Judging

I like analysing people. Now I try not to focus on judging others, guessing what they are like and what they might be thinking about, but I still watch others in the street to observe the way they walk.

Since I can remember, I’ve never really gotten how people seem to use the word “judge”. It seems to carry a negative connotation. “Assess” seems to make some people feel better. I wonder if people’s negative take on “judge” has something to do with perceiving that one is separate with others, that one can observe the world and not be a part of it.

I have a thing with posture. It might have something to do with my bad eyesight. I notice posture/comportment from far away – it enables me to identify people when I can’t see their face. Not only do I notice it in a pure sense, I notice it in a subjective sense i.e., if someone’s posture is really bad or really good, I take notice. I can acknowledge that I’m noticing because it’s good or bad – I don’t mind too much saying so. Perhaps this is when people don’t like the word “judge”. “Who are you to say that person’s posture is good/bad?”

But the bottom line is a significant part of why I notice what I notice is due to my subjective experience of the thing. The above has been about good/bad, possibly beautiful/ugly. What about other dimensions?

For example, at some point in aikido I started to pay attention to whether a person really meant to attack and experience the prescribed technique of the moment with me, or they meant to sort of attack, sort of let me do the technique but more fall down by themselves, sort of attack but be more concerned with blocking my atemi, prevent me from doing what we’d supposedly agreed upon, etc. This is not a simple good vs bad kind of aspect, yet I would say that it has to do with “judgment”.

Subjectively, the degree to which I experienced my attention being drawn to this aspect probably puts me more at the sensitive end of the spectrum. It was something that pushed my buttons. Thus it was about attachment and something I have worked on. However, though I’d like to be free of the attachment, I never thought to give up on becoming a better and better judge of people’s intentions.

As I got more and more accurate, and more and more free of becoming attached/captivated, I became more and more able to see the situation. The current situation as what came before and what’s reasonable (not forced) to happen next. Thus, in aikido techniques, the interaction with the partner could happen earlier, time-wise. However, from my perspective it is happening at the right time. “Early” is only relative to the point in time I perceived our interaction as starting as I would have reported one year ago, ten years ago, etc.

If someone is about to attack me in practice, and I can tell they don’t like me or have some problem with me, I try to see it, see how I am with having perceived that, and accept it all. If I don’t like that I’m feeling my partner is being suspicious of me or scared of me or whatever, I don’t think to stop judging  – stop judging because I might not be right or because judging only introduces information that is possibly useless. Not only is it (to deal with attachment and greater self-awarness) part of my area of interest and motivation to do such a practice as aikido, it is also relevant to the execution of technique on an “aiki” level, territory I think I’ve started to delve into recently.

As a human being, it makes sense to me to take into account how a person’s emotional state is when I am try to see all of how a person is. As a human being who is in the learning process, it makes sense to take advantage of my strengths in the process; if I am more adept at noticing certain details, I should continue, not stop, to refine the noticing of those details so that it serves me in my learning. If I notice something because it makes me feel good or bad, so be it. It is not the assessing, judging, or noticing that is counterproductive but the attachment to and captivation by the same.

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