A symptom’s point of view does more than anything I’ve found to carry out chapter 4’s counsel… Subdue its sharpness, separate its confusion, Soften its brightness, be the same as its dust.
The symptom’s point of view is about managing how we judge the world. The innate way of judging the world is actually a reflection of the needs and fears of the person (or other animal) judging. Of course, this occurs sub-cognitively. People aren’t generally self-reflective enough to know this as they pass judgment on the world. For example, if I’m afraid of snakes, I’m likely to judge snaky things as weird and ugly, or perhaps on a positive note, awesome and beautiful!
Then again, fear and need can often link indirectly to the judgments we make. For example, judging rich people “bad”, doesn’t necessarily mean one fears them, or needs money. Nevertheless, rich people represent some tangential issue that resides in a critic’s personal fear or need. Often, our fairness instinct triggers the negative bias toward the rich, (google [Unfair Trade: Monkeys demand equitable exchanges]). Such instinctive emotion overwhelms any wish we have for making fair and impartial judgments. Yet, there is a way around this instinct-driven dilemma.
Simply asking, “Why is this (you name it) the way it is” before passing either a positive or negative verdict helps avoid falling into a subjective bias-driven trap. For example, when I see someone behaving inappropriately, I ask, “What does he need or fear that drives him to such behavior?” Pausing to mull this over helps deflect the drama of judgment and ensuing conflict. This allows my need and fear to avoid contending with another’s need and fear. Chapter 8’s, It is because it does not contend that it is never at fault describes the liberating benefit. What’s more, viewing life this way reveals hidden facets of life that I’d otherwise miss noticing.
What is evil?
The symptom’s-point-of-view offers another way to interpret the proverb, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Our sense of evil crops up when life doesn’t match how we feel life ‘should be’, and those ‘should be’ ideals simply arise out of our own needs and fears. Conversely, nature ‘in the wild’ isn’t evil, although, as chapter 5 observes, Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs.
Pondering the circumstances behind troubling issues helps us avoid making snap judgments. Instead, we have a chance to explore an ever-expanding, ever-deepening web of circumstances that created these issues in the first place. That eventually leaves the mind nearly empty and, as chapter 4 describes it, Deep like the ancestor of every-thing. The urge to “judge a book by its cover” is all but impossible as we become more aware of what is actually naturally so. See See No Evil, p.210.