The Bonds of Fairness

We all have wished that the world was fair at some point or other.  We’ve wished that people would get what they deserve, or that there wasn’t such inequality, or any manner of such thoughts.  Not only do we wish for fairness though, we also tend to see it in the world.  We have karmactically inclined minds – we tend to think that others get what they deserve, that being a good person should be pragmatically rewarding (heaven), and so on.  Unfortunately, our desire for fairness can be a dead weight upon our lives.

When faced with adversity, when faced with struggle, my experience of myself is that I must struggle against my desire for fairness.  That is, I must hold it off so that it does not cripple me.  If I focus on the unfairness of a situation, if I allow myself to dwell on how I feel that my circumstance is unjust and ill-formed, I cut myself off from action.  To dwell on fairness is to demand of the world that it give itself to me, that it yield the fruit I perceive given to others to me as well.  To dwell on fairness so is paralyzing, because it is against action: to act is struggle towards that which should simply be given.  That this is so is not fair (though I am hardly hard-done by when it comes to the gifts given me by the world), but it is a brute reality.

I think it is much better to dwell on my own responsibility then on fairness.  If I take myself to be responsible for my circumstance, then I am moved to action.  No longer can I bitterly complain about my perceived ailments, because I take them to be my own doing.  The only recourse that is left to me is to act, to seize my circumstance and make it otherwise.

I do not mean to say that fairness is bad.  I think it is a good thing to encourage fairness in the world.  It is just that no good can come from dwelling on unfairness.  It is perhaps a piece of sophistry to say that my circumstance is entirely my own doing, but I think most of us are probably already sophists when it comes to fairness.  We take our privilege as given, while swooning over our woes.

Let me know what you think,

Ryan Workman

via Blogger


One thought on “The Bonds of Fairness

  1. Greetings! I think you are right; it is not the place of the individual citizen in society to be concerned with the rectification of unfairness, that is the duty of the collective polity. Different sorts of moral terms should be predicated of different layers of social organizations: on the individualistic level of interactions among citizens, actions are good or bad; on the collective level, a group of (elected) citizens interacting with the rest of society through the passage of laws and legislation conduct actions that are fair or unfair

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