On judging

I judge too much. That’s not a good look. (See? There, I did it again: why is that a ‘look’?). It’s not nice. It’s not cool.

I judge myself the harshest, of course. Anybody who judges themselves knows this. Anybody who judges anybody knows this. Maybe a good technique or exercise is for strive to complete compassion and non-judgment unto others, with the (selfish?) aim of having that exercise the muscle that most harshly judges oneself.

Judging others is related to categorizing and constructing. There’s a case to be made that these are one and the same. Oh, Language, you always fall short, and yet you open up so much…

Regarding categorization, I based my thesis on it, more specifically algorithmic categorization (or ‘categorisation’ since I was forced to write in the King’s English). But it doesn’t really matter: categorizing is all the same ever since we became humans, i.e. creatures that categorize.

I haven’t thought about construction as much. But a recent occurrence does paint an interesting picture about it:

I read a lot on the web, I follow bloggers, writers, ‘creators’. I recently reached out to one of them who I like a lot. He has just an amazing way of thinking about things, is super creative when it comes to interacting with others via a diverse set of mediums (I can’t bring myself to use media as the plural of medium, sorry). I reached out innocently via Twitter (jamais X) to ask about how he had built his WordPress site. In parallel, I reached out via LinkedIn since I was honestly surprised he had a profile: that’s how great I think he is = he is not of this world, definitely not of the world we corporate creatures inhabit using jargon like “best practices” and “OKRs”.

Long story short, we ended up speaking on Signal. Three mediums for one conversation!, new record surely. But as I was balancing my fanboying with my being a human being speaking to another human being, it hit me doubly: I was speaking with Him. And at the same time, who was He but a construction of my mind?

I say this because this unquestionably talented person actually asked me what it was that I liked about his work. I told him I loved his podcast, his ideas on ‘world-building’. And he (no capital H this time) said it was nice to know that there was someone out there listening.

Again: construction. To me, this person was an unreachable Rock Star of the Interesting World (Note to self: I have to write about this soon). And yet, he was not insecure but at least unsure of what it was others saw in him, or if he was seen at all.

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’m Argentinian. Here in Argentina, we hate those that ‘make it’. Argentinian Weltanschauung is like the epitome of the Gen X ethos: selling out is the worst possible sin, obscurity is popularity (but of the good kind). In short, we’re all genius specialists that can solve the world drinking cortados in the local cafe while our country continues to rot.

Because of this, Representatives from the Interesting World catch my eye unlike any others. Therein lies my construction; it’s a cultural predisposition.

I began saying I judge. And I said that because I recently saw an Instagram video of the girl I recently went out with. She recorded herself dancing in a long white t-shirt and pajama bottoms. Of actual model stature, her thin limbs move beautifully in a dance that’s consciously quirky. In the next video, she’s just wearing the t-shirt, the pajama bottoms lie on the floor, and her exquisitely fine legs can be seen, the bottom of the white t-shirt just barely covering her pubic area.

The quirky nature of her dance is enabled by her beauty. There can be no doubt about this. If she ignores this, she’s playing dumb (the scent of judging begins…). What I mean is that her dancing is not innocent. It’s not a “here I am just dancing on a Friday morning” type of dance. If her beauty wasn’t so innately hegemonic there is no way she would be posting it.

In any case, I’ll try to focus on myself: I immediately judged her. I thought: “WTF? Who does she think she is?”. I set my phone down and told myself a story about not wanting to date someone who does these things. I know, it doesn’t get more incel than this.

Then I picked up my phone and rewatched her dance. It was beautiful. She was beautiful. She was beautiful while beautifully dancing. Why judge?

This time around, I read the text on the first of the videos. In Spanish, it read “Good morning for those that don’t have any shame”. When I first read it, I read it as a saying in Argentina. A sinvergüenza means literally someone who doesn’t have shame but culturally something like scoundrel. It’s a word used by certain cumbia communities, also something people say to each other to tease and greet each other with love and kindness.

She meant it literally. And when I read it literally, I better understood her dance and the recording of her dance. She was choosing to live without shame. And yes, I’m sure it’s easy for her to do so. But I’m also sure that she has a closet full of ghosts I know nothing about. And yet… I chose to judge.

I hope all this writing did something to dispel my initial judgment…? I’ve since changed my mind.

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