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wundayatta's avatar

What are some of the experiences you had that formed your judgement.

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) February 13th, 2009

I suspect that we all had some important experiences that had a strong impact on how we see things, and what we think is good or bad. I know that for me it included the Vietnam war, or the reaction to it by my family and friends. The push for equal rights for women was also important. Also my Father’s vehemence one day, when we were talking about an opportunity to take advantage of some loophole and get a lot of money for nothing, that this was not something anybody in our family would ever do. Of course, there were many more, but those leap to mind when I start thinking about it.

Can you point to any event or series of events that had that kind of impact on you, in terms of forming the way you judge behavior? What impact did those events have on you? How did they form your judgement?

(I’m not sure judgement is the right term for what I’m after, but I hope you get a sense of it from my examples. See the topics for ideas about other ways to think of it.)

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18 Answers

TenaciousDenny's avatar

Going to college in a “hippy-town” definitely made me more of a liberal. Reading editorials every day about the “evils” of George W. Bush had me leaning very much to the left by the time I had graduated. I’ve moved more to the middle since then, but I’m still pretty liberal on many issues.

Also, being raised in the Catholic Church probably had a big part in me ending up Atheist.

So yeah, now I’m a hellbound Godless liberal.

Allie's avatar

I grew up in a very liberal, outspoken, hippy place also. So I think that shaped my political views and had an influence on what I consider important.
Traveling the world has made me more open-minded and appreciative of other people and other cultures.

seekingwolf's avatar

I was raised a secular Republican. I idolized (and still do to some point) my father who raised me Christian despite him thinking that Christianity was stupid and a total joke. (It was probably through his influence that I left the church when I was 12…he was very pleased with me.) He grew up really poor and basically became very successful on his own, working his ass off….no government help or scholarships.

He also disliked liberals, the idea of a “moral obligation” to take care of the poor, and liked the idea of “fairness” in the world, how what you make is what you have and government shouldn’t take that away, nor give handouts.

Now, at 19, I consider myself to be a secular Republican. I’m not Christian (thank gosh) but I’m definitely more conservative from an economic standpoint.

tinyfaery's avatar

When I learned what the word liberal really meant in the context of politics and philosophy.

My parents were/are extremely prejudiced. I began rebelling at a very early age, so I made it a point to take the opposite side on every one of their prejudices. As I grew older, I began to realize that actually learning about something or someone before judging it/them was the best way to operate. I believe their prejudices made me the free-thinker that I am today. I guess I do have something to thank them for. Hmm. Who woulda thunk it?

laureth's avatar

I was raised by a single Lesbian mom on welfare. I was also in the smart-kid classes in a magnet school. Both of these things made people hate me and beat me up in K-12. So I became a sort of misanthrope and very often don’t give a damn about other people. I wish it were different. While I do have friends, and empathy for humanity in the general sense, I really don’t like people.

On the other hand, having this upbringing really reinforced my sense of fair play. If I see people getting a raw deal, I try to make things right when I can. I remember how hard I had it, and how that should never have happened. I also have sympathy for minorities, especially women and gay people (for obvious reasons).

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I am who I am because my parents did everything wrong. I had an alcoholic father who abused my mother. My mother later did drugs and abandoned my sister and I. From the big to the small, I learned from them how not to handle pretty much everything.

My sense of empathy is probably derived from them. I didn’t understand how or why my parents were the way they were and why they just didn’t seem to care about my sister and I. I went through a lot of hurt as a child. Because of that, I never allowed myself to hurt other people intentionally. I can’t understand being mean, intentionally and for the most part, I’m not capable of it.

LindaDT's avatar

Being a parent has changed me the most. I had no idea it would be so difficult or challenging. Or rewarding. Illness, also, has shaped me.

augustlan's avatar

Like DrasticDreamer, I learned early and often how not to live my life by being raised in the way I was. Bigotry, lying, fear, neglect and abuse were my main companions as I grew up. A little later, depression and anxiety joined the group. As a result, I am very open-minded and trusting. I feel a lot of empathy. I am also an over-protective mother. In fact, I may have swung too far the other way. But you know what? I’d rather err on my side of the pendulum than on theirs.

