Thursday 22 March 2007

How To Be Judgemental

I'm not sure if you are familiar with geriatric1927. He's a British senior citizen who took a stab at technology and started posting video diaries. Here's his latest post.

"Now what does this have to do with being judgemental?" you may be asking yourself. Bear with me and let me tell you.

Mr. geriatric1927 started these YouTube postings a while ago, mostly to see if he could use the technology and as a way of keeping himself busy. You see, he is old and alone, neither of which are desirable characteristics these days. He began posting, people began listening and then everyone began connecting. He had things to say that people wanted to hear: advice, memories of wartime, complaints about the way he is treated. And people responded. By posting video posts back or sending him email. And suddenly he wasn't quite so lonely. And being old isn't quite so bad. The press has gotten wind of this and he is now an international phenomenon.

I was telling this story to a group of people when one of the members of the group looked down her nose and said "These people clearly don't have enough to do." This sounded all too much like the morally superior lament of 20 years ago made by parents who hugged trees, "Oh we don't even own a television." This simply meant that the world was suddenly passing them by. And their children were largely unprepared for social situations outside of their own home.

I was aghast. Now I don't know what she does with her time and frankly, I don't care. It's not my place to assign value to anything she chooses to do. Nor is it her place to judge what others do with their time, particularly if it doesn't harm/injure/affect her or her family in any way, shape or form.

Quite frankly, I find a great deal of comfort that whilst this man could not find company in his neighbours, he founds friends from the net. Most importantly, these people didn't judge him for doing what he was doing. He's clearly better off on YouTube than down at the pub!

If only we spent some of that time spent judging and assessing what other people are doing and got busy with tackling our own To Do List, we might have a far more compassionate world!


Janell said...

In one way, the woman was right - geriatric1927 didn't have enough to do, but now (happily) he does. why that should have offended her is beyond me. You make very valid points about him making connections and new friends via the internet - I have found that to be true as well and am infinitely fascinated by it. And he is much better off here than in the pub!

Janell said...

i just visited geriatric1927 - How delightful!