exact same statement as the sandwich, has triggered the ego of some. This ego may or may not publicly reveal they’ve been triggered.
The person who merely stated their version of making a sandwich, is judged not because of what they said, but very clearly because the variable they used as their ‘sandwich’, is something the judge’r is insecure about.
Not many people are insecure about sandwiches.
Many people are insecure about money.
So they may throw judgment to make themselves feel better about the comparison their ego is calculating.
And it is comparison based. This is where the ego gets involved.
No comparison, no trigger.
No triggered ego, no judgment.
For example, if they said “I made an extra dollar”, no one is going to judge. There is nothing for their ego to be concerned about. They don’t see an extra dollar as any sort of threat to their ego, so despite any insecurities about money they may have, there is no judgment.
It’s only when ego brings in the comparative measuring stick.
Once the ego and the comparative measuring stick join forces, like the mixing of two colors, it bleeds into its own new color.
That color is judgment.
The desire comes from wanting people to view them in a certain way, or even view themselves in a certain way.
So once someone does or says something that risks the possibility of their desired image, they need an egoic fix, fast! And they call on the quickest one they can think of: judgment.
Someone making a sandwich stirs up nothing because it affects no image that they wish to portray about themselves.
Someone making $10 million may stir up a LOT for someone with money insecurities.
“Pshh, must be luck.”
“Must have been super risky then.”
“People with that much money are greedy.”
“Look at that guy bragging.”
No one thought the guy making a sandwich was bragging, or greedy, or got lucky.
The judge’r portrays where they themselves are, NOT where the ‘sandwich maker’ of whatever variable they are stirred up about, is.
They are merely displaying the perspective they see the world through.
Putting someone down and/or putting themselves up, makes them feel they are portraying the image that they desire people or themselves to have about them.
They felt comparatively inadequate, and judgment makes them temporarily feel better because they come under the belief they have put themselves back above the person they were judging who made them feel so insecure.
They don’t recognize all they did was display to everyone else what they’re insecure about.
Think about why you don’t see people running around judging a leaf, or the grass.
Why don’t we see this kind of ludicrous exchange, but the ludicrous human interactions are so popular they aren’t even seen as ludicrous?
It’s because your ego doesn’t feel threatened by the action of the leaf.
No perceived threat, no silly attempt to use judgment as a protective mechanism for your desired image you wish to portray of yourself.
You might prefer one thing or another, but there is no emotion behind it because you don’t view yourself in a comparative sense, so ego is unaffected.
Once ego gets involved, emotions get involved. Then you ‘know’ exactly what someone else should be doing or saying.
Judgment comes from wanting to look/feel good, or from attempting not to look/feel bad.
The same person who felt the need to judge someone talking openly about money might not feel the need to judge someone talking about fitness. Because they happen to feel secure about their fitness but not about money. And vice versa, someone who wasn’t triggered about money now becomes randomly enraged about someone openly sharing their fitness journey. When you really break down the variables and the reactions it’s easy to see what’s happening.
An unrealized side effect of staying in a perception where they believe judgment is protecting them, they’re actually keeping themselves trapped.
They don’t realize the same thing they fear(judgment) about their area of (lack of confidence) is what keeps it there.
They are practicing what they are attempting to avoid, thus unintentionally training themselves that judgment is the norm and should be expected. They are being the type of person they most fear. This further traps themselves in their insecurities. So they stay in that perspective, and remaining there keeps their ego continually triggered by the risk of being exposed for what ‘they are’ vs what they desire others to see them as.
Their jugement continues, and their cycle goes on.
And their cycle goes on, because judgment continues.
Hell of a trap.
So if you are being judged, just realize you are not what they are judging. They are sharing their own insecurities – and going after something they believe will temporarily make them feel better by attempting to weaken a position they view as against or exposing their insecurity.
With the click of a button you can get your dopamine fix.
But you can only get so much dopamine from watching. But in participating, you can increase your dopamine intake. Judging what others are saying or doing is the quickest route for a higher dopamine hit.
Most aren’t saying anything that they don’t think other people will agree with. They think they’ll receive likes, praise or even belief that their statement may confuse others into thinking they are an authority of some sort, despite saying or doing nothing original. They’re just being today’s version of a loud sheep.
Almost everyone is pandering to the crowd.
