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Don't judge a book by it's cover

Posted 01-31-2009 at 11:56 AM by bibbi
Updated 01-31-2009 at 05:07 PM by bibbi
Ever pick up a book, the cover is old, worn, maybe out of shape, or misshappened a bit? but then you read the opening credits, decided that it sounded like a pretty good book, read the book from cover to cover, maybe more than once, and you know the story by heart after reading it so many times, and then decided..."Hey that's a pretty darn good book, even if the cover is kinda worn!"

Sometimes I think this is the same with people, the outside of someone may not be what your looking for, he/she may be too fat/too thin, nose too big/too small, not pretty/handsome enough, doesn't have a good enough paying job...these are just some things for example.....Don't let an outward appearance of someone cloud your judgement of who they really are on the inside, they just may be the sweetest, nicest, most compassionate, loving person you'll ever meet, that may just richen your life forever.

And I know that there are some that are "bad apples" that spoil the bunch, but you have to pick out the apples with the worms, to find an apple good enough to eat to satisfy your appetite.

Just my opinion
Total Comments 20


  • Old Comment
    I find this to be very true, since I have a jr. high school age daughter who is not one of the "lemmings" ( as she calls them ). She does not follow the crowd, does not allow people to decide, for her, what she should wear, how she should act, and who she should be buddies with, and dresses how she likes to. For this, she is cast aside by these "popular" girls and for her, that is just fine. She marches to her own drummer.
    She is probably one of the most sound and strong individuals I know. And school girls are not the nicest sort, so each day is a challenge.
    However...she moves through her life on instinct. Finding those who take a shine to her because they can see beyond the clothes and the black and red ( sometimes blue! :o ) hair and do not judge her. Staying true to herself has garnered her masses of friends. And to this I tell her that they are "tried and true" because they do not listen to anyone else other than their own conscience. :)
    Smart kids ;)

    As someone said "one persons' red is anothers orange" ( or blue! :o ).
    Posted 01-31-2009 at 03:03 PM by
  • Old Comment
    Good for her, Tracy! She'll grow up stronger and more confident for all that. Not only has she learned not to judge a book by its cover, which will garner rich and valuable friendships, but she'll learn to see the difference between "window dressing" and the real person behind it, saving herself a world of woe.
    Posted 01-31-2009 at 03:39 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Absolutely true! Remaining true to yourself and following your intuition will always lead you to the apple that is right for you. Unless you don't care for apples, of course, ........
    Posted 02-01-2009 at 05:56 AM by asmay asmay is offline
  • Old Comment
    Well said! Tracy, Ostarella, asmay...
    I never judge a book by it's cover...
    for me it's what's on the inside that counts...
    well...if you don't like counting apples...there's always oranges!
    Posted 02-01-2009 at 02:56 PM by bibbi bibbi is offline
  • Old Comment
    Perhaps I'm a bit of a 'reverse' book snob - in the library, I'm always interested by the worn out books which have had many people take them out. It shows me their worth reading, and usually I'm not disappointed. The pristine books that no one has read, but have been on the shelves for ages - well they might make the bookshelf look good, but they can stay there as far as I'm concerned.

    Regarding people: I recall the saying 'The time to judge people is ...

    I've met too many people who have changed over the years to never 'presume' a person won't change their spots!
    Posted 02-03-2009 at 05:16 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    "Regarding people: I recall the saying 'The time to judge people is ...

    I think I'd have to disagree with that. Snap judgments are bad, certainly, as is judging someone by looks or where they come from. But I will judge people by their actions. We hear people say you shouldn't judge someone because they had a bad upbringing - well, at a certain point, they're old enough to know right from wrong regardless. If they continue to do things that are wrong, I'm going to say they're a bad person. Good people don't make a habit of doing bad things.

    "I've met too many people who have changed over the years to never 'presume' a person won't change their spots!"

    I guess one shouldn't presume they won't change - but they'd have to prove themselves before I'd believe it. Ever the cynic, you know
    Posted 02-03-2009 at 05:44 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    I suppose what I mean by 'judging' someone is (taken from wiki)
    "The judge is like an umpire in a game and conducts the trial impartially and in an open court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the prosecution and the defence. If the accused is convicted, then the judge pronounces the sentence."

