Monday Morning Greetings 2019 #39 – In Defense of Judgment

September 30th, 2019

“That’s a judgment!” I hear this too often. What a silly statement! How can one criticize a judgment itself? You can say it’s a bad judgement or that one is too judgmental, meaning one is making judgments unnecessarily, excessively, or with motive. That is, however, criticizing the quality or application of one’s judgement, not condemning discrimination in itself. Where did this crazy idea come from? Sounds like something that has seeped down either from some new age sentiment or postmodern thought where all knowledge is considered a relative judgment born of power. Either way, how absurd! That’s my judgment, and yes, I stand by it.


Does anyone really believe that knowledge, which is the standard of judgment, is relative? In other words, that there are no truths that can stand absolutely and independently of human evolution and cultural relativism. How about this one? It is wrong to abuse and torture women, or to orchestrate the genocide of a particular race or nationality. Does anyone actually believe that there was a time and place when this was not absolutely pernicious? A brute crushes an innocent baby’s skull with his boots. Do you really think a moral judgement in relation to such a deed is dependent on evolution and that only after the action served the survival of the fittest it became wrong? I will assume that honest and reasonable people, regardless of their world view, will admit that there are things that are wrong, transcendentally wrong, and to call one out simply for making a judgment, besides obviously being a judgment in itself, is an untenable conviction to say the least.


In summary, it is self-evident that there is transcendent truth, including objective morality, that exists eternally and independent of human opinion. To think or live, therefore, as if an appeal to objective standards is whimsical is an idea that no reasonable person will embrace. Let me bring this concept of “in defense of judgment” a little further by analyzing what the existence of objective truth means practically.


It means evolved seekers throughout the ages will search for that truth, and those fortunate enough to have found it will have realized it by applying it in their lives.


It also means that there will be souls who are compassionate, a foundational principle of that truth, who have encapsulated those truths in traditions of knowledge recorded in books for the benefit of others.


Finally, it means that sincere people, who in the future follow those traditions, understand that their relationship to transcendent truth is one of surrender. If surrendering to the truth is a frightening prospect, just reflect for a second on the following. Are not the people we most admire, people who rule their lives by certain noble principles beyond just what they want? Are we happy in relationship to those who rebel against values of humility, selflessness and compassion, and other universal truths, and live with no ideal higher than their own desires and opinions?


A quick word about how these truths are communicated in the tradition of bhakti: The universe is manifest from sound. The same sound that creates the universe gives knowledge of its utility, which is called the Vedas. There are spiritual lineages that know and realize the essence of the Vedas. By the sincere desire in the heart to seek and serve the truth, one will find a teacher who represents those teachings. By serving and inquiring from such a realized soul and surrendering to his or her teaching, one can also realize the truth.


A word of caution: Traditions of knowledge warn that hierarchical systems, especially in modernity, can be abused by unscrupulous or unqualified people. It is thus the duty of every seeker of the truth to test the relationship of mentorship with their teacher for some time before committing to discipleship. It is also the duty of a teacher to test the qualification of the student before fully accepting them.


In conclusion, there is universal truth manifest in different forms. We are incumbent to become men and women of character by realizing and surrendering to the truth.


“That’s a judgment!”


Yes, that’s my whole point.




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