They’re not saying anything that they think could risk them being outcast from the group. It’s all about getting more power from the group.
They don’t realize the most powerful players aren’t giving them any of their power.
They are generating power from the weakest players in the group.
It’s become a popularity contest to show how much better we are than everyone. But to do so in a way where we don’t actually work to get better at anything, we just attempt to make others look worse. Way easier!
It is of the same thread as cancel culture. ‘If I see you getting too high, I will take you down. I don’t want you to be too high. I will put you down. I will find something I think other people will view as a flaw in you, and I will bank on other them joining me in your demise.’
Groupthink is in full effect.
People that never had a chance to be recognized for something…
THIS is their shot.
They can become popular now by being the loudest of those living in judgment.
What a RUSH!
Why spend years or decades creating value in the world, when you perceive the possibility of reaping the same level of dopamine by putting those people down.
Just takes a few keystrokes of judgment, and the click of a button.
And all the people trying to confirm their own bias look for the most vial/aggressive forms for their confirmation bias, and spread the judgment/hate.
“Look how much better I am than you” comes in many different forms. Social media is still relatively new, and people are unintentionally conditioning themselves to become someone they definitely do not want to be. But as they say, you can’t escape a trap you don’t know you’re in.
It has become much more popular to judge than to create.
To hate, than to help.
You win more points in this day in age.
These points breed a certain kind of behavior.
People hesitate to share original thoughts, or create new things, knowing the mass judgment that awaits them. It is easier to join team judgment. It feels safer there.
And the pendulum keeps swinging, further than it ever should have.
Few are thinking for themselves. So because most lack their own thoughts, telling others that their thoughts are wrong is the path of least resistance.
This creates the vicious cycle we’ve been in where no one even shows interest in the others viewpoint or what data they used to come to that conclusion, and instantly go into “my way of thinking is better than yours, so you can’t be right.”
And they don’t stop to realize:
They don’t even think their own thoughts!
Rinse repeat, and we’ve just got a bunch of people judging everyone else, and the disease spreads.
In judging, you are missing the entire point of the game.
You stay in the perception of the judge, until you take time to step back and realize you are almost never qualified to be the judge in the spots you choose to participate. Your twitter finger of a gavel confuses you into thinking you’ve earned the right to judge.
You get the dopamine rush of judgment AND you get people agreeing with you.
That feels GOOD. Double dopamine!
Most stay blind to the fact they are often in a confirmation bias loop. Seek out those that share the same exact opinions, and agree with what each other says. Helping each other get high off this continual dopamine exchange blinds them to the fact that they are only seeking opinions of those that agree with them.
Let’s consider what judgment is.
It is associated with decision making. But ironically someone in a mode of casting judgment is not in the proper frame of mind and likely lacks necessary data for optimal decision making.
Here are multiple, literal descriptions of judgment:
the evaluation of evidence to make a decision
the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions
The funny thing is almost no one has any training on being an optimal decision maker.
Watching all the judgment these days is like seeing a 5 year old tee-baller roll up to a major leaguer and telling him how he should have played.
The only person who doesn’t realize the absurdity of it is the judge’r.
The 5 year old, t-ballin judge’r.
We are all that judge’r at some point, and when in that state we are the only one who doesn’t realize it. We’re merely part of the show for everyone else, showing them all what we need to work on as we proudly proclaim what someone else needs to work on.
Not only do most never learn how to come to an optimal conclusion, maybe more dangerously they skip the chance to learn empathy and instead become a full-time, unpaid judge. One with no decision making background, but a judge nonetheless.
And they feel personally attacked if anyone disagrees with any judgment they’ve come to. You know, the one they came to with no data and no background in decision making. But if your ideas are different, ‘you’re wrong’, and they can quickly google an article to confirm their bias to show you how ‘right’ they are, not realizing they’re just finding another ‘them’ to confirm their bias. One whose source for their article was another article to confirm their bias.
If someone took a real look at their decision making process, or lack thereof, they would immediately see the hilarity in attempting to judge others. But it depends on people learning to think for themselves.
Until then, as they say…
The emotional tail wags the rational dog
The ability to make great decisions stems from the collection of data, and the ability to know what to do with the data once you’ve collected it.
Not only do most people spend no time learning decision making, they usually don’t even spend a second to collect data to better understand an idea another side is saying.
