gauri nadkarni choudhary
The Biased Judge
If we were to do a survey of what we fear the most, one of them would be the fear of being judged. We may scream from the top of the towers that what others think of us does not really matter to us but truth be told, it does matter! To all of us! Yes, the extent may vary, the reactions may wary but deep down all of us dislike being judged. Especially when the judgement is biased, when we feel we have been judged without being given a fair chance or for no fault of ours.
Now let’s introspect a little here. If I ask you to honestly think and decide who judges us the most? Who is the most biased judge in our lives?
In all honesty the most biased and the harshest judge in our life is ‘ME’. We tend to judge ourselves all the time, without evidence, in the harshest possible manner. So what are these crimes that we accuse ourselves of? Under what laws do we judge and punish ourselves?
Article Imperfection: The crime of missing the mark: How often do we judge ourselves for being less than perfect? It is one thing to strive for improvement and a completely different thing to pull yourself down when you fall short of the mark. The biased judge in us looks at this imperfection as a failure and passes a verdict that we are good for nothing. The biased judge fails to look at the evidence of other perfections and the mitigating circumstances that could have caused the imperfection. He fails to consider the basic fact that perfection itself is imperfectly defined and no person before or after has been perfect. Yet a less than perfect grade to a less than perfect body is criminal to us. I met a brilliant student, doing well for herself, who criminalised and punished her not having the perfect body shape. Another young man judged himself harshly for not being able to play his musical instrument perfectly.
Article In Comparison: The crime of not keeping up with others: The biased judge in me does not see me as an individual with my own strengths and limitations. He always sees me in comparison to someone or worse in comparison to multiple people and judges me as good for nothing. If I have not achieved as much as the people around me I am labelled as a failure. An extremely talented young girl remained under constant stress because she felt her peers were ahead of her on the career graph. A middle aged man battled hypertension because in comparison to his school mates he was not as successful. A student cried daily because in comparison to her friends she had lesser awards and certificates. If they could not do as well as others they were not doing well at all. The judge fails to consider that two people have different circumstances and conditions that impact their way forward.
Article deadline: The crime of time lag: We look at life as a series of deadlines in terms of age. All our plans and goals are based on this deadline. The biased judge in me believes that if I do not get something done in a specified period of time, it loses its value. I have a pre-set time plan to achieve something and if I do not stick to it for whatever reasons then I am sentenced as a failure. A man who took break from his career due to complications in health constantly belittled himself for not achieving his 'targets' when it was the right time. The judge fails to see the evidence that an achievement is not time based but based on what it brings in return.
Article disenchant/dishearten: The crime of letting someone down: Most of us live to please. We want to fulfil the expectations of the people around us from family, to partner, to boss and maybe to society in general. In the bargain of fulfilling these expectations I make myself stand trial for every single act. A working woman guilts herself every time she falls short of juggling between being a homemaker and an employee. A man belittles himself every time he is unable to satisfy all the needs of his family. The student who goes into depression because he could not live up to parental expectations of making it into some big university. A young girl who could not organise and manage all the work her family wanted her to do despite her hectic schedule. The biased judge overlooked the basic fact that it is not humanly possible to live up to every single expectation from us. Not because we are not willing but because we play multiple roles (each with its own expectations).
Article false mirror: The crime of falling short of own expectation: We all have this image of ourselves. Of how we are, what our qualities are and how we deal with situations. Not always is this image based on reality, but mostly on how we would like ourself to be. A woman who believed she had a lot of patience (with everyone except herself) feels the need to penalise herself every time she loses her cool. A man who sees himself as the strong types is horrified that he broke down in some situation. A woman who is efficient almost all the time is unable to accept that she could be exhausted. The biased judge ignores the evidence that the image is not real and based on facts but a mere reflection of how we would like ourselves to be.
In ancient time, the wisest and the most neutral person was considered the judge of that society. This person could look at facts and ignore false information. He wouldn’t sway down to pressure but have an unbiased opinion. The modern justice system also expects the same from its judge. Moreover the ‘punishment’ should be proportional to the extent of the crime.
Why then have we trained ourselves to be biased and harsh? Why do we disregard the evidence which points out to the fact that we are not guilty of what we have been accusing ourselves of?
It is important to take responsibility of our actions but it is also important to realise that the responsibility is rational and based on correct facts.
All justice systems hold the dignity and respect of its subjects as its basic preamble. All laws are set in place to ensure that the individual lives in dignity and peace with self-respect. Why then, are we going against the basic rule of justice? Why have we become the biased judge?