Say what you mean, do as you say.

I judge you for your actions, not your past, not the colour of your skin, not your religion or your philosophy, or even who you hang around with. Since I can’t read your mind, or see your soul, I can only base who you are on what you do. So think about what you are going to do and realise that this is what is defining you to other people.

Your past does leave an impression and can lead to how I interpret your current actions. If your past actions would be dangerous to me in the present, then I will be cautious with you until your current actions have proven my safety. You may have to prove that for a while, depending on your past. By the same token, if your past has always been safe for me if you repeat that past in the present, then I will be less cautious with you. That doesn’t mean you are inherently bad or good, but that I can only judge your likely present actions by what you have done, and my actions will reflect that. This is about trust. You build or destroy trust by what you do and what you have done. This does not lead to an irrevocable loss or gain. My trust in you changes based on what you are doing now. Consider the trust you want me to have of you and act accordingly.

The colour of your skin is such a stupid phrase. What I really want to say is the cultural group that you come from. Black skin does not define a cultural group any better than white skin does. To have “black” skin could mean your ancestors are from India, Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands and so on. Each of the peoples from the continents are different from each other as far as cultural practices are concerned. When you examine each of the individuals within the countries, you will find quite different cultural groups within those. So the colour of your skin, the ethnicity that your ancestors come from is quite a useless gauge of who your past comes from.

An English friend of mine pointed out how he had assumed he knew more about Australia than a classmate of his, simply because she had ancestors from China. He pompously tried to explain an Australian custom to her – only to be informed that she was a third generation Australian and knew it far better than he. Bad assumption. I can make cultural practice guesses about you based on your likely ethnicity, but I should certainly be willing to dispense with these pre-conceived notions as soon as I learn more about you. I also must accept the limitations of what I know about your ancestors and the accuracy of my guess.

Religions and philosophical standpoints can unite people against every other group, yet the diversity within each group is huge. Take paganism as an example. I have met the most gentle and peaceful souls practicing what they term paganism, and I have also met drunken, drugged and angry pagans. The religion itself does not define the individuals within the group, it more defines who they aren’t. Pagans believe a huge range of diverse and differing things. What they don’t do is follow a god of the common other religions. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and so on are all pretty much the same. It is more accurate to define what they don’t believe in rather than specifically what they do. The individuals in each religion are as different to each other as the religions are.

Yet the philosophical standpoint you have can give me context to interpret your actions. People who practice Hinduism generally don’t eat cow, so I should consider this in my interactions with a person who follows Hinduism when offering food. It may be that the individual before me does not practice that part of Hinduism, but I am not to know that until I am informed otherwise. The fear of changing my practice based on a knowledge of another person’s stated philosophical/thiestical standpoint is my mistaking the majority for the publicised minority. Or more to the point, mistaking a ethos for the actions of a few who happen to blame their actions on their distorted beliefs, or who happen to correlate to a particular ethos. For example, certain Christians have a stated stance on abortion post rape. This does not mean that all Christians have this point of view, or that only Christians have this point of view. It would be more accurate to see tautology that people who have this point of view are the ones who have it, rather than try to push people into super categories.

I like my friends. Quite obviously, there are not too many of my friends that I don’t like. I don’t like all of my friends’ friends. Nor do I approve of all the activities that my friends indulge in. A good example of this is marijuana. I do not imbibe in this substance. Some of my friends do, and since it is an illegal practice in Australia, they need to source it from less than savoury places. I judge these friends of mine, not on who they hang around, but on what they do when we interact. If the actions of the individual were directly harming another, for example they were beating people up to get the goods, I think I would have to reconsider my position. My view would also be biased if the people my friends hung around indulged in such violent activities. While it is a murky distinction, I judge my friends directly rather than indirectly whenever possible.

It is impossible to know what it is you think, or why you do what you do. You can certainly share your mind with me via the use of words, but your actions speak much louder. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux stated that hell is paved with good intentions. You can intend good, you can intend consequences, you can intend to act. But until you do, your intentions count for naught.

For me it is a simple philosophy.My actions are what affects my world. If I want you to know who I am, then you will know it by the actions I take. If you want me to know who you are, show me with your actions.