Their conditioning moves them straight to judgment.
“Who needs data when I can just skip to telling them they’re wrong/I’m right!?
When someone lets emotion instead of logic run the show on their path to judgment, you’re choosing to work with limited data.
And placing a judgment based on the very limited data that you understand.
You’re using a limited, and sometimes non existent data set to state the reality that should exist.
You think you understand.
Which is why you judge.
But because your emotions are running the show, you fail to realize your judgment comes from a place of you wanting to feel superior. And you need others to know it.
But what you don’t want them to know is you’ve done nothing that would lead you to an optimal conclusion.
You’ve skipped that step. The entire logical decision making process that would allow you to get there.
You are hurting and hindering yourself as much or more than the person you’re throwing your unearned judgment on, because you not only condition yourself to come to conclusions with no data or optimal decision making process, but you fail to even improve yourself and your viewpoints by failing to learn new information about what you are ‘so sure’ is wrong, based on your 0 minutes of thinking your own thoughts about it.
So ironically in attempting to make another inferior by painting yourself ‘superior’, you remain inferior. At least to any improved version of yourself. And that’s the only comparison that’ll end up mattering anyways.
You pass on the chance to grow into a better version of yourself, for the dopamine you get in an attempt to point out the inferiority of another.
If you introduce logic, judgment can kind of naturally fall away because you’re just making observations with the data. The opportunity to judge will still be presented to you, but this way you can do so on the actual decisions and facts, versus attempting to tear down a person.
Virtue signaling is an interesting judgment topic.
Because ironically, most people recognizing virtue signaling are just stating where they themselves are, NOT where the person they’re accusing of virtue signaling to be. Everything is shown to us through our perspective. So the idea that you see what someone shares in a certain way shows not an interpretation of the person you judge, but YOUR interpretation. It shows your view of the world.
And as discussed, you have limited data so you being in judgment is a statement that you understand so deeply about not only what they know and/or were trying to say with what they know, but that you are a person who decides whether it’s beneficial or not for others.
The person attempting to call out a virtue signaling, is themselves signaling their own virtue.
Their view of the world only lets them see the other saying, “look where I’m at”. That is their personal translation of the others limited communication tool of language.
That person, judgment finger on the trigger, says, “ya but I’m so woke that I don’t need to even say that.”
And they fail to realize they just DID. But worse, because their signal of virtue was based on the judgment of another, in which their judgment comes with an interpretation through language, one of which they hold limited data for.
So in layman’s terms, they say, “I don’t like virtue signaling, so I’m going to judge you in an attempt to virtue signal and show how much better than doing that I am.”
Virtue signaling squared.
It’s become popular to virtue signal those you assume are virtual signaling, under the guise that’s not what you’re doing. Again, participating in judgment with no risks. Attempting to take others down a notch is easier than taking others up. So people find new ways to do this.
And again, they’re just showing you where they’re at.They’re definitely not showing you where the person they’re judging is at.
If we decide to go a level deeper, we’d need to consider the game we are playing.
And if we assume the game has a point, a large % of people with enough time to reflect, will often come to a conclusion that the whole game is “love”. Or if they’re uncomfortable with that word, they may say “service”.
We’d realize judgment stops us from getting to a point where we could participate there.
I’m not talking about some one-off action where you felt you were acting from a place of love for a moment, but in maximizing your time spent living from that perspective.
Judgment stops you from getting to the point where you could get there.
Not only that, it stops you from even understanding another person’s point of view where you could even have the possibility to operate from a place of love.
You can’t operate from a place of love and judgment simultaneously.
It doesn’t work.
Most judgment comes from a lack of understanding. And judgment blocks your ability to understand.
And if you can’t understand, how can you love?
Not taking time to understand leads to more judgment, because you’re still only making decisions from your point of view.
And again, if you’re making decisions only from your point of view you don’t have the ability to judge… By the literal definitions of judgment.
If given a choice to empathize or judge…
Most fall into their conditioning of judgment.
A choice to judge would block or at least heavily limit empathy.
The second order consequence would be the blockage of love due to the missing ingredient of empathy to fully understand another.
If you can’t fully understand them, you can’t truly see from their perspective.
If you can’t see from their actual perspective, you limit the level of empathy.
A mere theoretical understanding of empathy would severely limit the capacity to love.
