We are programmed to judge, but we are not like the Greek Goddess of Justice Themis. She was blindfolded to symbolize unbiased and unprejudiced ‘blind justice’. Our programming is much different.
How We Are Programmed to Judge
To judge is to form an opinion about something. So, we constantly judge. And, the values of our judgments come from the programming contained in our worldview. Our worldview (or paradigm) acts as a filter. This is the lens through which we view reality. It helps us determine what is safe or what is harmful, what is good and what is bad. This operates at both the conscious and unconscious levels of the mind.
Judgments and values are input on the conscious level. They become the boundaries of thought and value in the subconscious. In this way, our mind can make automatic judgments. So, what we think is normal is simply an arbitrary judgment. This can change from culture to culture and over time. We can deny that we are programmed to judge. However, this doesn’t change the facts that we are.
Reprogramming our Survival Instinct
This is a subconscious survival instinct. This ability helps us to assess danger on a subconscious level. It’s that “gut” sense that tells us something is wrong. If we grew up in the jungle we would learn to program it to distinguish between sounds of dangerous animals. But, if we grew up in the city we couldn’t tell. We would need someone to help reprogram our senses to pick up these dangers. The ability to reprogram this instinctual function is instrumental in our ability to migrate.
Unfortunately, this same programmability is prime for misuse. Propaganda is the use of information to covertly influence the thinking, beliefs, and values. It often uses language or situations to elicit an emotional response. It uses a wide range of materials and media for conveying messages. The development of new media creates more ways to program. For instance, paintings, cartoons, posters, pamphlets, films, radio shows, TV shows, and websites.
Our cultural programming comes from sources seeking to dictate our thoughts, beliefs, and values. Sadly, they are very different from the unprejudiced philosophy of the Goddes Themis. It doesn’t take much investigation to see the motives of these entities promote prejudice and biases.
The only way to deal with this issue is to first acknowledge it exists. Then, be brave enough to recognize the sources in our lives. And, finally, employ strategies to deal with it. It’s just three steps. But none of them are easy. This is because we live in cultures that saturate us in programming and propaganda. The programming comes from many sources. It is almost constant. In many cases built into the fabric of daily life. We become so familiar with it that we don’t recognize it. We don’t see how social manipulation is controlling our lives.
1. Step One. Acknowledging the Cultural Filter
The first step is acknowledging that cultural programming exists. This is the hardest step. What the main sources of this propaganda? Unfortunately, it comes from all types of media. It comes through social institutions like religion into our government. It comes at us under the guise of “news.” Together they represent a formidable combination of ongoing brainwashing. Brainwashing is a method of systematic indoctrination. Brainwashing can be overt or covertly employed. It all depends on the amount of time and level of emotional attachment one has to the programming. Propaganda, mentioned earlier, is a form of covert brainwashing.
Religion represents the single most influential social institution behind the programming of bias and prejudice. However, not all religions are harmful. Only those that create boundaries and restrictions dictating values and thought. As a result, these are harmful because they adversely affect our ability to reason. Some religions have more boundaries than others.
For example, Taoism and many forms of Paganism have the fewest constraints over freethinking. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your own path. Whereas, most sects of The Abrahamic religions (The Western organized religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have the greatest number of boundaries. So, step one is admitting that this cultural filter exists and that it is inherently harmful. If you admit that the programming exists, but think it’s okay then you really are still under the influence of the brainwashing.
2. Step Two, Identify the Sources of Programming in Your Life
Step two is identifying the specific sources in our lives. As we said before, the most pervasive source of our cultural programming comes from religion. When we are able to SEE the judgments in this filter we have a choice to accept or reject judgments and values. See what we are programmed to judge and why is a real Eureka moment.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does the culture you live in have a hierarchy dominated by a religious theme promoting prejudice against group or gender?
- Are ideas from outside dominate religion automatically considered as false or evil?
- Is there a practice of preferential treatment based on race, ethnicity or gender?
- Is the official “law of the land” directly or indirectly derived from, dominated or dictated by a religion?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you live in a culture with some degree of cultural programming.
Take an honest assessment of your exposure to cultural programming and the depth of its integration into your life. Realize that social programming is propaganda. Propaganda only works if it’s reinforced continually. Otherwise, the inconsistencies surface. The effects aren’t hard to see if you really look. In some cultures, you have no choice but to “follow” its dictates. Otherwise, you suffer severe consequences. If this is the case, all you can do is protect your mind while projecting obedience. Above all, if you continue to deny that this programming exists, then you remain fully under its control.
Recognize the Tools of Western Organized Religion
Western Organized Religion uses a number of tools for individual and social programming. Some say that this probably the original primary purpose. They use a system of continuous indoctrination and programming to mold values and thinking. They are effective at establishing boundaries, restrictions, and limitations on independent thought. And, “tell” you what is wrong and what is right. They often dictate personal and social values which have ripple effects throughout society. And, their effects depends upon how emotionally invested you are in the propositions they are selling. These systems sell hate, spawn genocide, wars, and discrimination of races, ethnicity, and gender. All the while proclaiming they are agents of love. Those invested in these paradigms are able to cherry-pick the doctrines to fit their needs. Most people who ascribe to a religion accept its prejudices and biases because they are a part of the “whole.”
Even if you don’t ascribe to one of the Abrahamic religions you probably still feel its effects. As such, we must make a conscious effort to question why we value things, people, actions and situations. No matter who, or where you are, you have been subject to the cultural programming through a number of sources. This programming is a filter determining the boundaries and values of things, people, places, and behaviors. This filter programs us to judge everything.
3. Step Three, Implement Strategies
Transforming your perception by questioning everything you hold sacred can be challenging and scary, but, it is well worth the effort. Every great teacher of the worlds major taught this principle. They taught spiritual revolution. Instead, the message of enlightenment became a message of enslavement. And religions of mass hallucination were created in their name. So, the only way to minimize the scope and reach of cultural programming is to reinforce your own critical thinking.
Learn to Judge with Fewer Biases and Prejudices
Enhancing your critical thinking skills is the antidote. It can reverse the bias and prejudice of religious extremism, no matter the source. The critical thinking toolkit includes logical reasoning, logical axioms, and tools for spotting logical fallacy. More than likely these tools will direct you to conduct your own research using sources from outside the religious paradigm you currently hold. You’ll be well on your way to determining fact from fiction. Then, resist the prejudice and bias in any way that you can do so within your circle of influence. Questioning the cultural narrative takes courage. Be measured and safe in your resistance.
Do people often ask if you eliminate all bias from your thoughts and values? It is theoretically possible, but perhaps improbable. This is because it is almost impossible to live anywhere on the planet where you haven’t been under some level of cultural programming. So, our task is to reduce as many of these boundaries as possible.
Some people have deeply ingrained biases and prejudices. It’s harder to overcome brainwashing when the beliefs are deeply held. If you deny you are programmed to judge, you will never be able to see beyond them. Being programmed to judge and staying that way is a choice.
Also, if you’ve lived in a society dominated by one religious worldview it can be difficult. You may want the world to see you aren’t a robot but it may also be dangerous to socially outspoken. Don’t let this deter you. Be the best person you can be. Do what you can, where you are, within your circle of influence. Always remember to be safe. Some cultures still take a hard line of retaliation against anyone who questions the cultural narrative.
We are programmed to judge. However, we have the ability to change this programming. This takes some courage. You must confront your own beliefs and values.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
Image by Google.