    If someone has behaved 'badly' to me, then, yes I am wary of them and perhaps try to avoid associating with them in future. But I don't regard that as 'judging' them because may be they had 'a bad day' or 'a bad year', personal strive, bad experiences with others, etc, which has rubbed off on to how they are treating me. And also sometimes people are just thoughtless twerps! And of course, sometimes I can make a mistake too! So that allows a lot of room to 'accommodate' (for me that is).
    Posted 02-04-2009 at 04:53 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    I think I see what you mean - correct me if I'm off track There are "unpleasant" people that we choose to stay away from, but that's not "judging" as much as it's a personal distaste. And it might be just due to the bad day or time period they're having. So to totally write them off could be a bad decision.

    I guess when I talk about judging, it's the looking at someone's lifestyle, behavior, and outlook and comparing it our own beliefs, our own moral compass. I know, according to the Law of PC, we're not supposed to do that, but what else do we have? Throughout our lives, some of those beliefs may change, and we won't judge some people so harshly, but the core beliefs I think stay the same. And if we don't "uphold" that core, then at what point do we say, "No. That's just wrong."? It's because people are closing their eyes to that core that we have that "moral ambiguity" - nothing is *really* wrong, and nothing is *really* right.

    Guess I should get off the pulpit now
    Posted 02-04-2009 at 05:29 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    I guess if I choose to 'stay away' from someone because I'm trying to 'punish' them in some way, then some form of 'judging' would have to have gone on in my head first (can't punish someone without a trial first - well try telling that to Cheney !).

    Unless you know EVERYTHING about a person, then you will never have ALL the facts to judge that person fairly (IMO). That's why I say we should avoid 'judging'.

    So when I choose to 'avoid' a person, I don't do it to punish them (at least that's what I think, perhaps I'm rationalising?) but rather I'm choosing at some point to be selfish in that I'm going to put my 'rights' ahead of the other persons. If they are so focused on argument/anger/competition, they are not interested in listening, understanding, awareness. Further contact just becomes hot air, whilst the person is in such a frame of mind?

    Most people aren't 'bad' or without moral conscience. Yes there are psychopaths/sociopaths, but they make up a small percentage (if that) of the population. This is why I am interested in psychology and other people's perceptions/reactions to others (ie Big Brother) - readers please see my previous blogs on this, Ostarella of course is familiar with them!

    I would recommend reading Eric Berne's 'Games People Play' book to see how easy it is to fall into patterns of unconscious behaviour that can be harmful to ourselves, without realising it.

    Here's a quote from someone else's review of the book, from amazon.
    "Dr Berne's theory is based on the idea that 'Games' provide a means to an end. They structure our time, and enable us to 'belong' to social groups: an important factor in survival. However, they are limiting, in the sense that they are almost always negative; learned from our parents, or based on narrow influences. The games have names such as: 'See What You Made Me Do' ; 'Ain't It Awful'; and 'I'm Only Trying To Help You'. It is easy to recognise games in action, having read the book. Ultimately, the individual has the choice to continue to play games, or to stop playing games (not easy) and to strive for autonomy. "

    Posted 02-05-2009 at 04:57 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
    Updated 02-05-2009 at 05:02 AM by deebeelicious
  • Old Comment
    I don't think you need to know everything, or even a lot, about a person to make a judgment about them. If someone rapes and murders, does knowing what their childhood was like really make a difference? I don't think so. Unless we're looking for an excuse for their actions.

    A less extreme metaphor. We taste a new dish, don't really like it, but the next time it's served, we try it again. Still don't like it. We try it several more times - our taste doesn't change. We don't like it. We don't have to know the ingredients - we just know we don't like it. Now, we see a certain behavior from someone and don't like it; it's wrong according to our beliefs or moral code. But we're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt; maybe they did have a bad upbringing. They keep demonstrating that type of behavior. And finally we say, hey, that's wrong. Period. It doesn't matter what their upbringing was, or what their life is like now. It's still wrong.

    I read that book eons ago, and have some experience with psychology as well. Which is why I don't accept those games. I don't accept the excuses people use for bad behavior. If it's wrong, it's wrong. A one time thing - sure, there may be mitigating circumstances. But a continuing pattern? That's someone who refuses to grow up, or accept responsibility for their actions.

