Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why do we like judging others?

Some weeks ago, I had an unpleasant experience: someone commented on my blog and started judging the messenger rather than my message. That experience led me to write this blog. It was already high on my list of topics, following a conversation with a friend. She is frequently judged by others.

It’s not my habit judging others in public (eg, Wiki). I prefer to keep my opinions to myself (eg, someone, something). What’s the value of an (or my) opinion anyway? Like Clint Eastwood‘s character Dirty Harry said in The Dead Pool (1988): “Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one.” (video, Wiki).

I noticed several psychology (related) articles that gave these answers to the why question above:

  • People judge others to avoid reckoning with potential feelings of inferiority and shame.
  • Since judging others can never give a person what they really need, they feel like they have to keep doing it.
  • The pull is to see people in a rank-order, hierarchical fashion. When two people encounter one another, one is better and one is worse. 
  • Source: Psychology Today-2021
  • It Helps Us Feel Superior;
  • It Helps Us Recognize Our Goals;
  • It Uncovers Our Own Faults;
  • It Makes Us Feel Part of a Group.
  • Source: Arcadian Counseling
  • We don’t know a person well (yet)
  • We cannot identify with a person’s belief system, values, or behavior
  • That person somehow threatens how we perceive ourselves
  • Source: tiny buddha

A 2021 article in The Times of India mentions two psychology theories that explain judging:
1. Attribution Theory – a.k.a. who gets the blame;
2. Psychological projection (Seeing Our Darkness in Others).
Note LO: psychological projection and reverse psychology (see bullet lists above) are interrelated.

The link between attribution and blame becomes clear from this definition: “Attribution is a term used in psychology which deals with how individuals perceive the causes of everyday experience, as being either external or internal” (Wiki). We blame those for having “caused” something.

Last week, I made the classic mistake to involve myself in an emerging discussion. With hindsight, it would have been better to “walk away”. At first, I tried to explain myself – without success. Then, the discussion went off-topic. Finally, it turned into a personal attack by – basically – a stranger.

I’m still considering how I should prevent the above. I could stop writing. That is not an option, however. A tiny buddha article, 8 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You, comes with an interesting suggestion: expect reactions from others. Indeed, I did not expect that one.

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.
Thinking is difficult, therefore let the herd pronounce judgment!

The abbreviated and full quote by Carl Jung (1875-1961), a “Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst”

Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player (1973) by Elton John
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


Framework Posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest