Judging and Distinguishing
The android generally has a parallel activity or function for every normal activity of essence. That is, as the essence becomes increasingly encapsulated by the development of the android, the functions properly carried out by the essence are gradually taken over by the android, which develops corresponding mechanisms to deal with the areas covered by these aspects of the essence. Of course, as mechanical and automatic functions, they are never as effective or ultimately life promoting as would be those of a mature and normally functioning essence.
However, since our civilized society customarily does not provide appropriate opportunity for the healthy development of essence, and generally even squashes and firmly prevents any such possibility, the development of these androidal analogues to true essence activities is virtually inevitable and unavoidable for the vast majority of humanity. The only alternatives to the development of the android as protection for the essence from the unnatural demands of society are generally some form of isolation, either personal or cultural, or alternatively, what is described as madness or "mental illness."
The essence attribute to be discussed here concerns the ability to distinguish the uniqueness of every element of existence. The dictionary describes distinguishing as the act of perceiving "the essential characteristics of something." It also has the meaning of perceiving something clearly, and of recognizing the distinctiveness of something.
The corresponding android activity is that of "judging." To judge means "to form an idea or opinion about", "to think or suppose;" and finally, "to criticize or censure." This is a very different activity from distinguishing, although on the surface it may appear to be similar. Although it is the best the android can do in its attempt to replace this lost essence function, it is a very poor substitute indeed.
The best way to illustrate the important difference between these two modes of evaluating and understanding existence is probably to give an example of how these two approaches differ. Consider the snowflake. From the viewpoint of the android, the observation of a snowflake yields the following type of data: cold, white, six-sided, regular, turns into water when warmed, annoying in large quantities, affects driving, makes possible sledding and skiing. The fact of snow also has an emotional judgment typically attached to it, i.e. it may make one late for work, it may cause the schools to close, one will have to shovel it, one can play in it. The android can even determine that every snowflake is unique in structure.
But all of these evaluations take the form of some kind of judgment - that is, the act of labeling or categorizing or applying a positive or negative calculation. The android, like a computer, is incapable of simply seeing snow or a snowflake, or of appreciating its beauty, or the separate exquisiteness of each and every snowflake. The android can only take a similar position to that of Ronald Reagan, when he declared, "if youve seen one redwood tree, youve seen them all."
Although the android can in effect dissect the differences between individual snowflakes or redwoods, it cannot in the most important sense appreciate that difference. The constant judging, cataloguing and commenting activity of the android literally kills for us the essential nature of the experiences we are observing, and separates us from their reality. It squeezes the joy out of life. The android cannot feel the exquisiteness of the diversity of the creation. This is something only the essence can do. Only the essence can distinguish without judgment.