You’re standing in line at a convenience store. Ahead of you in the line is a young boy and his mother, they’re fighting, the boy wants a toy. The son reaches for a keychain for the 3rd time. Almost immediately, he gets denied by his mom with a reflexive slap on the wrist and she says in a quiet yet firm tone, “wait ’till we get home, you won’t disobey me again”. The boy cries and throws a fit as he is dragged out of the store. The cashier looks at you trying to get a subtle hint of what you’re thinking, you look at her with a blank expression on your face. You realize that she wants to say something about what had just happened. You simply say, “I don’t judge” with an inkling of a grin on your face. She looks at you almost taken aback by what you had just said, she then gives half of a laugh that’s comparable to a “haha” when you’re texting someone and trying to be polite even though nothing he or she said made you physically laugh. You walk out of the store with your candy bar and rip into it while thinking about what just happened. The cashier almost seemed annoyed that you said “I don’t judge”. But why?
I’m not sure why that moment stuck with me so much. Maybe it was her blonde hair with the streak of blue that matched so perfectly with her eyes. Maybe it was the fact that she had the height and figure of a model, yet worked at the 7-11. Maybe it was love at first site… No, more like lust at first sight. Whatever it was, I found myself thinking about it off and on for a few days. Eventually I came up with an answer. Though I’ll never know why she reacted the way she did, I came up with my own hypothesis. Behind all her beauty was a girl who had the ability to think logically and practically. She gave me that look and the sarcastic laugh because she knew that what I said was a downright lie.
Judgement is inevitable. Everyone is born already harnessing the ability to judge. As a matter of fact, judgement is what allows us to comprehend one another during interactions. The first dictionary definition of judgement reads, the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
It all begins very early in life, as a baby you start to plant your judgement roots. You gain the power to decipher situations by looking at what’s routine and what’s brand new. Recalling what facial expressions were made by people around you when you got a hug from mom, when you got sick, or when you got in trouble for making a mess, you judge new things based off of those expressions as well as how you felt in that moment. When you are presented with new situations you look at the expressions on people’s faces and you remember the situation in which that same expression was made and it gives you an understanding of whether something good or bad is about to happen (you make a judgement call). A year or two passes and you begin to learn a new language known as body language. Things get more complicated from there but it is all based off of your judgement. Your ability to judge grows everyday of your life. As your judgement gets more and more refined you gain the ability to hide your judgement as well. YOU USE YOUR JUDGEMENT TO PICK TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL YOU NEED TO HIDE YOUR JUDGEMENT.
Saying “I don’t judge”, actually means “I’ve gathered an opinion about the situation but using my judgement I’ve decided to keep it to myself”….Since my hypothesis is that the cashier knew this at that time, I’ve come to the conclusion that the cashier reacted that way for a different reason. However the exact reason still remains a mystery…
The imagination killer, the robot creator, the growth stunter… No, these aren’t the names of weapons used by evil enemies that the power rangers will have to fight.. No, it’s much worse than that. This is an epidemic of societal norms that the masses tend to abide by, this is like a disease that shows no symptoms because the symptoms are so common… so subconsciously accepted.
Hear me out.
You’re in 3rd grade, your teacher writes a math problem on the chalkboard and below it writes the answer. She says, “show me the work”. Your mind races thinking of the best course of action. You work for a few minutes and get an answer. It’s a match! You throw your pencil down looking around the classroom only to see the rest of the class still working. You raise your hand and the teacher acknowledges you. You wait impatiently as she waits for the entire class to finish working. You walk confidently up to the the front of the classroom, grab what’s left of the chalk, and start copying your work exactly as you had written it in your notebook. You double-check your work and then begin to strut back to your seat winking at your crush as you walk by her desk. Right as you turn to sit in your desk the teacher says your name. You look up, expecting to get a compliment. “No, this is incorrect” she exclaims. You look at her in disbelief as she erases your work from the board. “But.. but I got the right answer” you plead. She replaces your chicken scratch with calligraphy that oozes experience that only a teacher would accumulate through countless hours of repetition. She says “this is the right answer, this is the work you need to show so that you can learn to do the next step the way I teach it”.
As a kid you shrugged it off. She’s a teacher, she’s knows what she’s doing, right? Wrong. She has planted an idea in your head that will grow exponentially and will suffocate some of your original thoughts and ideas. This example that she has given you is timed at a crucial moment in your growth, it will hinder your future ideas more and more as time passes. You will adopt this idea as your own and continue to let it grow as you copy every single thing that your teacher shows you. Your imagination will shrink, you’ll think that imaginations are only important for kids. An imagination can be silly, but it can also be a seed that grows into something that can be essential for the advancement of mankind.
Examples.. harmless? I doubt it. Examples create societies that don’t change, they create people that are only as smart as the people teaching them. By the time we’re done with school, the majority of us don’t even question what we learned. We become robots, we don’t care to go against what these outdated books tell us. We just want a degree, nothing more. We become complacent. Most people will lose their hunger for knowledge and understanding by the time they get halfway through high school. Some, however, will remain thirsty for knowledge. Some will fight through the societal norms and go on to do great things. For the few that remain inquisitive, the few that continue to believe that there are multiple ways to solve any problem…These few will find a cure for cancer. QUESTION EVERYTHING.
When a person says “everyone” does this or “everyone” does that, when does “everyone” actually become EVERYONE? It doesn’t. The truth is that sometimes “everyone” becomes no one. We never seem to meet the “everyone” that we talk about. It’s as if we have created a fictional character to argue against just to justify our actions. It’s as if going against “everyone” is more respectable and implies that you are a leader (God forbid someone calls you out for being sheep). “Everyone” is nothing but a figment of your imagination, it’s your confidence booster, your conscience, your validation. “Everyone” is your mind.