    Stepping out of the "game" doesn't always work. People who play these games don't like that. They will try to drag you right back into it. The game is their life - if no one will play, they have no life. Ignoring bad behavior in children only encourages them to worse behavior because they want your attention. A swift slap on the behind reminds them that not only are there uncomfortable consequences, it tells them very forcefully that their behavior is wrong. Don't do it again. Adults are no different. If we ignore or find excuses for their bad behavior, it only escalates. It's only when we enforce those "uncomfortable consequences" - when they have to accept judgment of their behavior - that they will change.
    Posted 02-05-2009 at 08:13 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Well for me certainly don't judge the book by the cover, but I know, a couple chapters in, if I'm going to like the book or not ;)
    Posted 02-05-2009 at 01:23 PM by
  • Old Comment
    Well, that was succinct!
    Posted 02-05-2009 at 01:27 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    Ah, the classic, judging 'criminals' example! I love having the opportunity of chatting with you O on here!

    Currently in the UK about 20% of the general population has deficient literacy and numeracy problems to hinder them 'functioning' in society, ie able to read and understand safety instructions, fill out forms, etc. (Migrant population is only a few %, so that doesn't explain the poor literacy.) Many industrialised countries do better, like 95% adequate literacy, but UK is particularly bad.

    Problems with literacy and numeracy are worse in the prison population, no surprise there. Some of that is of course down to a slightly lower average IQ in the prison population. The argument being that with lower IQ, the 'options' a person sees before them become 'limiting' and they are more likely to commit a crime. However the poor literacy rates are as high as 70% in prison! IQ levels doesn't explain that high rate. Being let down by parents, schools and society, does explain it.

    Rather than 'giving these criminals a 2nd chance', unfortunately many of them NEVER had a first chance! Prison education is the cinderella of the educational services, so many of these who perhaps could be helped to improve their lives when they get out, aren't getting it either.

    Now, I'm NOT excusing criminal behaviour. Humans live in societies, there are rules to those societies. We all must abide those rules in order to be able to just live 'civily' and anyone who 'commits a crime' and has been through a fair and due process of law, and been 'judged' to receive a penal sentence, then yes of course they must serve their time.

    But when they get out, are they to forever 'serve' a permanent sentence? Should the person who served 3 months in prison for posession of marijuana not be allowed to work ever again? Even after 30 years of going 'straight'. Does a moment of stupidity or madness have to follow someone around forever?

    Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of 'dangerous' people out there, eg paedophiles. And perhaps we need to change our laws and keep such society destroyers away from our children, etc, but most people with criminal records aren't permanently 'bad' people.

    Society would do better if it understood why someone committed a criminal act, so as to reduce the likelihood of that person or others committing other acts. Society also has the 'responsibility' of giving all its children the best start in life we can.

    So I guess I'm saying, one act of 'criminality' doesn't make someone a 'criminal'. We have to give people an opportunity to 'redeem' themselves. That is why I am against the death penalty, because a person will not be given that opportunity.
    Posted 02-07-2009 at 05:02 PM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    Ah, but I didn't say "one" act. I said someone who continually behaves in a way that is wrong. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes, and they should not be judged forever based on that. But repeating that behavior - that's not a mistake. That's deliberate. And those are the people who need to be "slapped down" and face the judgment and consequences.

    I don't know what the literacy rate is over here any more - I wouldn't trust any figures our government puts out on it anyway But I do know that the rule has been to promote kids to the next grade whether or not they have mastered the coursework, and that has to create a vast well of illiterate or near-illiterate. Certainly many high school graduates don't know how make simple change without a calculator (the bane of math in schools, IMHO). At the same time, is not knowing how to read an excuse for robbery or worse? People can learn to read and do simple math at any age, IF they choose to do so.
    Posted 02-07-2009 at 05:19 PM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    It's very interesting what everyone's saying.
    Sometimes, people make hasty judgements without thinking the whole thing through.
    I know I have.
    We need to pause and reflect more. Think things through more carefully and take time.
    I also have the belief that people can change.
    I like to see the good in people.
    Sometimes, we really need to give that person a second chance.
    After all we are all human and make mistakes.
    Posted 02-08-2009 at 09:07 PM by bibbi bibbi is offline
  • Old Comment
    It's great to hear everyones views, the more the merrier, for me!

