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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Mar 1, 2012, 12:49 AM

3. The word "judgment" has two broad categories of meaning


The first meaning relates to evaluation, discernment or assessment. This meaning is oriented toward reaching a factual conclusion based on observations. We all do this. So long as we remember that all such conclusions are provisional and depend on the validity of our observations, it presents no real problem.

The more problematic meaning is that of approval or condemnation - especially the latter. I tend not to judge peoples' beliefs, but rather their actions. If someone behaves well - charitably, helpfully, lovingly - then I don't care if their motivation springs from a belief in inclusive fitness or a belief in heaven and hell. If someone behaves harmfully or hatefully, I don't care if they believe in eternal salvation or social Darwinism. Their actions are the important thing.

Yet even when someone behaves poorly I tend to cut them a lot of slack. This is because I believe in the value of compassion - I follow the advice, "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Learning how to cut people slack is an ongoing process, because I have spent over 50 years operating from judgment and so far only a handful operating from compassion.

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