Maybe we're not so different...

2개월 전


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I've been thinking a lot about objectivity lately, something we often lack when it comes to our own situation in life. I was talking a few days ago with a friend and the conversation drifted from me to a friend of hers. Not in the same situation, not by far, but with similar elements. Similar enough for her to make the connection, I suppose.

And as she was telling me about this friend of hers, I found I had no trouble passing judgment. Or no, maybe that's not the best term. Not big on judging people, you know? We all fuck up, so...
But I did see a lot more clearly about this girl's story, what might be driving her to behave in a certain way and so on. And then it occurred to me that when it comes to our own lives, we don't have the same clarity of judgment.

We all lie to ourselves that no, our situation is different. It's not like what's happening to some third party, to millions of other people around the world. Because when you're thinking about a third party, you are, as I said, objective, but you're also generalizing, to an extent, especially if you don't know the person in question.

You can't really walk in their shoes and know what goes on in their mind. And they, too, think their situation is different. Special. And sure, technically, it might be. But often enough, it's not. And your objective judgment of this person is quite often accurate.

And it's interesting, because then, once you're done thinking about someone else, you go back to thinking about your own stuff and your own life and you see (maybe) the similarities and there's that small voice in your head that wonders, does what I just said apply to me too?

No, another voice answers, of course not. Mine's different. It's more complicated.

But that's really just you being subjective. It's you. It has to be special, because you're not everyone else.

I don't know, I can't help but think our lives would be a lot simpler if our friends and loved ones could run a test on us, you know? Describe our situation to us, but pretend it's about someone else (in this ideal example, of course we wouldn't catch on)...and see what we say, what we think about it.

Do we apply the judgment we pass on others on our own lives?
Do we make allowances for the fact that this person's situation might indeed be different? No, not really. Why then, should we make allowances for ourselves?

Thanks for reading.

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Wood for the trees and all... and yes very true. It is seldom easy to remain objective when it is about us.

Quite like that test idea lol.

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We should get someone to implement that already, no? :D Thanks for the RS and the comment ;)

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haha indeed we should! lol

You can never really be objective about yourself.
But you've got empathy, and you've got self-honesty. That's all you need to get as close as you need to be. Empathy allows you to never really judge anyone else's situation, because you know that they have hidden motivations and wants behind their actions, that they might not even realize. And self-honesty allows you to identify those voices, as you did, and ask yourself which one is telling you the truth. Or better yet follow their threads to their origin, behind your conscious thoughts: what do I really want and why do I want it?

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I agree to everything you said, really. Thing is, even when you do trace them to their origins and understand why you want something, it doesn't make you want it any less :))

Anyway, thanks for the comment :D

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Dammit, that's so true.

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I don't agree. :) I think we can only make "objective" judgments (or rather, "truthful") when we know all the information, and that only happens when we judge ourselves.

When we see others, we only see what it seems to be; we don't know why they act as they act, or why they do what they do, or what they are thinking, etc., in fact, we know almost nothing. We only know what it seems to be from our angle. The judgments we make of others are rather misleading. Sometimes we judge ourselves "better" than others and we believe that we should judge ourselves worse, I say quite the opposite, maybe we should judge others better.

But I don't know, only you know... said that, delightful post, as always.

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Ironically, I believe what you just said as much as I believe what I wrote :)) I agree you can't know all the details about someone's situations and how they feel and think and all, but I do think we share a lot of similarities and while I do think there are special occasions with special circumstances that affect us, often enough, we have the same emotional and psychological triggers.

You're right, we like to judge ourselves better than others, but in the case I was thinking of, it had nothing to do with superiority or inferiority, didn't even cross my mind. It's just that I could understand the reasons the girl in question was acting a certain way because I can easily see myself responding similarly to the same triggers, you know?

It's like, in a similar situation, I immediately told myself it was special, different from other people's and I'm sure this girl tells herself the same thing. Trouble is, most of the time, it's not special. There's a chance, sure, but it's just really rare.
I like this idea of judging others better, I really do. Too often we project our own fears and frustrations on the people around us and that makes for a really toxic environment.

Thank you for the thoughtful comment, @vieira, as always :)

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Great thoughts. It's so hard to step outside of ourselves. Something that helps me is to write down the problem, then give advice as though I was giving it to a friend. Sometimes that helps me to see a new perspective. It's so easy to get trapped in our own thinking isn't it?
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And then it occurred to me that when it comes to our own lives, we don't have the same clarity of judgment.

It's called "the fundamental attribution error".

And your objective judgment of this person is quite often accurate.

Human value judgments (axiology) are necessarily 100% subjective.