    I think what you're saying, O, is that you look at 'what' a person does, how they behave, right?
    Whereas, I'm coming from the point of view of 'why' that person has behaved that way. And when looking at the 'why' I have found most people aren't 'bad', there is some 'rational' reason behind their behaviour.

    Most people have consciences and do things for a 'rational' purpose trying to minimise hurt in others.

    Yet, unfortunately there are psychopaths out there.

    Here's an old article which is interesting. I had thought that psychopathy was inherent, but this article suggests for many it isn't. (So I'm glad we had this discussion, I've learnt something new today!) It's those crucial first years that are important.

    He gave a group of three-year-olds from Mauritius a programme of an enriched diet, exercise and cognitive stimulation - being read to and involved in conversation. By the age of 11, they showed increased activity on brain scan readings, and by 23, they were 64% less likely than a group of children who had not been on the programme to have criminal records. ..."The take-home point is that the seeds of crime are sown early in life."

    But, just to take another spin on this discussion, unfortunately it doesn't seem to take much to turn 'normal' rational conscience-filled people into maniacs!
    Dr Spence added that alcohol or drug abuse could also cause damage to the brain and cause psychopathic behaviour. But he said that even people who had never before shown any signs of psychopathic behaviour could behave very cruelly in extreme situations. "In Rwanda, around 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. Most people doing the killing had been 'normal' before - it was something in their environment that changed."
    Posted 02-09-2009 at 06:28 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    I would look at the "why" in the cases of a solitary action, or perhaps a series of actions during a specific time frame. If the person otherwise behaves the way one should in a civilized society/group, then you would have to look at why they suddenly changed. It's not their normal behavior.

    But again - someone who normally breaks the law, acts in a devious manner, has proven time and again they can't be trusted - then I don't care why they behave that way. They have to know it's wrong, because most people don't act that way.

    But I also agree with the early childhood theory. But I would take it a step further - it's not just being read to, for instance. It's the parent/caregiver taking the time to read to the child. The cognitive advantage certainly helps in the child's future "non-criminal" behavior - but having the primary adult(s) instill the idea that the child is worth taking that time, also makes a big difference. Look at children raised in the slums - not all of them turn to gangs and crime. Which ones typically don't? The ones whose parents instill in them a sense of self-worth and responsibility. So yes, definitely, how a child is raised makes a big difference.

    That said, a "solid" childhood may give them a better chance, but in the end, as adults, they have to make their own choices. And that's where the excuses have to end.
    Posted 02-09-2009 at 06:52 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    There's another quote from that article which is of use here:
    He said a lack of adults displaying empathy towards them as children meant psychopaths could not learn from example, and developed the aggressive antisocial personality disorder.

    "If they have experienced gross sexual abuse [or] severe physical violence, they may never have been in contact with the feeling of empathy."

    Dr Spence said 'good parenting' was a crucial part of preventing these tendencies developing. "Even if people have had an experience such as sexual abuse, if they have had at least one good relationship with an adult figure, they don't become delinquent."
    It's so easy to be that 'one good relationship' and so sad that many people incarcerated today never had even 'one' chance.

    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree when it comes to judging people.

    I believe many people don't realise how much their own adult behaviour is influenced by the experiences they had as a young child, which they had no control over then. Expecting a person to behave 'correctly' when they never had empathy and care shown to them in their crucial formative years, is to me, like expecting someone to be able to speak English when they were brought up by wolves!
    That's not a fair break to them, and I think that's where we disagree. 'Curing' psychopathy would be great, but there hasn't been much success yet (if I understand correctly, it's not my area of expertise).

    Being aware of the causes of it, so we can help protect future generations from it, is our duty (IMHO).
    Posted 02-09-2009 at 08:24 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
  • Old Comment
    I guess I look at all the people who grew up without that empathy and still managed to become productive and trustworthy people. So I guess we will have to "agree to disagree" - I'll opt for demanding personal responsibility
    Posted 02-09-2009 at 08:36 AM by ostarella ostarella is offline
  • Old Comment
    "So I guess we will have to "agree to disagree" - I'll opt for demanding personal responsibility "

    I really like that.
    Posted 02-09-2009 at 01:51 PM by bibbi bibbi is offline
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