The World Isn't Fair
Graveyards are full of people who died too young and too unhappy, because they wanted, even needed, the world to be fair, and were bitterly disappointed to discover otherwise. I know that in my darkest and most despairing moments, I have grouse bitterly at what I saw as the universe’s fundamental unfairness.
That is a deadly trap to fall into, because once you start being mad that the world isn’t fair, it’s tough to stop. I’m not talking about societal iniquities, mind you. We should not accept those, although to remain sane we often do, but rather to more personal injustices. I’m talking about the egregious examples of life’s unfairness that surround us, from the jerk at work who keeps getting promoted through Machiavellian scheming to the jerk in the White House who rose to the highest position on earth through tragicomic bumbling and the stupidity and ignorance of the American people he so thoroughly and inexplicably beguiled.
In a fair world, Donald Trump would ask his top aides what they think about him running for President and, because in this crazy alternate world they are always unstintingly honest with him, they’d say something along the lines of, “I would think twice about that, Sir, on account of you being a demented man-child barely capable of forming a coherent thought, or reading a book in its entirety, let alone leading the free world. And not to put too fine a point on it, sir, but you are what every society and belief system in the world has historically deemed “evil.” Also, you literally have no relevant experience and are old as fuck and eat only garbage fast food. For these and, a literally limitless number of other reasons, you running for President is maybe the worst idea in the world.”
But the world is not fair. I’m sure no one gave Trump that talk, and if they did, it went right into the wood chipper that is his tiny little malfunctioning brain and came out pulp. In a fair world, Hillary Clinton would have been rewarded for decades of public service and preparation and hard work, and, yes, also Machiavellian scheming with the job she’d always dreamed of, and worked towards. In our unfair world we instead decided that she must be punished, and punished harshly, and on an ongoing basis, for having the womanly gall to think she should have the job she’s qualified for.
Trump’s Presidency is a dispiriting daily reminder that the world is egregiously unfair but he’s far from the only example. “Why not me?” is a way of masochistic but universal way of cursing the universe’s unfairness. We, and by “we” I mean “me” ask, on a daily basis, and invariably while on Facebook, “Why aren’t I in that publication? Why don’t I have that deal? Why isn’t that person’s life a never-ending struggle for survival in the face of God’s arctic indifference?"
In our unfair world Tyler Perry is far and away the most commercially successful black filmmaker of all time, if not quite the best and Nickelback sells tens of millions of albums while Gram Parsons was doomed to die young and relatively unknown. The good die young and the evil die old and comfortable.
Distracting ourselves with thoughts of what should be is an often a debilitating mental block that keeps us from engaging as fully as possible with what is, and what can be if we work towards it and are undeterred by the world’s raging unfairness. The world is unfair. Accepting and dealing with that is liberating. It robs the world’s unfairness of its power to eternally make us miserable and allows us to deal forthrightly with a world that is many, many, many things (sexist, racist, greedy, inexplicably and disproportionately generous to Ryan Seacrest for starters) but is most most assuredly, and has never been, fair.
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