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DavidV

Reblogged: Understanding and judgment in nature and society

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In the natural world, we can attempt understanding, but not judgement. We can ask why the lion hunts the antelope, but not whether it is right or wrong. We can feel pity for the prey, but we know that while the antelope must die for the lion to live, neither can be said to be more deserving of life. They act as they must to survive, and to judge their method of survival is as irrational as criticizing the earth for going around the sun.
But with human action, it is different. Humans have the power to choose their way of life, and so affect their existence for better of worse. As fellow humans, we can observe the choices of others, understand their consequences, and apply the lessons to guide our own actions. And so, every human action that we observe has the potential for judgement: does this choice improve or worsen the actor’s life, and how would affect mine?
Some people tend to judge without understanding, by following their emotions or someone else’s edicts. Others attempt to understand without judging, viewing other humans as another kind of wildlife, and themselves as the indifferent observer. Both habits lead to disaster if pursued consistently. As mortal animals, our time and resources are limited, and so we must learn from others actions which mistakes and people to avoid, and which habits and people to value. Understanding must come first; if we judge without understanding, we fail to use our primary means of survival (our mind) and enslave ourselves to whomever’s moral edicts we happen to hear first. We must attempt understanding far more often than we judge because obtaining the evidence needed to form a conclusion is never a certainty.
The person who refuses to judge is just as much a slave to the moral edits of others as he who judges without understanding, as neither develops the ability to form his own opinions, and so both fall victim to the first preacher of right and wrong. As mortal beings, our way of life requires that we understand both the facts of nature and the facts and consequences of human action. When it comes to human choices, we must keep in mind that every action and every man-made thing carries the possibility and responsibility of moral judgment.
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Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/A9LM23Hz4_I/

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