Saturday, August 07, 2010

Of Judgment and Ruler

I think it’s of our nature to judge someone and something. The flower is pretty, he is smart or she is a quiet person. We judge things based on the “ruler (for measurement) in our heart”. What is beauty? What is reasonable or norm? What is right and wrong? Should we continue to judge, or not?

When I told someone that I am going off a few days for a short holiday, some people will react by asking why I am always on holiday and not working. In fact, I am just exercising my annual leave of 10 plus days; so our “ruler is different”. When I go off for a month of vacation, that might be something that is deemed “impossible” for most people; and there are still people who travel away for months or years. So again, we have a different kind of measurement. Some people believe in work, some believe in casual vacation, some believe in soul searching travelling.

What if our judgment is of conflict with others, or even hurt someone else’s feelings? It’s rude to say someone is ugly or stupid, so we can sort of avoid it most of the time. What about laziness? What if we have a lazy worker or colleagues, which their laziness would affect us since we have to work together; should we tell them that they are lazy and ask them to bulk up? And will they really bulk up if we tell them that they are lazy? Will judging and criticizing really work? If someone is “lazy” by our standard, what should we do? We can allow them to be lazy, or find ways to motivate them to be less-lazy. Most of them, we just go on with the criticizing or just “ignore” them to get the idea off our mind. To “change” one person is a difficult job, and there is the moral question of should we change them or not.

While on the Tahan trip, a new friend reminded me of the idea of “there is a ruler in every man’s heart”. We have our own believe, principle, scale, judgment of what’s right or wrong. If we imposed our own judgment too strongly, could we end up as too self-centered? If we don't reflect our own believe, could we loose ourselves with no identity? Sometimes I do believe silence is golden; where we have our own believe in our mind and heart, and only speak when necessary. But most of them, we might talk too much. After all, talking is a necessary part of human sociality.

There is no straight answer or conclusion. Last time I used to ask myself that should me tell someone if they dressed wrongly, or do something we deemed wrong. Now I have a slight change of mind. I think we shouldn’t criticize (or at least try to restrain it), or totally stop someone to do something. We could give some opinion and let them decide what to do. Sometimes it is more difficult when the things they do have a more direct effect on us, and that requires a high level of tolerance and acceptance which I have yet to master. Perhaps our heart is not “pure” enough, as we are still bothered by many things and people around us. Like my sis’s Tao teaching said, human must strive to practice 八德 (Eight Virtue): 孝 (filial piety)、悌 (brotherly love)、忠 (loyalty/honesty)、信 (truthfulness/trustfulness)、礼 (propriety)、义 (righteousness)、廉 (integrity/purity)、耻(shamefulness). Perhaps sometimes science and logical thinking are limited in a certain ways, we would need to refer to the old teaching to seek the “truth”.