Wednesday, April 6, 2011


He's too fat. She's got facial hair. He looks super confident. She must have an easy life, being so beautiful and all.

We have all made these, and many other, judgments about other people. It's in our nature, we developed a brain that can process visual information to quickly respond with judgments to help us survive. Lots of sharp teeth? Danger. Slow and soft? Good eats. But when it comes to todays society I think we overuse that ability. Don't get me wrong, it certainly has its place, but not like it used too.

Recently I have come to realize how much I do this. It's all subconscious, but I still find myself regretting the conclusions I come to. I'll see someone and think 'Wow he looks like a total asshole!' before I even realize I have had the thought. I regret it because I have no way of knowing if he is actually an asshole. His physical appearance does not necessarily have a correlation with what he is like. He could be a loving family man, he could be a serial killer, he could be an artist, he could be dealing with the death of a loved one, he could just be having a bad day, and here I am, judging. Judging on appearances no less. What kind of bullshit is that?

It was hard when I realized I did this. Everyone likes to think of themselves as a good person, with only minor character flaws. But this was what seemed, to me anyways, like a huge hole in my 'good' person facade. Here I am, all smug and sure I am a good person, and I realize I have been judging people, picking them apart, and disliking them before I even meet them, all because they don't look like some ideal. I was actually kind of sick when it hit me that I did this ALL THE TIME! I was shell-shocked. I was finding reasons to hate complete strangers. Reasons to keep myself distanced, up on my pedestal, from the 'unwashed' masses. What kind of person does that?

Eventually I came too, and thought to myself, "Self, everyone does this." But that didn't make me feel better. Everyone does it? Why does that make it acceptable? It's a pack mentality, a group mindset. I felt even worse. Yes I'm running on my primal programming, but to whose benefit? Just because my brain says 'Hey do this!' doesn't mean I have to listen.

For the past 2 weeks I have been trying to minimize this. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try to be a morally upright human being. It's not that easy. It is certainly not easy to shift paradigms, and especially not in 2 weeks, but I'm trying. This life is the only one I get, and I aim to be the best person I can be. It can be hard to change, it certainly has been and I haven't made much progress yet, but it needs to be done. Sometimes you realize what you have been doing for years is wrong. Just plain, flat-out, horribly wrong. You can either continue down the easy familiar road, or strive to change. I don't want to be remembered as the guy who made fun of anyone who was different than him. I want to be remembered as the guy who always gave people a chance and let their deeds determine their worth. It's going to be an uphill battle, but it is one I intend to win.

Oh, and the funny thing is is this was all brought about by reading a comic. A comic of all things. I hope you all have a pleasant evening, and please try not to judge others on appearance, but on deed and character. Those are what matter.

1 comment:

  1. Totally with you on this. It is disturbingly shocking how often I find myself cutting into people. It is like a salmon swimming upstream to try to catch and resist these tendencies.