Why do I have this urge to simplify people? I'm pretty sure it's because judging people is incredibly exhausting. And let's face it; we judge people all the time. When we do it at the primal level we try to assess if someone is a threat to us. That means we need to do it fast. We need to observe as much about the subject as we can, cross-reference that to information we already have, and do that in the shortest amount of time possible. Our brains do this automatically to avoid being murdered, and so you can't really be mad at that. But beyond the primal instincts, judging people to understand their character really requires a lot of work and the only way you can do it without being a jerk is to put the work in. I think this is why we generally associate "being judgey" as a negative characteristic. Specifically that most of the time most people are lazy about it. The more time and effort you put into understanding another person's perspective, the more understandable their mindset and actions will be. I mean, what's negative about that? Nothing. That's why I think when we say someone is "judgey," what that really means is that they judge lazily. If everyone has an infinite amount of time, energy, and the desire to do so, we could all come to a universal truth about morality and how to classify everyone's character. In this impossible situation, very few people would likely fall into the asshole category, because there would be a handicap of understanding on every person. It would be like a giant game of golf where almost everyone ties for 1st place, because truly understanding who they are would apply an empathy handicap.
And so it would seem like I already know that I can't lump people into categories like this. And yet, I still feel the lazy primal judgey urge to do it. My newest thought is that I need to reframe the sorting process. If it lands on me to judge the subject's actions, I could be observing them incorrectly. If it lands on me to judge my own interpretation of their actions, that seems like it could be a truer verdict. It's really more about deciding how I see people, not deciding who people (that I don't truly know) really are.
This never-ending work in progress leads me to my newest categories. Yes, i've tossed out Assholes and Not Assholes, and I've replaced them with this over-worded complicated grading scale:
Here is the twist. It's not your typical 1-5 scale where 1 sucks and 5 is awesome. I actually think 2 is far worse than 1. All humans are ignorant about most things. While ignorance is not a virtue, it isn't "wrong" to not know something. Because the solution to not knowing something is to learn it. And if your only problem is that you have no idea that you are making other people's lives worse, than you can learn that, and correct it. However, if you do learn it, and choose not to correct it, then you have moved on to #2, which is clearly in the "asshole" category.
I'll even go as far to say that we shouldn't expect everyone to be a #5, either. Simply because what you THINK is positively affecting one person or group might actually be negatively affecting a different person or group. And so an attempt at #5 might actually land you at #3.
No, where we should all be, and also expect from each other, is #4.
I think what I was trying to do with the 2-group sorting system of Assholes and Not Assholes, was basically saying "Are you a 2 or a 4?" But that didn't take into account ignorance, intentions, and most importantly how I observe them. A #1 could mean the subject is ignorant to their effects on others, but a #1 could also mean that I AM NOT OBSERVANT enough to detect how subtle the subjects mindful actions are. It really puts it back on me. It's not "What kind of person is this?" but rather "How well am I seeing who they really are?"
Hi, i'm John(ny). I'm a middle-aged(?) husband and dad. I have a video/photo business that fills in all the gaps.