Friday, June 4, 2010
You can’t judge people. You just can’t. It remains physically, philosophically, hyperbolically impossible. I mean who are we, really, to say who is more honorable, who is more righteous, who fits where and who belongs to what and who does what because they look like this and say that and think about this and oppose that.
I once heard this theory that the only evidence to prove that G-d exists is that with billions of people on the planet, it remains completely impossible to find one individual exactly like another. Because that’s what we are, individuals. We all breathe the same air, some of us speak the same languages, some of us have the same color eyes, some of us prefer dogs to cats, some of us can’t read, and yet not one of us precisely resembles another. While we may share genes with some, music preferences with others, order the same Starbucks beverage halfway around the country from each other, ride in the same elevator three times a day while avoiding awkward eye contact, our similarities could never feasibly negate our differences.
And with so many billions of uniquely different and special people in the world, how could we even begin to think that we have the authority to judge any one of them?
Two summers ago I traveled to Israel on an advocacy trip. During my stay, I volunteered with the Gila Almagor Wishes Foundation, bringing stuffed animals and smiles to terminally ill children being treated in a Tel Aviv hospital. The event was sad enough, and I remember seeing Israeli and Arab toddlers receiving blood transfusions side by side while watching a popular Israeli cartoon.
Why can’t we all just get along?
The thought wouldn’t leave my head. And almost more prominent than that, I remember wondering why these ultra orthodox, incredibly pious and religious Jews and devout Muslims had to sit next to their children day after day in a pediatric oncology office, while horrible, devious people were roaming the streets every single day, perfectly healthy enough to stick gum on a bus seat or mug an innocent tourist.
But what makes these people better than the rest?
Was it because they were G-d-Fearing? Was it because they were modest? Family oriented? Spiritual? What could possibly make me believe that these religious children deserved illness less than the children of atheists?
After processing my thoughts, I was pretty ashamed at the immediate sentiments at the hospital. No one deserves sickness, no person deserves suffering, and absolutely no person is better than another. We’re all just people.
While one person’s decisions to become a dictator, or a doctor, or a housewife may make her role more or less important in the world, influential for better or for worse, as a human, she holds the same value as her billions of counterparts. While her choices may wreak havoc on the universe or teach us all to become a little more compassionate, she is innately equal to every other human being.
We have no right to judge. We have no idea what makes one person more worthy than another: just because she prays three times a day doesn’t mean she doesn’t skip stoplights, just because a man on the subway complimented your baby doesn’t stop him from going home and spanking his, just because a person has thirteen facial piercings and green hair you can’t assume she deals drugs. We have absolutely no idea. We are absolutely clueless to our surroundings.
So maybe sometime before deciding what a person deserves, what she is capable of, why her equality is unimportant, why she should be treated differently, how you want to see her versus how the rest of the world sees her versus how she sees herself, maybe, just maybe, as an individual, you should ignore all that. Ignore all the stereotypes and biases and pre-determined judgments, and just get to know someone for who she really is, what she really stands for, and understand, that she is unlike anyone else you will ever meet.