It’s Not Fair!
How often did you shout those words as a kid? How often do you still think those words as an adult? I’ll confess, a bit too often, especially lately when I’ve gotten more and more bad news related to my horse’s health. In addition to kissing spine, we are now looking at Lyme’s Disease and PPID, also known as Equine Cushing’s. What triggers my inner child’s “It’s not fair” response? I’m ashamed to admit, sometimes it’s when I read on Facebook or social media about other people’s amazing success stories, good luck, happiness…yes, I do wish them well, but sometimes I want a piece of that good luck as well! Maybe it is a combination of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) sprinkled with a little old fashioned envy. Whatever the trigger, it can send you down a rabbit hole of unanswerable questions.
A Balance of Justice
It’s human nature to search for a logical cause and effect–a just balance that makes sense of bad news. In the old days, people believed that those who suffered misfortune did something to deserve it. Think about Job in the Bible. When he fell on hard times, lost his family, and was covered in sores his so-called friends all stood around and told him he must have done something to deserve it–that he had angered God. Okay, now that we’ve dragged God into this, here’s another question: If God is all-powerful, why does He allow bad things happen to good people? That age-old question has had a range of answers from: He isn’t all powerful after all or He doesn’t really care about the just man. None of them satisfactory answers, but it seems our human brain is severely limited in what it can come up with for answers.
If We Don’t Deserve the Bad, What About the Good?
Not many of us sit around and wonder why something good dropped in our laps. Nope, we just pick it up and go with it. It doesn’t come under the scrutiny we reserve for tragic events. When something good happens, we might even think we deserved it, maybe just a little. But more often than not we have blessings come our way that we did nothing to earn…like unmerited grace.
So does that mean there is no relation between good behavior and good outcome? Is there no logical cause and effect acting on the world within the framework of justice? Does that mean that every action is merely a random event? And if so, what choices would you make in your life if you had it to do over? And over and over with endless choices (like the main character in the brilliant novel The Midnight Library by Matt Haig).
In Your Life, Do You Want a Do-Over?
I’ve been thinking about this novel The Midnight Library quite a bit since I finished reading it and I’m struck by the idea that everyone could have lived an unlimited number of different lives (or life outcomes) depending on a million small choices made along the way. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers for the novel, but one part I especially loved was the ability to change one’s big regrets in life. Well, I will have to post a whole blog devoted only to a discussion of that book because I’m in danger of veering off topic onto a bunch of new ideas…
Thanks for taking the time to “listen” to me chewing over some philosophical questions. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments or to start a discussion. Is life totally random? What is the role of justice? Do we get what we deserve or does that even matter?