Excerpt About Judgment

Comparative Judgment is an Important Part of Discerning the Truth

Even when we are not in the process of inquiry, we understand what is happening in our daily life because our mind is always correlating, contrasting, and judging. Without this, there is no knowledge and certainly no scientific knowledge. What we see here is that comparative judgment is an important part of discerning the truth. And comparative judgment, in the scientific sense, always leads to the recognition of the meaning and implications that result from the comparisons that are made. This means that to understand your current patterns, you also have to understand their relationship to what happened in your past. In our example, you would need to recognize that fifty years ago, when you were a child with your father, you were too little to stand up for yourself. Now you are an adult—bigger, stronger—and you see things differently. You need to have the ability to judge—to see that particular truth and to recognize its meaning and implications. That is what is called a scientific assessment or a scientific judgment of the situation. “I can now see that when I was only eleven, I couldn’t stand up for myself with my dad, but now I am sixty-one, so, according to my assessment, I have more capacity to take care of myself and to be my authentic self.” In this way, the process of inquiry moves on in a continuum of correlation, contrast, comparison, assessment, and judgment—but all of it is neutral. If you are looking at your experience scientifically, when you say, “Yesterday I was more terrified than I am today,” you are not saying which is better. You have no sense that you would rather feel less terrified today or that you should. Your statement is only for the sake of understanding that you were more terrified yesterday than you are today.

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