If instead, you changed the lens you view life through, playing for the short term dopamine boosts at the expense of others starts feeling like a silly, suboptimal game.
But it can only ever be seen in stepping out of judgment. If you only ever swim in the waters of judgment, your next stroke will see you surrounded by the same water. You must step out for at least a moment, and view the water from the outside.
This gives you a shot to jump into new waters, which swim a bit differently.
But you can’t while still splashing around in the one you’re in.
You can’t analyze what it’d be like to not judge, while living in judgment.
Since judgment tends to just be a defense mechanism, people who are judged then react by judging the judge’r.
It’s just a giant judgment game that everybody’s losing.
If you win, you lose.
‘I feel weak because I’m being judged, so I’m going to judge to feel more powerful.’
We’re in the judgment olympics and everyones unfortunate enough to get a gold medal.
The prize: our life is worse.
Success of any idea depends on that idea spreading. The judgment epidemic has already infected just about everyone. It takes knowing you are infected, to have any chance to get better. And you getting better, is the best thing you can do to help others get better.
And know this:
You would be EXACTLY the person you are judging, had you had their exact history, surrounding, upbringing, etc… YOU WOULD BE THEM. You and every other judge on the planet. Would be EXACTLY them, making the same decisions and taking the same actions. So if you find yourself so knowledgeable that you know exactly what everyone else should be doing, take one second to look through an empathetic lens to realize YOU WOULD BE THEM if you went through every step they’ve walked. And in that second you’ll see a perspective in which you’re reminded of an opportunity to help rather than to judge.
Empathy over judgment
Don’t always desire to be the 8 year old on the playground, pointing at someone who you view as less than your mighty view, hoping others join in to feed your untamed ego.
If we’re going to judge, judging an action vs. the person is ideal, but it’s a slippery slope that can easily fall right back into the same judgment.
Or, we could aim for a net positive result. Though, a net positive result depends on someone having enough data to know what an optimal decision would be and that’s not limited to an immediate effect, but 2nd and 3rd order consequences must be considered. And let’s be real, close to 0% people think in a way that is going to have them becoming that type of decision maker any time soon. And even the few that do can use that as a trap to judge.
So we could simplify and say, “are you saying something to help, or to hurt?
If it could be argued as a judgment, evaluate the goal of your judgment. Are you making any sort of possible change with your judgment? Is there a net positive?
If not, outside of egoic purposes what is your goal? Consider that there isn’t one.
Does that mean don’t share opinions? Quite the opposite. Sharing opinions is what helps everyone learn perspectives. It’s when judgment enters the arena that things change.
Less judging = more opinions. More opinions = more data. More data while continued lack of judgment = the search for more data. More data = better decisions. Better decisions = optimal solutions are found. Everyone benefits from these solutions rather than the alternative, where everyone pretends to know things they don’t know, which incentivizes no one to seek out new data or listen to opposing opinions.
Is there an optimal time to know when it’s okay to judge vs when not to? If there is, I sure haven’t figured it out yet.
Comedians judge people all the time and it’s hilarious and I hope they never stop.
But this judgment epidemic has us all in a funny spot where it’s hard to keep up with everything that everyone’s offended about.
I feel like I need a weekly report of all the new things people are offended by.
People take just enough time off from judging others to let everyone else know all the new ways they decided they feel judged.
Amazing! You can’t make this stuff up.
Am I some perfect, non-judging person?
A couple times in writing this piece I felt a little judgment try and creep up for anyone who might read this and judge me for writing it.
We’re a funny bunch.
This wasn’t meant to be some definitive post on judgment, just some thoughts I was thinking as I notice more patterns and destructive participation in the epidemic, and it turned out a bit longer than planned.
What I do know is the pendulum has swung very close to the end.
And I can tell you if judgment was a stock, now is the time I’d be shorting the sh*t out of it.
If you desire suffering, for you and others, increase judgment.
Once egoic desires are diminished, the desire to judge is diminished.
Once judgment is heavily diminished you’ll experience a different kind of life.
If you just play with the perspective shift(as a game) that everyone you meet has come to teach you something, the desire to judge will weaken.
Let your selfish desire to grow overpower your selfish desire to judge.
If judgment was magically eliminated today, the world would radically change very quickly in ways people could not fathom.