Judgement: The Trouble with "Us" v."Them"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Judgement: The Trouble with "Us" v."Them"

I've had this article written for awhile, and since I have a blog, and I hear that people yack about things that are running through their heads in them, well... here you go.     (After a little chocolate and a glass of wine, this bout of being serious should subside and I shall return to talking about pretty sparkly things.)

And now for a completely un-Stacie-like soapbox ramble...

 During this political year, the ever widening gap of "us" v. "them" troubles and saddens me.  Our government seems to be ripping itself apart in a frenzy of finger pointing and demonization of the other.  Each side so convinced of their point of view that there is no longer room for compromise or even mutual respect.  It's not just the realm of politics unfolding on CNN that troubles me, but to some degree or another, so many normal people are gathering themselves up into philosophical, like-minded herds that necessarily alienate them from anyone who has differing view points.  More disturbing, the "us" v. "them" attitude is some venomous smearing of politics, religion, nationality, philosophy, class, sex, gender preference, and race.  I may have even missed a few.       

Philosophers have long mused what is at the heart of human darkness.  What is the most corrupting flaw that turns human beings into the monsters of one another?  Lately, my opinion has been that pride that expresses as self-righteousness is the worst offender.  Self-righteousness is a draped predator in the corner of perception, settling into the conviction of those who simply decide that they have it right.  Self-righteousness is the suspension of humility and the donning of the deluded belief that personal perception is so flawless, so pure, that one is capable of knowing and speaking for Absolute Truth (or God, if the belief is founded in religion).  Self-righteous people feel entitled to judge, condemn, vilify, and perhaps even to punish.  The "us" vs. "them" dynamic is so pronounced that whomever "they" represent are often seen as an authentic threat in both general and personal ways.  Also, "they" are corrupting others with "their" wrong ways.  Now we have a fight and struggle against "them" for the opinion and agreement of those with more neutral views.  Annie, get your gun, they are coming.    

A self-righteous human being assumes to know or understand Truth so well that there is a sense that this superior understanding should place him/her in a position of power and dominion over others... who are clearly too stupid or corrupted to understand the Truth.  Every fanatic that has used a bomb on a crowded market or a Planned Parenthood, shoved people into a gas chamber, beat a homosexual to death, threw a noose over a tree limb, tossed a "witch" into a fire, or held a ridiculously hateful sign at a military funeral is forged first in the delusion of flawless perception.         

There is no such thing as perfect human because there is no such thing as perfect human perception.   Someone who is self-righteous has suspended awareness of personal bias, limitation, and the possibility of personal perceptual distortions. That is why we should not be in the business of judging one another or defining Universal Truth with 100% certainty.  We all see through our own colored lenses from a lifetime of experiences and beliefs that shape how we define everything else.  Our beliefs are often incomplete, biased, limited, or inaccurate.  Our conclusions are easily shuffled into absurd, shadowy, and grandiose places that can make monsters of anything or anyone.  Like beauty, ugliness is also often within the eye, or perception, of the Beholder.       

Be wary of the process of your own judgements and beliefs that shove other people or conclusions into tiny boxes of your own creation.  Question them.  Dig at them.  Peel them back and seek to know your own motives and intentions.    Human beings are incredibly complex.  We are at the mercy of influences from every direction that are not necessarily consciously understood.  We do not have the wisdom or authority to know or judge the heart and mind of any other human being.  We barely scratch the surface of understanding our own.  We are like blind people gathered around an elephant, trying to describe the truth of what is in front of us.  Yes, our small perspective might be right, but to dismiss other reports as wrong is to ignore the fullness of the picture.

To solve our problems, to even just be adaptable for continued human survival, we must begin to erase the deeply etched lines in the sand between "Us" and "Them".  The answers to the problems we have will almost certainly be found somewhere in the middle.  Forgive yourself and your fellow human being for being so small.  We can't help it.  It is just the way it is.  Bless Our Hearts, we are generally clueless to the overall picture, don't you think?  I have come to embrace and forgive that about myself and others, and do my best to hold working theories in an open hand, instead of a belief system inside a white knuckled fist.  I will strive (and sometimes fail) to see others through a lens of love and acceptance.  If that makes me a crystal-toting, tree-hugging, hippie, Pollyanna, dreamer, hmmmm....then bring on the patchouli and, I don't know, whatever else "those people" are into.  If I'm going to be shoved in a box, I want to be in the box where the people are totally groovy.  Oh right, I live here.  It's called Asheville. :) 

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."--Albert Einstein 

Christopher and I have a brand new website and blog. :)  I'm going to leave archived blog articles up in here, but all new articles will be published under the new site.

Our new website is here:

Our new blog, which we have integrated together, is here:


  1. Couldn't agree more, Stacie. Excellent.

    1. Thanks Chris, this was the article I was talking about before. I decided to grow a pair and just post it.