Sunday, February 24, 2019

On (Not) Judging People

Human beings have an in-built sense of "morality" that they routinely apply against everything that they come across. There are multiple ways one's sense of what is moral and what is immoral emerges - including religion, upbringing, exposure, rationality, mental health, and so on.

Is morality necessary?

Morality is necessary. Not just because it allows people to live together without killing each other. But also because it helps an individual answer their own questions about what to do in any particular situation. It is the moral compass that often shows the direction to forge.

Should we use morality to judge others?

A distinction needs to be made before answering this. When "judging" someone, are you judging the person or their action? The answer matters a lot.

When you judge a person for a particular action, you are labeling that person as "good" or "bad" based on that action. For example, if you see the CEO of a company scolding an employee for a "small" thing and judge the CEO to be a bad person, you may be making two mistakes.
1) You do not know the reasons why the CEO is scolding the employee. It may even be for the good of the employee in the long term.
2) By labeling the CEO as a bad person, you have created a barrier between you personally and them which might make it difficult for you to work with them.

There are several cases where reason 1 does not apply at all. For example, say the CEO is actually doing something, say, being corrupt, which they themselves might not be able to defend.

But reason 2 is more important for someone who is trying to get things done. People are not dispensable. Human resource is hard to come by. If you start judging people by a few of their actions and dismiss them as "bad". If you make it impossible for you to be working with them. Then you have one less person to work with. And when we are all humans and everyone will have some or the other "follies", especially when you are viewing them through your sense of morality (which, having been formed by your own unique experiences in life, is going to be different from anyone else's sense of morality), judging people will soon leave you with nobody you can work with.

In other words, every human is different. If you keep looking for people who think, walk, and talk exactly like you to forge teams, you will never be able to move forward.

But, does it make sense to judge actions? Yes. As long as the judgement does not spill over to the person as a whole. In fact, judging actions is natural and direct consequence of morality. But extrapolating that judgement to an entire person is human bias.

But what if someone is wrong in all areas of their life? I think it is quite right to be mathematical here. The total value of a person is the sum of all their individual values and the added value that interaction of values give them.


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