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The pleasures of being judgemental

Come on, don't recoil in disgust, as if you have just been the victim of a selfish dog-owner. You know the type, walking the dog and not picking up the poo.
We all like being judgemental. The more we deny it, the more we do it.

The art of making grand pronouncements about our fellow human beings must have been born in the depths of the cave, where everyone was a rival, someone to compete with for the best place near the fire.

Backbiting, I can only imagine, could become quite literal. It's so understandable, with few resources and a constant danger lurking as soon as you stepped outside. This is to say nothing of the dangers that sneaked inside, as everyone is hungry at some point, from fleas to lions.

If you believe in epigenetics  (big word, I know, so big that the auto-correct puts many red dots under it, just through sheer ignorance), so if you do know a thing or two about epigenetics, you can only conclude that human temperament had to incorporate the 'judgemental' feature.

Once it has become part of a genetic make-up, that was it. A frisson of excitement would usually accompany dialogues round someone else's personality flaws, hair or shoes. It was only natural that it had to be accompanied by self-righteousness.

Ever since the emergence of these twin pleasures - seeing everyone else in the worst light and oneself in the best one - socialising has turned into a non-bloody sport of character assassination or just moral dismemberment.

Life would be so boring if we could not dissect other people. There is only so much abstract philosophy that can be ingurgitated with dinner and wine.

I think that one of the reasons solitude is so feared is the inability to converse about a third party. Muttering about someone else on your own feels bad. If it turns into a habit and it's done when others are around, it looks bad and bordering insanity.

I don't know whether anyone has explored this hypothesis, but I think couples who stop bad-mouthing other people are very likely to split up.

It's not passion that dies, but the shared pleasure of being judgemental and self-righteous, while counting on one's partner discretion. Joint activities do miracles for long-term stability.





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