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When are we entitled to judge others?

This question has been in my head for a really long time. When should we be allowed to judge others/moralise? I mean, on one side, taking a good hard look at yourself before telling others to change their ways, especially if you yourself are guilty of the very same thing. But on the flipside, if we never did point out others' flaws for them, self-improvement would be hard to achieve and each of us would have to learn things the hard way.

So what do you think guys?

Topics: philosophy
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    Mar 1 2012: I have been thinking about your question for quiet some time now, and I have come to the conclusion that we are never entitled to judge others but we automatically DO. and this is not a paradox. !

    we can never judge others because we can never truly be able to understand an entity outside the boundaries of ourselves and what we can not fully understand, we can not judge. but as I mentioned, it is an automatic process, human brain is a comparison computer and it will judge others to measure their value. it is only by judging that we can admire some people. it is an evolutionary subroutine hardwired in our brain to realize whether others can be a good company to keep or not.

    The best we can do is simply to keep the judgement to ourselves and to keep in mind the fact that our judgement is only based on the limited knowledge we have and there is always the possibility of introduction of a new piece of information that can turn the whole conclusion around.
    • Mar 2 2012: Sina, I think you have it right. We do instinctively judge, it is what kept our ancestors alive. Bigoted people don't go any further. I think most people, however, take in subsequent information and adjust their opinions accordingly.
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    Feb 29 2012: There is tough love and gentle love ... either way you have been loved. How about changing words ... remove judge .. and enter support. The bible tells us to not judge lest we be judged. I have enoughy problems that I do not "judge" anyone. I do have people whom I support. As a good friend I tell them what I think is an advisable path and what may not bode well for them. I bat about .500. I do not force them to act my way. I just point out another option that they can employ or not. No hard feelings ... no I told you so's. In the move Crocdile Dundee he called these people mates. I hope that everyone has a spouse, significant other, friend, or support group that they can turn to in confidence for advice and direction when the need arises.
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      Feb 29 2012: "There is tough love and gentle love".....I like the way you expressed this.

      What appears to be the problem sometimes is that our heart is "treacherous".....we fool ourselves into thinking our actions or lack thereof are ok......when someone criticizes us/judges us......we instantly become offended.

      We sometimes do not like being told the truth.

      It takes alot of love and diplomacy to provide sound advice to those we care about.

      I really enjoyed reading your reply Robert.

      Be Well.
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    Mar 6 2012: We often judge others by how we perceive ourselves. I was taught not to do this by my father. We all have different situations, different upbringings, different environments, different issues. When we walk a mile in someone else's shoes, we realize things that were not apparent at first. To judge a person without knowing the facts is to assume that we can play God.

    My view is not to judge, but to lead to a better life. If I can't say something that will help, I will not say it at all. I was at a church with a group of friends, serving as babysitters for the children of a group of church members that went out for a field trip. One of the boys was acting up. He wouldn't mind and was all over the place. I felt like giving him a what-for when the leader decided to play a game. He chose this particular boy to act as referee. He told the boy what the rules were and wanted him to point out any infractions. The boy was a natural. for the remaining time, the boy was focused. He was hyper. He just needed something to direct his energy on. When I see children being drugged to shut them down, I often remember this boy. Direct their energy, don't put them to sleep.

    There was another boy who was a bully in the town. The town sheriff called the boy aside. He was mister tough guy until the sheriff asked him if he wanted a job. The boy seemed bewildered. The sheriff pointed out that the town stocked fish in the local pond, but kids were fishing out of season and depleting the pond. He wanted the boy to serve as deputy sheriff and to hold the kids accountable to the fishing laws. He gave the boy a badge and the rule book and told him to report directly to him. All season long, the boy kept watch and maintained the law. He was rewarded for proper infractions and reprimanded for acts not becoming of his position. In the end, the boy came to respect the law and later became a state police officer.

    These stories have conditioned the way I judge others. Lead, don't judge.
  • Mar 2 2012: I think you have the right to tell anyone ONE time that they have something you perceive as a flaw. Hopefully, you'll do so kindly. I do not think you ever have the right to expect them to change because you expressed that opinion. I believe that we each have the right to make our own choices. I cannot live my life to please others, nor should I expect others to please me. Also, no one changes instantly. If the people you are talking to respect you, then they will think about what you said and may eventually decide to change what you pointed out. If they disrespect you, detest you, or don't know you at all, they will likely dismiss or think about what you said without giving it true thought.

    Most of all, when we are ready to change - not necessarily consciously ready - we are much more receptive to hearing someone say 'I think you should work on _____." You and I have no idea why someone else does what they do. We don't know what they have been through, or what benefit they perceive from the thing we find troublesome. Therefore, we shouldn't ever judge them. We can see a shortcoming without making it a judgment of the people exhibiting it. He does X, not he IS x. There's a reason he does X, it serves him (or he thinks it does) in some way.

    We like to think we know how we would react in a given situation. We don't. Even if we've been there before, we don't know how we will handle it next time. Keeping that in mind, it is easier to not judge others. If you feel a strong need to express your disapproval, offering a better way to handle the precipitating cause of the behavior would be more effective and might be more kindly received. Again, though, you get to do that once. After that, you start nagging, and shortly you begin bullying. No one ever has to change because someone else said so.
  • Mar 1 2012: Thanks for putting in your thoughts and wisdom you all. Each one had definitely set me thinking.

    It's true that we can't judge others as we simply are not them. We'll never know of the story or reason behind each of their actions.

    Mary, you have an extremely good point there. We have to respect the other individual's right to free will and dignity. And as Lilian pointed out, we should give others the benefit of the doubt when engaging them.

    Looking at all your comments, i see that i have plenty to learn.
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      Mar 1 2012: How nice that we have helped you Luke.

      Not judging others is a very difficult undertaking....I am still trying to kick the habit......it is an "undo-it-yourself-project".

      Mary
  • Mar 1 2012: I do not feel anyone has the right to judge another human being because we have not walked in that person's shoes. We do not know how we would react or behave based on another persons life experience. We can only base our opinions on our own life experience and it is my experience that people behave in a certain way because of life. We should be empathic towards people and give them the benefit of the doubt give them the opportunity to learn and grow to become the best person they can be and not what you want them to be. We are all unique individuals and we should embrace our differences and learn and help eachother to become the best we can be. It is our responsibility as human beings to offer our support to to those in need.
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    Feb 29 2012: We all judge each other - it's part of being human. The important point is how we respond to the person who expresses a view that we don't agree with. In my experience it's best to ask the person to clarify what tthey mean before jumping in with an argument. If their view is still offensive, I state clearly that I don't agree with them - I don't enter into a debate with them as that tends to polarise matters. Self reflection and experience are the best ways for people to change their views.
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      Mar 1 2012: "We all judge each other -"
      How do you know Heather?

      Lot of people do, I know lots that don't.

      If you need to judge look at the best part you can find.
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    Feb 29 2012: Well, judging others is strong language. I don't think we are ever "entitled" to judge another imperfect individual like ourselves.

    Now, helping a close friend with issues that are affecting their welfare, that is another issue.

    Whe we see faults in others, we have to be careful what we say. It is best to set a good example, and if we feel compelled to speak up, then we should always strive to be tactful, and respect the person's dignity and free will.

    The relationship between the individuals involved always affect the way outcome.....a mother judging/criticizing a child is not the same as a friend criticizing a friend. I hope I have made my point clearly.

    Hope I have helped.