If we wanted to stop judging, we’d have to admit that our picture of the world and of others is our picture and ours alone. We would have to admit we are responsible for what we accept, what we reject, and what we respond to. We would need to acknowledge that we are the primary author of our own assumptions and projections. After we grow to accept this, we would then be able to start the painstaking work of deconstructing our own reality tunnel-sorting out what belongs to us and what belongs to other people- and essentially questioning everything we thought we knew about everyone we passed on the street. The resistance we go through from ourselves (and from others) during this process is can be quite frightening. In many cultures and spiritual disciplines the process is likened to dying.

In the end however, our sense of other people and ourselves would become much richer, more varied, far more open to who they are in the moment instead of what we assume them to be. This would happen because we’d start to concretely see that judgments are nothing more than reflexes of convenience : very useful to a pragmatic degree but often saying nothing about the larger, wilder world beyond them. But to do this we would have to pass through the whole terrifying business of confronting our own prejudices and returning to a less certain and unpredictable view of the world and ourselves. Not many people want to do that, or have the privilege of doing so. That’s why most people you meet make judgments.