Moral Judgements

I’m currently making my first transit trip out to Vancouver from South Delta. Google Maps told me to leave home around 7:10am to get to volleyball on time, so I left at 7:00am in case the bus came early.

As I was walking to the bus stop, I was listening to a podcast. Lori, the speaker, mentioned a quote that I wasn’t familiar with:

To tell a story is inescapably to take a moral stance.

—Jérôme Bruner

I’ve encountered this idea before but presented a different way.

So as I’m walking to the bus stop, I start looking at some of my most recent experiences. I also start looking for where I was doing something good or bad, where someone else was doing something good or bad, or where I (or someone else) was right or wrong.

As I’m reflecting on these memories, I see my bus in the distance. It’s super early, so I pull out my Transit app to check when the next bus comes. Well, the next bus comes in 30 minutes, which means I’m going to miss volleyball. I regret that although I left early, I didn’t leave early enough. I remind myself that I should get used to busses being unpredictable because of the transit strike. But then I paused and re-opened my Transit app to double check.

I was looking at my bus but heading in the other direction. My bus was still on schedule, and the bus I saw go past was actually a different one.

And then I realized what had just happened.

I was telling myself a story that my bus driver was wrong for being early. I was telling myself a story that I was wrong for not leaving early enough. I was telling myself a story that the transit strike was bad for making my commute unpredictable.

My story was making moral judgements all over the place without my realizing it—even though I was just thinking about it.

I wonder if this is how quickly we forget things, or just how hard it is to practice in the present moment versus practicing retroactively.

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