Life isn’t fair. I don’t disagree with that sentiment.
Actually, I don’t think life should be fair. Because without challenge, our personal development is often slowed or halted. In the great heroic myths we’ve created, the hero is blessed with obstacles to overcome. Those obstacles, once conquered, are what create the self-assured and confident hero in the end.
However, all too often it seems there’s an underlying message when we hear someone say “life isn’t fair.” That message is: not only is life not fair, it’s actively unfair. Many people believe there’s “something” conspiring against humanity, working against us to make life a burden. It could be malevolent spirits, a devious political party, or even a belief that people are intrinsically “evil.”
There’s a nasty fallacy lurking here. Sure, “bad things” happen to “good people,” and we shouldn’t expect everything in the world to revolve around us. But that doesn’t mean that the universe is a nihilistic nightmare that seeks to suck the souls from our bodies at every opportunity. The world is not naturally or supernaturally biased toward unfairness. We only see it that way.
Human beings have many defense mechanisms, and one of them is trying to blame external forces for our problems. We often don’t want to take responsibility for the choices we have made or the direction we’re headed in life. But when you blame something outside yourself, you give up your personal power and free will. This harmful mindset is a part of learned helplessness.
The Secret of Life is to Live It
So, instead of debating whether life is fair or unfair, how about we just accept that it is neither. LIFE JUST IS. This earthly realm we inhabit exists, period. And no matter how it came to be, we have to deal with life as it comes to us.
We need to stop thinking of ourselves as just “pawns” being manipulated by the whims of “fate,” “evil,” “bad people,” etc. We need to see ourselves as independent and capable, just like the traditional hero, who decides to take charge of their own fate and make their own opportunities.
Yes, there are times when external forces do work against us. But even though we can’t control what others do to us, we can control how we react to what is done to us.
Take the example of Viktor Frankl, a man who lost his entire family in the Nazi death camps. Through his horrible experiences, he learned that people can endure pain, torture, and deprivation by believing there was still a future for them. Those that gave up hope for the future perished.
After being freed from the camps, Frankl created logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy that helps people create meaning in their own lives. Frankl made the choice to take the terrible events of his life and use them to create something for the benefit of humanity.
Cooperation is our Salvation
Let’s apply some logic: if existence here on earth were so horrible and full of inevitable conflict, why are we still here? If human life was as chaotic and violent as some people think, then why are we not extinct? Look around you. None of the people you see, or the creations of civilization we take for granted, would be here. We would have destroyed ourselves long ago.
The simplest answer is usually the correct answer. So, here’s the common sense answer: humanity is still here because we have a fundamental need to cooperate and succeed together. Community is how we have survived this long. In the moments that we have accepted the fact that “life just is,” we’ve accomplished great things together.
So enough with this fixation on entropy in human relations. Save that for thermodynamics. Forget about what’s fair and unfair. You’ve got some living to do.
What did you think of this post? Do you think the world is unfair, fair, or somewhere in between? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!
I love your title…….Life Just IS……..and that sets off in my mind a series of thoughts, ideas and beliefs towards which I find myself shifting quickly. I do agree that life and each and every event just ‘IS’……. and from my growing perspective, not to be judged good or bad. On the surface these views appear to be opposites to one another. But as I look from a broader view of total connectedness and unconditional love, I see that though they may appear to be opposites, they are not necessarily in conflict; in my perception, it is my beliefs and attitudes (judgments) that make them opposed and in conflict (emotionally uncomfortable). In my personal attempt to move away from conflict (judgement), if I were to create an undesirable event, I stop (hopefully with a peaceful mind!) and determine what is the next best direction for me to move forward, where I can feel better, be happy and continue my life where I can express my unconditional love and oneness. Now can we take this to a bigger stage? I believe that is a part of humanity’s evolution.
We are all a part of the same Universe and thus all connected….. ‘what happens to the least of us, happens to all of us’ as paraphrased from the Bible. In the Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, a monk was asked how he would describe that which connects each of us and all the Universe, and his simple reply…….compassion……(to Star Wars fans, the FORCE). As I understand compassion to be an aspect of Universal Love, I believe this is the great gift we can give to everyone, regardless of whatever ‘side’ they appear to be on, to begin to melt away the illusion of resistance that has been created. Love is our common Universal bond and through its many aspects we can move towards solutions that will include everyone and some day soon, united us all. As we each find our own way to express and send forth our Love and Oneness out to all humanity and the events that may transpire, we are contributing to the ultimate experience of peace on earth.
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Thanks, Ron, for your thoughtful and insightful comment!
Excellent post – I really like the way you shift the focus of the post from self centred thinking (poo me) to a focus on being part of a community. Community is so important especially if you’re trying to grow and develop as a person. ITs a balance isnt it – self responsibility for living your life the best you can, yet recognising that you’re a small cog in something bigger. Living an authentic life means being true to yourself while contributing to and being part of a community.
Thanks for your comment and for the follow, Glenda! And I agree, there is a delicate balance to be struck, but we must strive for it!