Some people allow themselves liberty to speak directly into the lives of others, without authority or permission to do so. Oftentimes, people who freely share their opinions about others’ lives do not stand on solid ground to make any judgement about anyone, much less the person they judge who might hold values much different than his own. Further, it is ill mannered to denigrate and share unrequested impressions regarding someone’s personal conditions, which are rarely visible from outside of the criticized person, his upbringing, culture, and experience.

We live in a society characterized by plurality of opinion. Popularity of opinion is no indication of the quality of its health, rather it frequently indicates problems with it. If we work off the premise that good health in body, mind, and spirit is ideal, and with the majority of persons falling short, why would we seek to follow common working knowledge of the crowd?

Most of us have had and have wise people who have helped shape and mold our perspectives. As we ourselves develop, this means that sometimes we will surpass or move in another direction from the views of some of our best teachers. Studying the life histories of psychologists, philosophers, scientists, and great thinkers, it is possible to pinpoint the juncture where independent thought emerged, deviating from what had been taught.  

Insecure teachers and companions will perceive these recalibrations as threatening to homeostasis, as though plurality of ideas means that he himself is incorrect. Perhaps he is, yet there are usually subtleties to opinions or beliefs, and contrary to popular opinion, there is considerably less which conveniently fits into a box of fact than what human experience confirms across culture and individual experience.

Signposts of spiritual growth and development and mental wellness have been collected across cultures, and many of these benchmarks are subjective, according to community standards. Norms for how groups were raised frequently provide the backdrop to impose judgement, yet those standards are often narrowly subjective for certain groups only.

The assumption behind judgement is that one’s own personal or group standards be applied to all individual persons. This condition plagues even the most self-righteous, objective thinker who believes his perspective must be correct to the exclusion of all others. “I am right others are wrong” is such common trope it is laughable, rather than lamentable.

Most of us ascribe to a certain set of standards of pro-social values which allow us to function harmoniously in our surroundings, some more and some less. We hold expectations that others ascribe to similar standards in order to facilitate group equilibrium. Generally, the longer a person has lived and the broader her experience, the more generous she becomes with others.

More than any other factor, age is deeply humbling for most. Over time, many of us become acutely aware of our own failings and become sensitive to the failures of others. We come to understand the cultural plurality on the planet, and we are able to apprehend beauty in our rich tapestry. We learn appreciation and compassion for ourselves and are then able to extend it to others. We are enriched as a function of our global interdependence.

For the critical thinker, it is important to learn how to gaze with eyes of appreciation, not condemnation. The human condition is both fragile and strong, but is not designed for continual onslaught of criticism, psychological and emotional violence, or force. The human spirit does not thrive under unjust condemnation.

Judgment and criticism fail, love and compassion, never. Should any individual seek to speak anything into anyone’s life, let it be love. Most other words are empty of meaning and foster little good into the lives of any. In general, our ears and hearts should be open, and mouths closed. Of course, this is my opinion, which I believe is correct. Om Shanti!