We think of book genres, and music genres, and film genres, but rarely do we think of people as living in genres. Yet in reality, the heart of the audiences for each of the artistic genres just described, are also often personality subcultures.
To each other, an honourable and wealthy young person, raised on the symphony and opera, with private schools and fine manners; and a gang banger that listens to rap and dresses like an old school rap star–can seem like a ‘bad people’ to each other, simply because they do not understand each other’s modes of displaying respect, (or most other states of mind, really).
Both communities have honourable and dishonourable people as a part of them just as all do. But often times, rather than noting dishonourable behaviour overall, we tend to only notice it in the communities (or genres) that we do not belong to.
This is a relatively innocent brain-mistake that, over time, compounds itself into a larger, general view that sees others as much different from us, when in reality almost nothing meaningful is different—we’re all just blinded by thought as egos.
What this means is that when we look at people we must be conscious about not judging them by genre. Rather than interpret everything we see through our lens for that genre, we are best to simply watch how they behave. Because generous, or caring, or mean, or angry, or sad, or happy people exist in all genres.
Our job is not to find the ‘right’ genre, and then judge the others. We’re better to make sure we’re watching all of the genres for the sort of behaviour we can be grateful for: displays of kindness and generosity.
If we’re watching for kindness and generosity we will most certainly find examples of it. And fortunately, that is often all we need to do to see ourselves experience a major shift in the level of general optimism that we live our lives with.
Don’t judge. Look for the best in yourself and in others. That alone represents a reliable way to create more of what we value.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.