top of page

Snap opinions or lump sum judgments

often depend on religious education

To a returnee from a four-year life in Southeast Asia, now a while later, the extent is increasingly getting aware, to which the local tendency to snap opinions and/or lump sum judgments is present. Whatever the newcomer, who then mutated into a scribe, says in his texts, and quite similarly in private conversations, is

acknowledged with comments that have little to do with reflection on what has been said, but obviously,- yes, even very obviously,- only reflect what they already thought or felt before, and which are very little related to what should be mediated.

At first it seemed that they were essentially afraid of a kind of missionary and wanted to distance themselves, what still might be comprehensible. This triggered, as an own reaction, an extreme effort to avoid such an impression. But this seemed to have little effect and made it clear that at least additional and perhaps even completely different reasons must be the cause.

This became particularly clear in personal conversations, because the texts often had little or no reaction, which naturally stimulated the question whether they had read it at all. This was often true, or the reading did not go beyond the first few lines or pages.

The growing awareness of the issue of conversations showed more and more the extent of pre-existing opinions. However that may be called, either simply as prejudices or as lump sum judgments, or even generalized preconceptions, more and more not only a great but even an enormous extent of this phenomenon became evident. In addition, when confronting the conversation partners with this behavior, they almost always insisted and even stiffened on it as their alleged right.

For many years abroad, not only in Asia, but also in many other countries, the own behavior has clearly emerged, not to look for the fault in the others in the first place, not, but in oneself, and to be critical in particular because of the age, causing to say for example: "Oh, the old man is already quite ossified and does not notice that it is in his own deficiency."

So, again, an exact self-examination was needed. But the result turned out to be so clear that there is hardly any doubt about it. This is underlined by the still present experience of the comparable behavior of people in other countries, especially in Asia.

A deeply frightening inclination of many Germans for lump sum judgment has shown up, combined or with the consequence that they lock up behind fences or apartment doors, and hardly ready for a deeper dialogue, regardless whether it is rationally led or does involve non-rational issues. This observation could be underpinned by many examples, but this is omitted here because otherwise this text would be too long and would provide an additional pretext for not dealing with the proper issues. Most of the conversations were, of course, conducted in a private context under the customary condition of confidentiality, which also excludes a precise report, since it would be very difficult to avoid identification of the persons concerned despite the changes in place and name.

More interesting, however, is the question as to what is the cause for the local strong inclination to snap opinions or lump sum judgments. Again, a longer description of the heuristic efforts might be necessary. However, this has already been extensively attempted by trying to show the connection of sexual experiences with the formation of new philosophical ideas. But practically all of them were more or less only caused anger about those "stories", and hardly any one got to the knowledge that apparently were made. Instead, the knowledge was condemned altogether by some kind of prejudice and wiped away.

Thus only the result of the deliberations or meditations, or howsoever we might call it, will shortly and concisely be communicated. This also is again done well-knowning the danger of oneself being accused of having such prejudices. However, by reflected inner work, it seems now clear that this attitude of the local people has to do with religious education also in our seemingly secularized world, and even more clearly with the unreflected acceptance of the Bible, still after and in spite of all allegedly existing enlightenment.

The local Christian culture of education is based, much more far-reaching than most people seem to be aware of, on acceptance of given circumstances and not on guidance by their own decision-making led by independent thinking. Instead of meditation there is prayer, which could also encourage such behavior.

What can we do here? It seems urgently necessary to call for a new phase of a far-reaching age of enlightenment as it has been achieved both in Lessing's times and by modern scientific development.

However, this must include the fact that it is finally possible to criticize the Bible and if necessary, to "take it apart", even on TV.. In many places, the Conservatives still seem to sit firmly in the holes and want to prevent such a development. What is the predominance of ecclesiastical representatives in TV organs of control does not seem to be touched. It is made a taboo subject.

From an official point of view, it is still bluntly required to maintain a Leitkultur (leading culture), which can rightly be interpreted as a direct desire for the maintenance of lump sum judgments. That this causes horror, is perhaps the right answer. 

© Hans J. Unsoeld, Berlin 2017. All rights reserved.

Updated August 04, 2017

bottom of page