Appreciating the science of judgement

All too frequently I hear or read someone with the words ‘don’t judge me’ or ‘ look at your own flaws before judging others’ and while I agree with perhaps the original intent of safeguarding the innocent from our ongoing unrealistic expectations of them, I have to say that judgements do have an evolutionary function. They’re there for a reason.

And they’re natural. I think judgements are especially important in children since they can protect them from potential threats in say, potential kidnappers. Not just natural judgements either but judgements bred by parents or society play a critical role too. Let’s say the age-old rule, don’t talk to strangers.

They allow us to survive. They act as a barrier to prevent us from being placed in dangerous situations. An immensely important role in evolutionary biology.

I understand that our judgements are usually misplaced and incorrect but it’s detrimental to ourselves to completely disregard them. Assess the possible risk against your intuition and instinct and then decide whether it’s worth it.

So don’t stop judging people. Times have changed now but remember that it was once fundamental to our survival.

Loving Yourself

There’s an African saying that really we ought to consider before anyone tells us they love us: ‘Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt’. This means that a person says they love you but yet they don’t love themselves. This is so common. I was reflecting the other day about how everyone wants to date/ get married/ fall in love so that someone can love them, not that they can love someone else. Isn’t that the whole point of love to give whatever you can-within your means and morals-unconditionally and loving someone? You’re supposed to love, not just be loved.

How insecure and dependent will someone who dates/marries/is in a relationship be if they are only in it to be loved. How shallow is that? Most of us are inspired to pursue ‘love’ just so we can be loved and apparently this leads to happiness and results in one loving themselves. How absurd. This is why there are ‘clingy’ people out there; there is this popular mentality people have that if someone appreciates and loves them, they will love themselves eventually and be happy. How strange is it to rely on another person to make you happy?

If you want to be happy, be. It’s got to come from you, specifically inside you. No one else can make you happy without your permission, so sure, let other people contribute to that happiness but don’t let them be the reason. Otherwise you’ll find yourself alone, some moment in the day, and you will be ridiculously unhappy, maybe even on the verge of depression.

I’m not saying we should all succumb to the brilliant hell that is the ego (it’s attractive, but you really, really don’t want to feed that demon). Arrogant people don’t even love themselves. Yeah. I said it. No, you’re brain isn’t deluding you, I really said that. Arrogant people love the image of themselves that’s formed in their heads, or people’s opinions- in arrogance’s eyes, an opinion which is either deserved if it’s good or too inferior to take into account if ‘bad’ or critical.

So appreciate yourself. Acknowledge and respect your flaws, your characteristics and your goodness, all of it. Learn to love yourself because then you understand yourself and want the best for you, whether that’s almost killing yourself on the treadmill in anticipation of a better physique or studying to midnight to attain that coveted A grade. You’ll do what’s better for you in the short and long term. And you won’t let someone’s opinion or their actions or words, trample all over you.

Why chocolate should be banned

So you’re out to shop, browsing the stacked shelves for that one prize. Your goal. Your meagre earnings spent on that one beautiful product: chocolate. As I was eyeing the food necessities placed cunningly in the face of an unassuming customer-me-in a long-overdue shopping trip with my mum, I kept coming across chocolate. Not just a few pieces in a small section, but displayed attractively in all but one aisle (the one with vegetables, obviously). So after that unneeded annoyance of trying feverishly to blackout the gorgeous devils from my range of sight, I came up with my top 6 reasons why chocolate should be ignored (*gasp*):

1. It looks horrible-is that really something you want to eat? Look at it-no, really look at it. It’s brown, dull and doesn’t appeal  to my senses (other than my taste buds, but even then it’s just the thought of it that makes me salivate and popular portrayal-not the actual junk).

2.The packaging: it deceives, poses environmental issues and is unfairly attractive to my salivary glands. Why make it so colourful and distractive to my vision when I obviously want nothing to do with it. Obviously it’s used for marketing purposes, however it’s popularised so much within stores-major and local-that I’m forced to see it and then engage in another internal battle why I can’t have it.

