Raised by a father who was perfectionistic, outwardly nonjudgmental and inwardly hypercritical of everything and everyone, I now see my conditioning as very much operating at cross purposes. I was hit for being judgmental and opinionated, yet urged to be “discriminating.”
Now I feel that something in my intelligence is blocked, impaired, hesitant and afraid. What is the difference between judgment, discrimination, and true clarity? And how is a child, or a forty-three-year-old man, to tell the difference?
Would you please comment?
Mind cannot be nonjudgmental. If you force it to be nonjudgmental, there will arise a block in your intelligence. Then the mind cannot function perfectly.
To be nonjudgmental is not something that comes within the area of mind. Only a man who has gone beyond mind can be nonjudgmental; otherwise what appears to you to be factual, a valid statement, is your appearance.
Everything that mind decides or states is polluted by its conditioning, by its prejudices. That’s what makes it judgmental.
For example, you see a thief. It is a fact he has been stealing – no question about it – and you make a statement about the thief. And certainly stealing is not good, so when you call a man a thief your mind says, “It is valid. Your statement is true.”
But bad? – and what is badness? Why has he been forced to steal? And the act of stealing is a single act, and on the grounds of a single act you are making a judgment about the whole person, you are calling him a thief. He does many other things too, not only stealing. He may be a good painter, he may be a good carpenter, he may be a good singer, a good dancer – there can be a thousand and one qualities in the man. The whole man is too big, and the fact of stealing is a single action.
On the grounds of a single act, you cannot make a statement about the whole person. You don’t know the person at all. And you don’t even know in what conditions the act happened. Perhaps in those conditions you would have stolen too. Perhaps in those conditions stealing was not bad – because every act is relative to conditions.
I have told you the story many times of when Lao Tzu was made the supreme judge of China.
The first case was against a thief who had taken almost half the treasures of the richest man in the capital. And he was caught red-handed, so there was no question about his stealing. He had confessed too, that he had stolen.
Still, Lao Tzu called the man whose house the thief had broken and entered and stolen from, and told the man, “According to me, you both are criminals. Why have you accumulated so much wealth in the first place? The whole capital is starving and poor – and you cannot eat your wealth and you go on exploiting these people, sucking their blood.