Tag: Judgment

REALITY: Objectivity is Subjective

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Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped.

This truth is becoming more and more clear to me.

I recently visited a friend who lives in a place of complete disrepair, dirt and discomfort.

In my opinion.

However, because I love her so much, I listened to her perspective of her home. She feels such gratitude for her heavenly, peaceful retreat. While she shared that she dreams of having a functioning kitchen, she simultaneously acknowledged the enormous improvements in her home already. She has a vision of what it is to become and in the meantime she is surrounded by her books, music, art and her home-made gourmet meals.

This was a powerful example to me that every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint.

There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this perspective, it is all mine.

Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me.

Of course I am influenced by my culture and environment. Whether I live in Indonesia, Africa or wherever, I will take on that culture’s viewpoint and thought-patterns. But overall what I build depends on the experiences I’ve had, the books I’ve read, and the people I’ve met.

This means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me.

This means that I must stop judging others!! I absolutely, positively must stop acting as the authority on everyone’s life, because I do not know their viewpoint, background, purpose or goal in life.

This leaves me with the responsibility for my own life, determining what is right for me without hurting others, yet being discerning about what I want to surround myself with.

No one can tell me what I should do, nor can I tell anyone what is in their best interest. That is why a good counselor or therapist will listen, truly listen to your subjective life experience and elicit the best answer for you.

Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all.

This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.

This contemplation was written in conjunction with a piece by David of Raptitude.

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Are you weirder than me?

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I recently moved because of my neighbors. I couldn’t live next to those weird people anymore.

We, the neighbors and I, judged one another harshly for being different.

We couldn’t accept each other.

It just seems so difficult to do with all these weird people around us!  Don’t you think those thoughts? Don’t you believe that your lifestyle is really the best way and if everyone just understood that, the world would be a better place?

I sure did.

Staying in the same place all their lives is some people’s idea of a good life, while others love to travel and move around. Some wouldn’t do without a routine; others can’t stand the same thing every day. Some people stay married for life and judge others for getting divorced.

And what is it with gay people? Are they born that way or did they learn that? What about people that hoard, or women with muffin tops and super-tight shirts? What are they thinking? Why do some people, especially guys, talk sooo loud on their cell-phones in public?

We could go on all day like that. It’s really easy to get stuck on someone else’s odd behavior.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Mostly because I want to be loving and accepting.

My parents were incredibly judgmental about others, about the smallest stuff even, like the way someone wore their hair or their make-up. One day I listened to my mom go on about the way my aunt was chopping onions. I mean really, what difference does it make?

It made me want to figure out how we could learn to accept each other more.  Would it really be better if we were all similar?

I decided to look at Nature. It is incredibly diverse.

Just look at a rose, such beauty that comes with thorns. How about a dandelion, a flower that changes and then you can puff it into the wind? There are rare, exotic flowers and there are wildflowers, there are brightly colored flowers, intricate and simple flowers. Some are long blooming and some have a very brief lifespan.

What about the animals? Some mate for life, some never mate. Some live in groups, some are loners. Some prefer same sex, some are loud, some are quiet, some are big, some are little, some are lazy, some super-industrious………..

My point is, whatever you can dream up, exists in nature. Pretty awesome, wouldn’t you say?

So if it is present in nature, it can’t be absent in human nature.

Human nature mirrors nature!

We CAN accept, appreciate and love the presence of all human nature’s weirdness. We don’t have to hang out with it if it isn’t our thing. We have to take responsibility for surrounding ourselves with what feels right to us, what works for us…….sometimes that means moving.

 

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