3. It might taste sweet but so do apples and watermelons. Why not substitute that unnatural junk for real food; you feel fuller, and you’re taking in fewer calories so can always gorge on other stuff later. Or, by eating chocolate, you’ve got to exercise more with a higher intensity than if you’d just eaten, say, a banana to maintain a good fitness level. Do you really have that time and energy?

 4. Cocoa farmers are paid ridiculously low wages!! Yeah, yeah I’ve heard that argument before… We have to buy chocolate so that cocoa farmers are paid. That’s just another excuse for your over-indulgence. And by buying that chocolate you’re actually supporting what these huge profit-making businesses do by hardly paying enough to live by. Even fairtrade-is it really enough for a family to thrive or just for it to survive?

5. Makes me crave more! Wonder why you’re addicted? Because of those addictive substances it contains of course! This leads to me consuming more food, which in turn leads to a much larger calorie intake than I can possibly use without vigorously exercising for 2 hours straight.

6. Spots/ Pimples. My friends-the typical teenage variety who constantly vandalise their bodies with chocolate-are always complaining about spots appearing on their faces. Sure, foundation can help but that’s just another lie. It’s true-their faces do adorn spots.

Grades

Today I got another C grade for biology. Gutted after the hours of work I put in. I actually thought I was doing ok since the last time I got an A. I thought, almost expected, at least a B, even after I did no revision for this particular test-sure, I learned it but I didn’t revise it. And that’s another thing. I only got my last A after revising the evening prior to the test, before this I was continuously given C’s.

It’s not that I don’t try hard. I’m attentive in class: I take notes in class, notes from the textbook at home and usually understand the key points. But the difference between me and the people who got straight A’s last year is that they work, presumably, all the time. They work hard in class-but I guess everyone does that-and during their breaks I always see them in the library. Here, most of the people who use the library are science students. I’ve done that in the past and it didn’t affect my grade. It was only when I was determined to get a high grade for myself-not for my family or for an ego boost or for universities, just purely for myself-and I grabbed whatever means I had to reach that goal, did I get a good grade.

What I’m concerned about however, is that there was a person who did less revision than me (I only read through most of the first module while that person only did about two pages of the module) got a higher grade than me. It wasn’t just higher by a little difference but by a huge difference.

The excuse that keeps popping into my head is that ‘I just don’t do very well in these class tests but I’m more suited to the actual exams. I want to just destroy this excuse: these tests determine my target grade for the actual exam and it is by these little, seemingly pointless, milestones that I can get to the greener side.

I keep getting distracted by the things in my head; I just wish I was as focused as I once was. I wish I was still a straight-A student.

Death

I know I’ll die soon. Everyone does. It’s the cycle of life: ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

How often have you thought about dying? Once a day? Once a week, month…year? Decade even? So many past nations have risen and fallen, their remains now scattered in the earth. It’s as if they were never here, like they never existed. What proof do I have that such-and-such person ever lived? Of course you could use DNA testing and all of those other snazzy science-tech tools but what if you can’t find anything to test on? No remnants of life or..or anything.

How many of those dead-those countless forgotten people-do I remember? Merely a handful compared to those who have once been. Just those who’ve changed the world in a substantial way: the scientists who advanced modern living, authors, royalty and the like. The name flashing in my skull right now is Thomas Edison. He gave us light to brighten the darkness.

We had to replace a faulty bulb today and the newer one is so much brighter.. It hurts to look at it. It’s artificial, sure, but that I’m depending on that very light to light my way-without it I would have had a few sprains by now. And before suggesting ‘candlelight, duh!’ you should know that candles are hardly as bright nor as convenient as device just hanging passively from the ceiling.

I think it’s just so profound, so, so meaningful that a person who lived, some uh, 81 years ago had the power to affect everyone’s lives today. And this is what he said:

Remembrance Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.