Post #502     THE PARTIAL ARTS

Objectivity in its purest sense is the inarguable gold standard for the proper evaluation of life experience, the exercise of judgment, and the making of elective choices. However, as eternally, appears to be the case, in common with all gold standards, it is an aspirational goal, and not an accomplished reality. The earnest dedication to be objective, in man’s evaluative exercise of judgment, is morally and empirically, admirable, but, more often than not, unrealizable.

There appears to be, some measure of dissonance between the residual impact of our previously learned experience, and our expectations of an unaffected and objective learning, of new experience. This appears to be most observable in the process of societal interaction. Man’s psyche appears to be indolent, often preferring to make effortless judgments, based upon perceived similarities with past individuals, or with like factual situations, rather than the more challenging and appropriate, effort of the fresh analysis of new experience, or the “sizing up,” of newly met, people. This failing seems to be, notably applicable to a teacher’s evaluation of students, and, to somewhat of a lesser degree, in child-rearing.

A demonstrably abusive, and repugnant instance, of this reductive trait, is a nefarious practice, known as “profiling.” The perverse dynamic of this practice, is the reflexive, perception, and attribution, of dangerous or undesirable potential, to reductively selected, physiognomic traits, as well as race or ethnos. This unjust practice exceeds in ignorance and bigotry, the long-ago discredited, Lombrosoan Theory (“atavistic types”), and Europe’s past populist analysis, by cranial bumps.

We shall go so far as to declare. that any facile evaluation of individuals, colored by past experience with others, perceived to have resembling characteristics, is, ipso facto, erroneous, reductionist and quintessentially, neurotic; further, that decisional choices, based thereon, are irrational and meritless, as well as unfairly prejudicial.

An empirically related subject is the nuanced, evaluation of experience, grounded on a perceived, evaluation of its protagonist. An act by a person, esteemed to be a law-abiding and a good citizen, may accrue the unearned luxury, of being perceived differently, than the perception of the identical act, performed by a person, reputed to be of questionable character. Only the former will get the benefit of the doubt; the latter will, unfairly, be looked upon with suspicion. A sitting Judge will be open to consider a positive, moral interpretation of an equivocal act by a citizen, reputed to be upstanding, but infer otherwise, concerning an accused person, with an unknown, or poorly ascribed reputation. A parent may, more leniently interpret, the breaking of an expensive Chinese vase, by a well behaved child, (especially, one who earns good grades at school), than a less well behaved, one; the act, itself, being unequivocal, identical, the unjust evaluation, most regrettably, is not.

This is the unjust phenomenon, whose intended expression, is the specifically intended theme, of this writing, i.e., that the evaluation of a particular act, may often be made, unfairly, as being based upon a (correct, or erroneous) previous partiality or negative appraisal of the actor. It is profoundly unjust, to entertain an undeserved partiality for an actor, responsible for a bad result, who previous to the errant act, bore a favorable reputation, in stark contrast to the treatment of another, subjectively perceived, to be of unpopular or of unknown persona. Surely, fairness requires the nature and quality of the act, itself, that needs consideration and evaluation, and not, inappropriately, the actor.

This regrettable inclination, to downplay the value of a useful act, by a perceived meritless person, in addition to being immoral and unjust, is objectionable, as well, for several practical reasons. First, if an act has significance at all, it is good and useful, or alternatively, wrong and useless, on its own, intrinsic and objective merits, and without irrelevant, inquiry as to the identity of the actor.  Second, there is little or no progress of societal growth, where advances are not evaluated, strictly, upon the basis of their own intrinsic value or usefulness. Third, if the act, or object, has value to society, it’s utility exists, entirely independent of the person of the creator; and may be of great value to society, notwithstanding any extant and irrelevant disdain for the innovator. Indeed, the innovator may, previously, have been prejudicially or erroneously, disparaged in reputation, and the innovative discovery may enhance his previous societal standing and reputation.

By contrast, with reference to detrimental, or wrongful acts, the same need to be, rationally, evaluated upon the extent of its particular harm or extent of danger posed to society, rather than any previous, prejudicial evaluation of the person of the perpetrator. This uniform process is consistent with society’s espoused principles of “American justice.” Severe and unjust treatment often is unjustly meted out, to persons (conceivably, on unjust racial or ethnically, bigoted, grounds) who are arbitrarily perceived, to be on the “outs,” with society, or with its empirical norms. For the sake of attaining a just society, the acts of such unfairly, perceived individuals, in common with all members of society, must be impartially, evaluated, on the specific act’s objective degree of wrong.

The convenient and effortless, knee-jerk reaction to the reductionist judgment of others, based upon stereotypical past resemblances, in accordance with the most fundamental concept of rational fairness and justice, must be restrained and replaced, to the degree, humanly achievable, with objective evaluation, free of societal, scuttle-but, and its, self-perpetuating, usually unfounded and anti societal, partiality.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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