Discrimination is the mental faculty of differentiation, of making an exact distinction between things in mind and in action, the power of accurately observing differences, for example, between right and wrong.Oxford English Dictionary
  Synonyms for discrimination: discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not evident to the average mind. Discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art). Discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent. Perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling). Penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial. Insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy. Acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment.

“Discrimination is being alert, awake and in control of your mind.”—Edna Lister

  Discrimination, which is both acute and discerning, is the faculty that governs right choice. Political correctness is destroying the discriminative faculty. Discrimination is essential to good judgment.

Edna Lister on Discrimination

To be unhampered by emotional jags, you must use great discrimination in choosing your attitudes toward life, then follow them with perseverance and courage under all conditions.—Edna Lister, Life In a Nutshell, 1944.

You must be able to discriminate and segregate the degrees of truth.—Edna Lister, October 20, 1944.

You can destroy yourself for lack of knowledge of discretion and true discrimination.—Edna Lister, October 20, 1944.

Spiritual seeing is utterly dangerous if you cannot discriminate between an inner reality and your imagination, self-delusion, self-illusion, or illusions created by bodiless entities still seeking a recipient for their false work.—Edna Lister, October 25, 1944.

When you can spiritually see and hear as well as "feel" it emotionally, you will have developed the discrimination to begin to protect yourself.—Edna Lister, January 4, 1945.

Be discriminating; choose your actions according to the required needs and time.—Edna Lister, June 23, 1945.

Discrimination is doing the right thing next.—Edna Lister, July 6, 1945.

The keys to wisdom are discernment, discrimination, and discretion.—Edna Lister, July 8, 1945.

To learn discernment, discrimination, and discretion, you must learn when to tough it out and when to slow up. Ask the degree in which law applies to self.—Edna Lister, July 9, 1945.

Discrimination is being alert, awake and in control of your mind.—Edna Lister, July 11, 1945.

Power cannot use you if you lack desire to be discriminating. Stop, think and use your powers of discrimination. Stop and observe before you leap.—Edna Lister, July 26, 1945.

God has given you the power of right discrimination; use it.—Edna Lister, September 24, 1945.

Remember to be wise, not foolish. Be alert, discriminating and discrete. Law permits no dalliances, no point of modification, or 99% either.You either are 100%, or on the bottom.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1945.

The Logos concept in God’s Mind becomes the idea in your mind. Thought becomes logic, judgment, and discrimination, which are faculties of the Wisdom principle.—Edna Lister, January 27, 1947.

You duplicate your outer lack of using logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion on the inner, which is heaven.—Edna Lister, July 29, 1947.

Logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion produce good judgment and are the results of common sense.—Edna Lister, August 20, 1947.

Do not permit emotions to rule when you are making decisions. Apply logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion to all the facts in the case.—Edna Lister, November 13, 1947.

Instant obedience demands application of all law upon every new situation — use your mental faculties of logic, reason, discernment, discretion, and discrimination.—Edna Lister, January 8, 1948.

Wisdom from above, in the true sense, waters the brain cells through the glands, causing logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion to flourish.—Edna Lister, November 21, 1950.

Discernment, discrimination, and discretion move into action as evil approaches. If you have consecrated yourself to service and desire to do something about a situation, you may find yourself saying something suddenly, which is how Light puts in a wedge. Ascend on it and declare it good instantly.—Edna Lister, October 6, 1952.

Always be consciously positive of truth and declare it as you work silently. Do this wisely with discrimination, never belittling another. The greatest use of logic, reasoning, discernment, discrimination, and discretion in love is God working and winning as you.—Edna Lister, June 2, 1955.

Observation: When stepping into a new situation, stop and observe first. Use the faculties before acting. Bring reason, logic, discernment, discrimination, and discretion to bear on the matter at hand. Pause for this process, then speak or act.
  Discrimination is choosing the right way in thought, word and deed.—Edna Lister, June 26, 1956.

Discrimination is the art of observation raised to its zenith and pinnacle of power. If you live life blindly, you have no perception of the other fellow and his feelings, and let slip the chance to do fine, little things, to love, to praise him. Discrimination gives compassion.
  Through observation, you develop that fine sense of timing and balance as you watch where you step. Discriminatory abilities are your entree to a limitless capacity to enjoy freedom. Discrimination gives the power of right choice.—Edna Lister, Your Capacity for Freedom, November 17, 1957.

The outstanding virtue of eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is to attain discrimination. Eve ate the fruit because we could not discriminate without it. Confession of your flaws and failings is legal only when you use it as an example for the purpose of teaching discrimination.—Edna Lister, December 19, 1957.

Proper analysis is impossible without applying logic, reason, discernment discrimination, and discretion.—Edna Lister, June 13, 1958.

Use logic, reason, discernment discrimination, and discretion in all your pondering; otherwise, weak puerile emotional rationalization results. Do not conflate rationalization with analysis.—Edna Lister, Love Unquenchable, November 7, 1958.

You need the fully developed faculties of discernment, discrimination, and discretion to apply your soul power of intuition.—Edna Lister, December 5, 1958.

Your application of logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion forms the basis of your inner knowing, and you can make a just appraisal on the outer.—Edna Lister, May 28, 1959.

Discrimination, the mental faculty of differentiation, is being able to make an exact distinction between different ideas and actions. Discrimination is how you decide what is right and what is wrong.—Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, June 23, 1959.

Discrimination asks, "Is this wise to do now, or at all?"—Edna Lister, April 3, 1960.

The law of observance is acceptance coupled with logic, reason, discernment, discrimination and discretion for consideration. "Lord, please don’t let me miss any details today."—Edna Lister, August 3, 1961.

Observation is a law with five component parts — Logic, reason, discernment, discrimination, and discretion, the five laws that equal understanding. You must apply each of these five mental faculties simultaneously as a constant process in everything you do, until observation becomes an instantaneous act. Observe to avoid blunders.
  You cannot afford to be self-righteous under true discernment and discrimination, or those faculties malfunction.—Edna Lister, September 14, 1961.

Accept instantly, then wait upon the Lord in quiet confidence, doing all in obedience on the outer, using discernment and discrimination.—Edna Lister, April 16, 1962.

Discrimination is "feeling" the right, which we call a value judgment.—Edna Lister, July 14, 1966.

Discrimination is the art of bringing logic, reason and discernment to bear on a problem in order to choose wisely; discrimination will sacrifice self-desires for the future good, to make today’s choice pay dividends for years to come.—Edna Lister, August 1968.

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New Testament on Discrimination

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.—Matthew 4:4

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.—1 Corinthians 2:9-10

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Old Testament on Discrimination

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.—Ecclesiastes 3:1

The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.—Proverbs 12:26.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.—Psalms 19:7-9

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of discrimination: Latin discriminare, discrminat-, "distinction."

Discrimination is a mental faculty.


If you think at all so as to discriminate between truth and falsehood, you will find that you cannot accept open self-contradiction. Hence to think is to judge, and to judge is to criticise, and to criticise is to use a criterion of reality. And surely to doubt this would be mere blindness or confused self-deception.—F.H. Bradley, Appearance and Reality


Bradley, Francis H. Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. 1916, 136.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2024

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.