faceless people scolding discontent black girl

Everything is an Opinion, but We Treat it Like Truth

Is there a difference between having an opinion and placing judgment on something or someone? One could make the case. In our case, judgment is placing an opinion on something and not allowing that opinion to change. It’s creating an identity out of our perceptions. Judgment rules the world, so it’s very hard to detach from the projections we place on people, places, and things. We judge people based on their body type, their financial situation, or their status within a moral society. Our systems are built on judgment by promoting those who follow our norms and rules while punishing those who don’t. I personally want to go as far as having no opinions at all. That’s kind of crazy coming from a person who was once called opinionated.

What’s Wrong with Judging?

The true issue with judgment is that it doesn’t allow for change. Sure, we may have an initial opinion on something and maybe that gives us a bit of discernment. When we’re not open to changing this opinion, we aren’t living. Rather, we are judging ourselves and to make our ideas objective we judge others in a way that aligns with our views. This causes us to need control just so that everything around us aligns with our rigid way of thinking. When we see something we don’t agree with on Twitter, the inclination to is to let that person know our own views just so that there’s balance. We believe that we are being attacked and the only way to combat these attacks is to become defensive.

I hope to get to a place where an opinion sparks curiosity. If I have an opinion about something, my opinion is probably out of a lack of knowledge. We get to a state of judgment from our unwillingness to learn. That’s why I’m grateful that you took the time to read this book. We don’t really have a culture that allows us to question our ideas and our feelings. We typically have an opinion and we have to join a cult that reflects this new opinion. If your religious affiliation doesn’t allow you to change opinions as new information is learned, it’s kind of cultish. If your judgment doesn’t allow you to learn and appreciate other people’s opinions (knowing that they aren’t real, to begin with), you’ve reached judgment territory.

We Need Absolute Answers

I think our biggest issue as humans is our need for absolute answers. I have to admit that I once had this mindset. In truth, I don’t like the analytical part of my mind and my job because I would typically say things like everyone, no one, always, and never towards all of my judgments and typically be wrong. A part of the reason why Blackberry lost the smartphone battle to Apple was the belief that “no one” wanted their keyboard on the screen. There’s no such thing as absolutes like always and never, but I feel we use these words way more often than we should.

Living a life of absolution might make us a bit more comfortable and a bit more safe. It also limits us. If you have the existential question of do we have free will, or are things predestined for us, I can almost guarantee that shackling yourself with judgment removes your free choice. The reason why people don’t want to be judged is because it puts a set of requirements on another person that they never asked for. You project your limitations onto others when you decide to shove them into your box. This is why I don’t like receiving feedback at work. I think accepting and taking in feedback unconsciously is preached in our work culture. No one ever says to take your manager’s feedback internally and bounce them off to your values to make sure the input is valid. If you don’t take the feedback, what do you think will happen? You’ll most likely be labeled as an insubordinate employee.

Are We Living Our Truth?

We like to believe that we know our lives and that we are living our lives in truth because we already have preconceived notions of what we want our life to be. The truth is there’s no such thing. We can compare ourselves to other people. We can even admire these people, but if we don’t reach the level of success that believe we should have, we are going to end up in a state of depression. There’s no absolute truth when it comes to us humans. Even the notion that “men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t” is total bologna. Even when it comes to data, we will take any numbers and use them to tell a story of our perceptions. I’ve seen this plenty of times in marketing. Our memories aren’t true either. They are stories that we tell ourselves and others. Ironically, the story seems to change each time we tell it. I went to Instagram to ask friends if they could tell the difference between a memory and a dream. I think had some folks thinking.

Facts Aren’t All That Important

The important part of a story isn’t the facts, but the lessons we learn from them. I think that’s the downfall of reading religious texts. It feels like people are more caught up with if the creation story was real rather than receiving the lessons that the story offers. Like the importance of rest, for example. Instead, we have needless debates between religious folks and science loyalists around evolution. I guess if you believe in science that much you’re also religious as well. If the story doesn’t help us become better people then what’s the point? The same thing can be said about the stories we tell ourselves. If the story doesn’t positively benefit us, there’s no point in rehashing that memory. Holding on two one and creating an identity around it when there are some many other good memories to tell creates judgment for yourself.

There’s no such thing as objectivity, so there’s no such thing as facts. Everything is an opinion because everything we think and perceive is fluid. The reason why we know that facts aren’t absolute truth is because of their permanent nature. We think, once a fact is always a fact, but a fact can change at any moment. We change theories all the time when new information is present. At one point, we believed that the earth was round. Scientists proved that Africans and their descendants were inferior to their white counterparts in intelligence because their skulls were smaller. Napoleon wasn’t short, he was the average height of 5’ 6”. There is no such thing as a division between the left and right brain. The Great Wall of China is not visible from space. I can keep going if you’d like.