On The Fairness of Life

Scales of Justice
(Image: canva.com)

Life isn’t fair. Get used to it.

It just isn’t. Fairness was never promised. It’s not part of nature. It’s just not a thing.

And yet from the cries of a two-year-old, to the laws put into place by governments and other organizations, what is it we look for?

Fairness. Again and again.

More often than not, we feel slighted by comparing ourselves to others. It’s “unfair” that someone got more than we did. It’s “unfair” that they didn’t lose as much as we did.

Fairness is, at its core, comparison. Comparison between our situation and the situations of others.

Never compare yourself to others, we say. After which we almost immediately compare ourselves to others.

That’s not to say that fairness isn’t a worthy goal, it is.

We should treat people equitably. We should design human constructs like laws and processes and opportunities, with fairness in mind. We could eliminate or at least reduce much of our societal strife if we took the time to ensure our constructs were fair.

Those are the constructs we make. We have the opportunity to be fair, or at least as fair as is possible.

Life itself, nature, happenstance … none of these things are fair.

Or, rather, they’re eminently fair because they don’t distinguish between the worthy and not. That someone won the lottery, and you did not, feels unfair. Yet it’s the epitome of fairness: assuming you both played, you were both as likely or unlikely to win.

That cancer might claim a child seems like the epitome of being unfair. In one sense, it absolutely is. In another, however, more impersonal and perhaps even harsh, view, it’s not. Cancer happens. Sometimes it happens to children. Sometimes they die. In the big picture, it’s the luck of the draw.

Luck rarely feels fair.

Search for fairness where it makes sense. Typically, in the decisions of others.

Fight for fairness, where solutions are possible. Typically, in the structures put in place by society.

But understand that at its core, much of life at the individual level is totally unfair. Rather than rail against the unfair hand you’ve been dealt, in a situation or in life itself, do what you can to deal with it as it is.

Life is not fair. Shit happens.

It’s how you deal with that shit that matters most.

2 thoughts on “On The Fairness of Life”

  1. Leo:
    Life is not only unfair but dangerous:
    Which is why I always try to follow the advice in Youman’s Guide of 1906:

    To Avoid and Prevent
    1. In walking the streets keep out of the line of cellars, and never look one way and walk another.

    2. Never ride with your arm or elbow outside any vehicle.
    3. Never alight from a steam-car while in motion.

    4. In stepping from any wheeled vehicle while in motion, let it be from the rear, and not in front of the wheels ; for then, if you fall, the wheels cannot run over you.

    5. Never attempt to cross a road or street in a hurry, in front of a passing vehicle; for if you stumble or slip you will be run over. Make up the half minute lost in waiting until the ve­hicle has passed by increased diligence in some other direction.

    6. In a run-away, it is safer, as a rule, to keep your place and hold fast than to jump out. Getting out of a carriage over the back, provided you can hold on a little while, is safer than springing from the side.

    7. Be particularly cautious when upon or in the vicinity of water.

    8. During a time of lightning avoid the neighborhood of trees, or any leaden spout, iron gate, or other conductor of electricity.

    9. Lay loaded guns in safe places, and never imi­tate firing a gun in jest.

    10. Never sleep near lighted charcoal; if drowsy at any work where charcoal fires are used, take the fresh air.
    11. Never blow out the gaslight, but turn it off, and before retiring see that none of it escapes.

    12. When benumbed with cold beware of sleeping out of doors; exercise yourself vigorously; rub yourself, if able, with snow, and do not hastily approach the fire.

    13. If caught in a drenching rain, or if you fall in the water, keep in motion sufficiently vigorous to prevent the slightest chilly sensation until you reach the house; then change your clothing with great rapidity before, a blazing fire, and drink instantly a pint of some hot liquid, not spirituous.

    14. Before entering vaults or dry wells see if a lighted candle will bum at the bottom; for if not, animal life can­not exist, and the foul air in it should be re­placed by pure air before entering therein.

    15. Never leave saddle or draught horses, while in use, by themselves; nor go immediately behind a led horse, as he is apt to kick.

    16. Ride not on footways, and walk not on carriage roads or rail­road-tracks.

    17. Be wary of children, whether they are up or in bed, and particularly when they are near the fire, an element with which they are very apt to amuse themselves.

    18. Leave nothing poisonous open or accessible, and never omit to write the word “POISON” in large letters upon it, wherever it may be placed.
    19. Never throw pieces of orange peel on the side­walk, or throw broken glass bottles into the streets.

    20. Never meddle with gunpowder by candlelight.

    21. Never trim or fill a kerosene lamp while lighted, and never light a fire with kerosene or coal oil.

    22. Keep lucifer matches in their cases, and never let them be strewed about.

    23. During frosty weather take extra care in walking.

    24. Have your horses’ shoe roughed directly when there are indications of frost.

    25. Before retiring for the night, carefully look through the house to see that everything is as it-ought to be.

  2. What I do and what happens to me is the same as what happens to me is what I do. Most times, neither are immediately occurring and often it is not recognized that one invites the
    other. Thus, it’s very easy to play the blame game which certainly can cloud any artistic manifestation. The free game of creation is freely given by the soul whether we like the result
    or not. The fun of living this human life is realized when we accept our fantastic ability. By our
    thoughts and actions we manifest what ever can please us. It is of supreme wonder, then, to
    observe our thoughts. No Big Boss is watching or keeping score.

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