For a few years now I have prided myself on being a non-judgmental person.
Until yesterday, that is, when I wrote a blog post implying that a significant portion of the Egyptian population was brainwashed.
It wasn’t my blog post that made me stop and think. The blog post was actually quite a hit and I received lots of positive feedback about it from Egypt and around the world. What got to me were comments I received from two people on two separate occasions in the past three days. One told me I needed to calm down. The other told me to give myself space to have a “clearer head”.
Calm down?? I thought. CALM DOWN?? I’M THE F#$%ING CALMEST PERSON IN THE WHOLE BLOODY COUNTRY! Clear head?? IT LOOKS LIKE I’M THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY WHO HASN’T BEEN BRAINWASHED YET!!
“A bit patronizing of you,” I responded to the second person.
That is when I stopped to think.
Why do I feel so insulted that two people are assuming that I write from a place of agitation or muggy-headedness? They can’t see me. All they see are my words. What right do they have to judge me??
Bam! That is when it hit me. For the past two weeks, I have been publicly judging a significant portion of the Egyptian population for being so gullible as to actually invite the military to come back and rule our country. And before that, if I am honest with myself, I have secretly been judging another significant portion of my countrymen for being so gullible as to follow the words of “religious” men, as their words pertain to politics or to religion, without using their heads first.
As this conversation went round and round in my head, I walked into the women’s locker room in my local gym in the UK, where I am spending the summer. As I opened the door, the first things that came into the focus of my vision were two perfectly perky and well-rounded breasts on a woman who must have been in her 50s or 60s. “That is absolutely ridiculous!” I thought to myself. “Those cannot be real breasts! And the nerve she has! Standing there in her underwear just showing her bare chest off to the whole world!”
Bam! What had I just done?? I was being judgmental of this woman, wasn’t I? But conversations such as that go through my head all the time! ALL THE TIME!
“You’re not as non-judgmental as you thought, are you Nadia?” said the Little Man In My Head.
I hate it when he’s right.
But then, isn’t this something that every human being in the world does? Is there such a thing as being so pure of heart and mind that one does not judge anyone ever?
This made me realize that I may be good at implementing the philosophy of “live and let live.” I am fine with other people living their lives however they see fit as long as their lifestyles and their opinions do not affect me. Sometimes I will secretly judge them. But even when I do that, Little Man In My Head will usually remind me to live and let live. It is none of my business. Leave them be.
Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. At least not out loud. That way, we should all be able to live together amicably. Yes?
Well, no. Because sometimes a significant portion of your country’s population goes and does something that you strongly believe is bringing your country backwards 50 years! And you fail to see any logic in it all. And you know, from previous research, that armies frequently use certain tactics (such as throwing flyers and gifts out of helicopters) to affect the general mindset of a population. It’s called psychological operations or psyops. So it’s no longer a matter of live and let live because all those people are definitely not letting me live! Not the way I want to live my life. Not the way I want my children to live their lives.
Does this mean it is all right to be judgmental of others? I don’t know. What I do know is that we all do it. Religion is the easiest example to use. Members of one religion almost always automatically judge members of other religions for going down the wrong track. At the very least, they might think those people are not as smart as they are. Or they will think they haven’t allowed themselves to be exposed to the right information. Atheists will almost always automatically judge all members of all religions for being so ignorant as not to realize that there is no such thing as God. Believers in God will judge everyone who is not one for being so ignorant as not to see God in everything.
We constantly judge others for the way they dress, the way they eat, the way they think, the way they spend their money, the way they think, who they marry, how they raise their kids…the list goes on and on. Some people are better than others at keeping their thoughts to themselves so as not to hurt the feelings of others. Some people are better than others at self-reproach once they realize that they are being internally judgmental of others. Some people are good at controlling their thoughts and their words…that is until you feel that your countrymen have suddenly turned into a bunch of zombies whose sole intent seems to bring your country down. That’s when you can’t hold it in any longer. That is when you have to let it go. And when that happens it isn’t live and let live any longer. That is when you have to dish it out because you feel a need to wake up that zombie population before they destroy the country. And that is when you need to be able to accept the fact that those zombies and other potentially ignorant individuals will attack your views, your words, and your actions.
Yep. I think I have just done a very good job at convincing myself that it is perfectly all right to imply that a significant portion of the Egyptian population is brainwashed. So there!