What comes to your mind and lips when you see Rupert Murdoch now? Power? Corruption? Crook? My reaction to events that have come out in recent weeks has been the same as most: appalled at the phone hacking of thousands of people’s phones, especially victims of crimes and families of dead servicemen. And I have been disgusted at how someone can think its OK to do that for the sake of a story.
There’s clearly a line that has been crossed here. But I wonder if maybe that line was crossed way back, but we’ve become numb to it, and excused it because it has been celebrities who’s privacies have been invaded therefore somehow it’s OK. How many times have we read about some footballer or other who’s had an affair or got involved in something dodgy? When did this become news? Why do we read it? I think for me, it makes me feel superior, and that’s a tempting pleasure. You might be famous and have loads of money, but I’m better than you because I’d never do these things…would I?
It’s all about judging other people based on what you know, disregarding everything else about them that you don’t know. I do it a lot! As soon as we meet someone our natural reaction is to make judgements about them, based on what we immediately see, their appearance, the way they talk and put themselves across, what they “do”, what they appear to believe. And I find its all wrapped up in comparisons with myself; they might be more bubbly and chatty than me, but its OK because I’m a better listener. I make excuses for my own behaviour – e.g., I’m tired today, or it takes me a while to feel comfortable around new people – but don’t give other people the benefit of the doubt. If you look back on the first time you met some of your friends and think about how they came across, how different is that to what you know to be true of them now? Or how you yourself feel when you meet new people, I know I sometimes put on a front, and it takes a while for people to get to know the real me.
Consider then how little we know of people when we see them on the news, or across the street as they’re being dragged away by the police from a fight. When you’re at your worst, do you think people would “like” you if that was all they knew of you? Would it feel fair for them to make judgements about you based on that? Maybe you wouldn’t hack into someone’s phone, or have an affair, or get involved in Nazi sado-masochistic sexual acts, but none of us are perfect, in fact we’re all pretty much the opposite, its just that our faults don’t get splashed across the papers. And if we spent even half the energy focussing on being positive and building other people up, that we do on judging others, and whining about their behaviour that actually has no impact on us, I reckon the world would be a much more pleasant and productive place to be!