While I remain a card-carrying liberal there are several arenas in that cause where my stance weakens considerably but I maintain it is only because I refuse to take anything, especially myself, too seriously. The problem I have with all this new-age wisdom is that it doesn’t translate well into real life as if the sides of every argument are trying to one-up the other side of the argument. I was reading Psychology Today the other day because I needed to clear my head and if you need to as well, I heartily recommend the mindless mumbo-jumbo in that magazine because nobody takes themselves more seriously than psychologists. I’m sure they have their place in the same way that the spray paint people use to cover that bald spot has its place. In fact, if you know any psychologists I’m sure they’re not the sanctimonious, insincere slugs I’ve met. I’m sure yours are very nice but all the ones I know think they are experts in everything because they took a few classes and if I’m running from nuclear fallout, I’m probably too busy to be politically correct and get in touch with my feelings.
If you read this magazine regularly you probably think Dr. Seuss is this century’s Shakespeare and that makes me weep for this generation but I was reading it because it was the only thing in this particular bathroom and I do applaud Psychology Today being in American bathrooms because you never know when you’ll run out of toilet paper. This month’s issue was warning all readers not to judge people, which is stupid because that’s all we do from the moment we are born. Usually that judgment is based on their actions, words, demeanor etc. but that’s what we do because that’s how we get to know each other and some situations require a snap judgment and some actually allow time for a conversation so you can judge whether or not you ever want to talk to them again. If someone carelessly cuts me off in traffic I make the snap judgment that they are selfish, they can’t drive and I hope they haven’t procreated so their line dies with them but if I am talking to someone, I take a much more casual approach with well, my feet poised for flight while I fervently pray for someone to interrupt us so I can flee. The article should have focused on the issue of pre-judging people because although we all do that as well, it is a breakable habit and it is clearly the bigger problem since we are hard-wired to judge everything…our judgment is the reason we have friends, enemies and cute or ugly clothes and presidents.
I have been working hard not to pre-judge people and I’d like to give you an update on my progress. For instance, when I see a guy with black trousers and brown shoes, I no longer automatically think he’s an idiot, although once he has spoken a sentence or two, it is pretty much confirmed. And if I see a person with no social skills, I don’t immediately think they have Asperger’s syndrome anymore, I just assume they were raised in Mississippi…and that’s a big step for me. Then when I see them put ketchup on a hot dog, I know I was right. Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, you will live your whole life believing the fish is stupid” and that’s the problem I face every day…most of the people I meet are fish.
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