Say You Say Me, Judge You Judge Me

So I haven’t had too many profound thoughts lately, and unfortunately, I am still in the process of penning some of my amazing travel/work experiences of the last few weeks, so I thought I might as well throw in a quick random ramble- The Unbearable Weightyness of a somewhat Light Mind.

Anyway, so, of course the floods in Pakistan are not lost on anyone. Nor is the whole discussion on aid- Why so little? Enough yet? Well deserved? Yes? No? Come on humans- give a bit more! It’s this last one, which ends up being a bit complicated. How much is enough and are we ok to judge when someone’s enough is not enough by our standards of what their standards of enough should be? And I am talking individual level here, not country/ regional level.

In the last few days, I have found myself judging people’s relief efforts and have had to, on several occasions, give myself the proverbial slap on the wrist to stop myself from doing that. If I see someone shopping beyond what I see as necessary- meaning, I see them buying the odd designer shoe or handbag, I judge. When I see someone dining out more than I think necessary, meaning a few nights out in a row- and no, not at the corner, fried chicken shop, I judge. Left, right and center, I feel like the moral police, just waiting for someone to fall into my trap of judgment. My one steady thought is- ‘they could have donated that money to the victims of the flood’. Throb Throb. Tsk. Tsk. Bad. Bad.

I have heard things like, ‘People should not go on a second or third or fourth Hajj (pilgrimage), and give that money to flood victims’. I, myself, am guilty of saying to someone (very recently) that people should probably give up one vacation this year or one hair dying job and instead, donate that money to flood victims. Just a few days ago, I jokingly told a friend that I gave up getting my eyebrows done this month for the greater good. Lies! Lies! It was sheer laziness. Now, I know I was kidding there, but somewhere very deep within, I feel a bit guilty of taking the higher ‘pretentious’ moral ground.

What annoys me about all this is that even I know that there is no end to donating, which means that there is no end to the judgment cycle. But really, who are we to decide how others should spend their money and how much they should spend? Since when did it become our moral responsibility to guilt people into donating? Ok, a little bit of guilting- maybe—eh, shrug shrug, as the Italians would do! As long as there are no strings of morality attached. Right? I don’t know.

I guess the point of this random ramble was to raise a lot of random questions that have been pestering my mind. When is it ok to judge people’s charitable senses?? Is it ok to judge them at all? When is it ok to coerce people into giving? What is being selfish? And, lastly, why on earth am I concerned? Why have I become a self-proclaimed guardian of morality and a warden of communal giving?