Jack79's avatar

My interaction with Hungarians has made me not like them very much. Same with Jews. And Finns, whom I do like, though I think they are not very bright (in a cute sort of way).
On the other hand, I adore the Dutch and feel positively prejudiced towards them (and inclined to forgive them anything), the Czechs who I find very kind and friendly, as well as intelligent, the Portuguese who are always helpful and never keep a grudge, or the East Germans who are like little children (as opposed to the West Germans who are uptight in a funny sort of way).

Just an example of the many prejudices, all of which are of course by definition wrong. But by recognising them, at least you can see them coming and try to fight them.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’m not really sure about exact experiences. i do remember when i saw how horrible people were to gays because of ‘religious reasons’, i was just absolutely heartbroken. i have a friend who’s bisexual and she loves god, she’s incredibly kind, etc, etc. when i realized how some people look down on homosexuality, protesting with signs that say “GOD HATES FAGS”, etc, i don’t know. since around that time, i’ve felt a lot stronger about the subject of equality and – not toleration, really, but acceptance and understanding – of people. i can’t really explain it.

and the other day my psych teacher kind of got into the subject of how poor broward county (florida)‘s public school system is – i’m pretty sure it’s been named one of the worst in the country – and i really want to do something to improve education, though i don’t know what i could do. but education is in such a poor state in general, and i never really thought of it much past ‘oh, that sucks, glad i’m graduating soon’, but since his little speech, i really want to do something for future students.

ronski's avatar

Hmm…My Dad constantly listening to Bob Dylan shaped both my musical taste and my understanding of politics.

Growing up in a city, a city called San Francisco really shaped me.

Being poor when I was a kid.

Going to UCSC for two years, I learned all about the organic foods and farming, which will always be of importance to me.

My Dad being a photographer has shaped and prepared me for the creative world. Going to art school has crushed and destroyed me on the other hand.

Than there is finding love and drug recovery, which has morphed me, and made me a better and stronger human being.

And I don’t know where I’d be without punk rock :) Gotta give it some credit.

kritz_the_cat's avatar

I went to a pretty Liberal school, in a very Liberal Canadian city.
After leaving school, you quickly realize how much you have become indoctrinated, and how your mind has been shaped to think like a Liberal.
And I know this happens at Conservative schools as well.

Going in I was pretty middle of the road, politically. However as school went on
I found myself leaning toward the right. I grew tired of being told what was right, and who was wrong. I was penalized a few times, and actually had a zero on an assignment because my thesis did not meet the political leanings of my sociology professor who had already been suspended previously for similar occurrences.

It is safe to say, I am still middle of the road. I am conservative on some issues, and Liberal on others. College/University is supposed to open your mind, however young minds are easily shaped and I find this kind of ‘forced allegiance’ does not encourage free thinking.

If you have a differing viewpoint, it encourages silence.

ShanEnri's avatar

How about a lack of experiences? Or the inability to remember? I have forgotten the majority of my childhood, so I really believe that makes me the way I am. Or paints the world the colors I like it to be. I can’t explain this right, but here’s a small something. I can’t remember my childhood, so it has caused me to be childish at times, and secretive. I’m always curious! So I don’t judge people who act younger than they really are, cause I do it too! :) I hope that makes sense

augustlan's avatar

@ShanEnri Do you know why you’ve forgotten most of your childhood?

ShanEnri's avatar

No. But many Dr.s have speculated it was something traumatic!

augustlan's avatar

@ShanEnri That’s exactly what I was thinking, too. Good luck to you!

ShanEnri's avatar

Thank you augustlan!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

People can change- my grandfather stopped smoking and drinking to keep my grandma.

Doing good by someone doesn’t mean they’ll do the same for you- I had a bf once who would brag to everyone how he knew no one could get me to cheat no matter how much they tried and then he turned out to be a cheater.

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