Sunday, August 01, 2010

Judging Others

I engage in judging other people on this blog. Often then, I feel guilty and go back and remove the judgements. This is disingenuous.

Judging the behavior or lifestyle of another person is valid when a person's behavior or lifestyle harms other people or animals, breaks the law or causes societal damage.

Other forms of judgement are usually personal in nature. It's ok not to like everybody. It's ok not to like everything other people do. But it doesn't mean what they do or how they behave is wrong. What we each define as right and wrong is variable. The law has its own assessment of right and wrong behavior, and its regulations are written and enforced as desired by the community and culture served. These codes vary greatly, from region to region and country to country.

How boring would this world become if everyone behaved, dressed, and believed exactly the same way? How boring would this world be if every house was painted exactly the same color and every yard maintained in exactly the same manner? What if everyone dressed exactly the same? What if everyone liked the exact same band or singer?

What if everyone went to the same church? Or believed the exact same political propaganda?

What if everyone on earth read only one book?

What if it was law that everyone had to be exactly the same, look exactly the same and live exactly the same?

In some places on earth, there have been attempts to control humans that come close to this. N. Korea comes to mind.

Laws can be made to control outward human behavior. Sometimes these laws carry such heavy penalties, that people's minds become numb and the fear turns minds robotic with allegiance.

Laws regulating behavior should be, in my opinion, few. This allows people to think, progress or degrade, but by their own choice. We, in America, like to blame one man, the President, for all our countries woes. We, the people, have every ability to create change in our communities regardless of the government. That we expect government to solve our problems is a problem.

I give you the example of Linn County and its excess cats. Most counties have animal control shelters. People take their excess unwanted cats and kittens to these shelters, where, out of sight to the public's knowledge or eyes, most are killed. Cute little adorable kittens are killed! When the public has access to out of sight out of mind government subsidized killing of the results of their bad behavior, the bad behavior will continue unabated by educational programs.

However, when the results of such behavior have no easy solution, like taking unwanted cats and kittens to an animal control shelter subsidized heavily by taxpayers, where the perpetrators of the atrocity can walk away and tell themselves "all is well, they'll get homes" no change in behavior occurs.

In Linn County, no such solution currently exists and hasn't now for three years. What has been the result? The county put a small amount of money into a spay neuter fund. Albany has done so each year also. Cats are being fixed by the score, probably in far greater numbers per capita than anywhere else in the state. That's just a guess.

The overpopulation problem, with its taxpayer funded solution at county animal control shelters, mirrors the problem with much government intervention: adverse behaviors are encouraged, condoned, so the problem the solution addresses, gets worse not better.

I have strayed from my original intent with this post. Judging, when is it appropriate?

I don't know if judging others ever produces a change in adverse behaviors. I know it feels good to do so, at least for me, like a quick fix, like releasing steam built up by a fire, so there is no explosion. I vent primarily when I'm fed up with encountering too many assholes. I define assholes as people who behave in a way that affects me directly.

I.E. neighbors who seem obsessed with my yard. Like people who don't fix their pets, then call me, wanting me to solve their problem at no cost to them. Like drug and criminal activity that actually sparks fear in me for my own safety and that of my cats. Like child and animal abuse and neglect, and the latter is so common here I get new cats showing up in my yard every month. Like alcoholism because when surrounded by so many people who drink heavily it is so hard to find anyone not "owned" by alcohol, with whom I might become friends or with whom I might even otherwise converse with. You can't have a conversation with people dedicated first and foremost to drugs and alcohol. Like those who are steeped in and in love with their own inadequacies, dancing with them every waking moment, unable to see what they actually could do.

Granted, all of the above "assholes", as defined by me, are actually asshole behaviors, and do not address the individual behind the behaviors. The words of most people can be discarded as ineffective windows into their true souls. I've only discovered this in the last years of my life. Words are so experience defined and since each of our experiences are different, they are easily misinterpreted.

In short, have I judged you? Has someone else judged you? Take most judgement with a grain of salt and stiff upper lip. They're words only. Sometimes judgement statements are highly needed for a person to progress and should be heeded. In this politically correct whiny age, a person being judged or critiqued has learned to take offense immediately, even seek out a lawyer, instead of hearing what another is saying and perhaps looking inside to find truth to the judgement.

A man told me recently he was building something inside a woman's place to help her climb into bed. It was for a fiend of his wife's. While his wife kicked at his leg to shut him up, he told the woman, "Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to lose 100 pounds?" He was right to say that. Keeping our mouths shut is not always best for people.

I trapped cats for a woman who has chronic back issues. She is applying for disability. She is about 16 years younger than I am. She weighs close to 350 pounds. Her 17 year old son already had to have his gall bladder removed from drinking at least a gallon of milk a day. She has had a rough life. I asked her, because I was searching for an exercise partner, if wouldn't be healthier to just start an exercise program. Her apartment was littered in empty pizza and donut boxes. She was not willing.

I was in the system for 30 years. The system teaches you to be the least you can be, instead of helping people out of it. This is in part because of our difficulty with the concept of judging others. And yet, tough love approaches can actually help people overcome symptoms of deeper problems and create wonderful positive changes that eventually over ride the deeper issues that caused peripheral problems. This approach could have saved my future, when I entered the system damaged and young, rather than what happened--tagging me with labels, over drugging me and stuffing me away as a useless human being. It's not too late. This approach could still be implemented for many of Oregon's social problems, saving people's futures and taxpayers money.

The truth has become unspeakable.

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