Written into our cells and memory is a dream of internal harmony and order. Since man first came to consciousness, it’s been there. The mind searches for patterns, and takes comfort in patterns, repetition, familiarity.
The beating of the heart, the rocking of the cradle, the rhythm of a lullaby: these, along with the loving harmonious feeding of the mother/carer, gentling the babe with the routine of feed, sleep, feed, sleep. The nervous system of the babe grows and develops, learning self-comforting, learning to regulate emotions and calm the searching mind with some kind of pattern that it sees, or hears, or feels.
That searching mind, as it matures into a toddler and doing-ness, discovers itself being a separate person, and asserts NO! joyously, imperiously, and indiscriminately. Its brave explorations into individuality and defiance are as strong as its will, but the rush back to mother’s safe skirts is just as strong: a push and pull away from total dependence on mother.
It’s not until age 7 or 8 in humans when real individuality of judgement might occur. Up until now, any ideas of right and wrong are absorbed and modeled by the child, without true consciousness or understanding. Around age 13 or 14, a shift occurs again, where the child’s consciousness now is able to make true moral judgments that might be independent of the adults in the room.
Teenagers are famously judgmental, with their judgments often being power-driven, unempathetic, based on their own idiosyncratic values or tastes, overly based on other people’s character, and are closed, shallow, and pessimistic, and ultimately have the consequence of making the other person feel problematically diminished.
Judgmentalism comes from a problem with self-esteem, where a person feels the need to put down someone else in order to make themselves feel superior, less vulnerable, and okay. Of course, judgmentalism is a failed strategy.
With compassion, you can accept your own fear of intimacy, your okayness just the way you are, and be open to seeing other people’s points of view. Viewing other people with compassion, you can hold your judgments in abeyance, accepting that others may have differing life circumstances shaping their perceptions and actions.
Compassion allows you to feel empathy for someone else’s feelings and situation, and respond with positive intent. When you feel more empathetic, compassionate, and positive towards someone, their response to you transforms.
If we apply this to the Proud Boys movement: we would seek to understand How did racist, judgmental, supremacist views help Proud Boy members to feel more proud, to raise low self-esteem? That could only happen if they were feeling very inadequate and powerless in their lives, and looking to an adult authority figure for approval and belonging. Such a strange dynamic that this authority figure promoted with his non-empathetic bullying and misogynistic male chauvinism – we can only expect that he represented a familiar and comfortable pattern for the Proud Boys, resonating with their own fathers, or absent fathers.
I recognize that my understanding of the Proud Boys may be limited and impersonal, but examining their dynamic from a human needs view, I can attempt to be compassionate, and less judgmental. Nevertheless, I make a stand for anti-racism, anti-homophobia, and women’s rights to their own bodies, and respectfully stand against racism, homophobia, and birth control tyranny. I make judgments based on my own perceptions of right and wrong, not in an effort to make others less than; rather in an effort to make others more.