Let them eat cake


“Let them eat cake” a phrase attributed to Marie Antoinette when told the locals were revolting because they had no bread. It is told as indicative of the callousness with which the royalty of the period viewed “lesser mortals”.

True? Who knows? However it is indicative of the mind-set of most people. We tend to imagine everyone in the world lives pretty much as we do.  We can only live inside our own lives. No one else can even start to imagine all that has happened in any one else’s life and how it shapes their circumstances, and how they view them.

This week I had the extremely dubious pleasure of being exposed to someone who, as she got drunker, dropped her mask of tolerance and went through stages of denigrating people we all know have had a rough deal, comparing them against her own standards of upbringing. Until she was ranting incoherently against (apparently) everything and everybody.

I told her she wasn’t talking sense. And immediately fell into her trap, I too was judging without knowing.

I wanted to see her “eating cake of reason and tolerance”, but I had no idea what she had faced in her life.

That’s how we are. Judging without knowing.

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27 thoughts on “Let them eat cake

  1. Oh, how easy it is to fall into that trap, Sidey. I spend my life trying to avoid judging, but it is so easy. Especially when I get into a car, I find myself inventing motives for other folks’ misdemeanours.
    Perhaps one day i will improve!!!

    John

  2. Ah, you have said it perfectly, Sidey – I too fall into judgment without knowing it… especially when it comes to judging the judge{r).

  3. Pingback: Heads will roll «
  4. I remember some while back having a spirited argument on LD with those who said nobody has a right to judge another. I disagree. Most of our decisions have to be based on judgement of one kind or another. The trick is to make them as informed as possible, and to make them constructive rather than destructive.
    Bottom line: bad conduct is bad conduct, whatever the extenuating circumstances may be.

    1. that is always open to debate. should one kill? no. but in self defence? some say yes, others say killing in any form is wrong.

      ‘bad’ conduct is so often a culturally based judgement, time and circumstances make some things acceptable at one time and place, and not so elsewhere/when

  5. Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them,” and I think that never to judge anyone, one would have to be a Saint. You can never reason with a drunk person, as you found out to your cost. xxx

    1. IF only we all loved and didn’t judge. Then there would be nothing to judge. But humans are essentially greedy

      re the drunk, how silly I was to even try!

  6. I kind of sit on the fence with “judgement” and think that it is fine to judge to a certain extent, but then to understand you can change that judgement when you know the bigger picture.

  7. Sidey ~ Good topic and examples.

    I’ve written on this subject before. To me, there is an enormous difference between observing others and “judging” them based on those isolated observations:

    From my perspective, there is a significant divide between judging people and observing them (with alert curiosity), even when we draw a few innocent inferences from our observations.

    If I see X eat a piece of chocolate cake, I might assume that X enjoys both chocolate and cake, at least on occasion.

    That’s an observation with a dollop of speculation, not a judgment.

    I am not assessing X’s moral character. I’m just noting one aspect of X’s life based on my observations ~ and I understand that I might be incorrect.

    To read more:
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/observing-life-with-alert-curiosity/

    You observed that her ranting made no sense. That assessment was no doubt correct, based on your first hand observations. That is not the same thing as JUDGING her ~ for example, concluding that she is a horrible person all the time because she over indulges some of the time. 😉

    1. nancy I did JUDGE her, I believed she was a bigot, and a liar, pretending tolerance of all when sober and saying rather nasty things about the same people when she hadd consumed several large scotches.

      I assumes she liked whisky 😉

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