The problem with quick judgment is Lady Gaga. I say that because, back a couple of years ago when Lady Gaga first burst onto the scene in tar, feathers, and metal spikes, I jumped to judgment. And when she arrived at the Grammy’s in an egg, making a typical artistic statement of overwhelming proportions, I jumped to judgment. “She is a whack job. What a crazy attention seeker.” On and on I felt and went.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s really not my style to dress, or enjoy dress, the way Lady Gaga defines it. But nonetheless, my quick judgment almost led me astray, missing out on some kick-ass tunes. Sure, Lady Gaga still very well might be a whack job and attention seeker, but she’s also a pretty interesting and electrifying singer. And in the end, even if I listened and decided she wasn’t my speed, it’s important to at least listen before judging.
In the end, Lady Gaga is a singer, an entertainer. And as a singer, she’s pretty darn good. I find most of her music to be, at the bare minimum, rather enjoyable listening material. It’s probably matters very little what outlandish wrapping she presents herself in, or which shades of velvet she paints on her face.
I realize that it’s a pretty big leap from Lady Gaga to other people or subjects I encounter. But just the same, quick knee reaction judgment is still quick knee reaction judgment.
Judgment; it’s big with “us.” It’s a societal norm, and I’m fairly certain we weren’t born THAT way.
Don’t get me wrong, we need some judgment. We judge behaviors, actions, and results on a daily basis. And we should. Breaking into my neighbors’ house and stealing his belongings is a wrong behavior. And I’m making a judgment call in defining it as such. As a society and as human beings, we develop and share and live together with “accepted” judgment. I don’t think civilization will ever really exist without it. Nor should it, really…
It’s a balancing act.
I challenge myself daily to explore my judgments and assess if they are based on appropriate expectations. And it’s also important to distinguish judgment from preference. I may prefer a singer like Lady Gaga to Jay-Z, and that doesn’t necessarily define me as being “judgmental” against Jay-Z. I simply prefer Lady Gaga.
Where does that balance belong?
Where is the acceptable line of judgment? Where does preference blur into judgment?
As a gay person in a society that is still unraveling its homophobic tendencies, I’m all too familiar with judgment; and quick judgment at that. Some people have predetermined that who I am, and who I marry, is sinful or less than. They place judgment on an aspect of my life, and thus think of or treat me differently, or separately. The truth is, however, with many people I have met over the years who may not have liked or understood my sexuality initially, once they looked beyond their knee jerk judgment and based their assessment of me on the core of my being, their judgment often faded away.
It seems the idea of judgment is very complex. It’s certainly not a black and white subject with an easy and clear answer. But it does seem, more than not, that judgment is fear based. Even if we judge something as bad, and it “truly” is such, our judgment even if rightfully so, stems from fear.
And sometimes fear is good; fear can warn us of danger. But, it’s doubtful that Lady Gaga is really all that dangerous, nor is a loud mouth fan of another sports team, nor is the relationship between me and my wife.
So, where I actually embrace appropriate judgment required in daily living, I encourage myself to look closely at the things I judge and make sure my judgment is warranted. In the end, I might be more saddened by the things I miss in life, than the things I avoid. That approach may not be living on the “Edge of Glory”, but it is an approach that may broaden my world with some very fun tunes.