“It’s just not fair!” – I hear this often. I hear others say it. I hear myself say it. I feel it. I feel myself feeling it. I see the situations of others, their suffering, and I think it for them. I think it about them, on their behalf. Sometimes I rage and seethe inside as I see some alleged oppressor seeming to triumph over some apparent victim. But is this not fair? Dare I even suggest this as a remote possibility?
Sometimes to hear someone say, “It’s fair!” is painful to my ears, almost offensive. Especially in the times we live in. If a person is apparently advantaged at the point of saying this it can easily seem arrogant and vulgar, conceited, even violent. If in calamity or suffering we hear someone say, “It’s fair!” our thoughts can easily tip towards thinking that that person is depressed, manic, or unnecessarily negative, especially about themselves.
For me fairness is a difficult thing to come to terms with. There’s so much happening all around us, so much suffering, so much apparently obvious unfairness. For one to say things are fair to me almost appears extremely insensitive, unfeeling, wilfully blind, even cruel.
I must confess that I have mostly avoided speaking of this. It’s too sensitive a topic. The issue of fairness brings up all manner of turbulent emotions in me. I am often overwhelmed by just thinking about thinking of it, let alone dealing with it.
However, I feel that there are some things we do need to tackle about this issue. There are some questions we do need to ask and perhaps not of others but of ourselves. There are some things we need to take into account and at least for me, none of these are easy.
One of the big and troubling issues for me is that perhaps we need to see our perspective in terms of the greater context we are in as best we can. I don’t claim to have it all sorted out in my life, but it is of major significance to me and it just doesn’t seem to go away.
As I see it (at least for now), everything we have around us from the universe, the earth, the economy, our country, global warming, conflict, ourselves, even our deepest opinions have all taken a very long time to get to where they are right now. Often we are taken by surprise when things happen locally and/or globally. But if we take a step back perhaps we need to acknowledge that we really don’t see totally new and unique things suddenly bursting out of nothing or out of nowhere. There is no real evidence to even suggest that new things are being ‘created’ out of nothing all the time or even at any time.
When we analyse things they often make sense in hindsight and we often wish we’d seen it more clearly before it happened. We do not see things very clearly from our perspective so it’s no wonder we are caught by surprise so often.
From our point of view it sometimes seems that things happen suddenly and out of nowhere but that is often because we can only see what’s in front of us and even then we don’t nearly see it all. To add to this limitation of perspective often the emotions or even wonder of the moment prevent us from shaking off subjectivity.
I think that we need to consider the possibility that it might be more reasonable to say that things happen because other things happened before them and still other things before that … . and so on. The universe around us seems to scream this out. As far back as we can imagine it seems logical that something happened and over vast expanses of time other things happened as a result of what had happened and this has resulted in what and where we are right now. Very little seems to have happened suddenly and out of the blue (or darkness) except for the very beginning which we can only speculate was quite explosive and instantaneous …. but only because we have no idea what happened even a trillionth of a nanosecond before whatever happened actually happened.
Suddenly’s therefore seem to be merely an illusion. Sometimes the things that contribute to a ‘suddenly’ event are so small that it takes a vast number of smalls to make a suddenly. Usually the build-up of the vast number of smalls can take extremely long and sometimes not so extremely long. Sometimes the suddenly seems so huge because an immense amount of smalls gathered substantial momentum and the suddenly was only the aftermath of the ‘tipping point’ that was reached.
Things may seem random or chaotic some of the time, and maybe even all the time because we often are not able to see the whole picture. But they are all as a result of a whole string of events leading up to it. All these apparently random and chaotic events are huge clusters of smalls working towards a state of ‘release,’ balance or equilibrium. At any given point it may seem totally inexplicable, but over time history always points to the present and the present points towards the future. The present also points towards the past. Our ability to reason and learn from history helps us to make sense of the events leading up to a suddenly but this is almost exclusively in hindsight.
As difficult as it is for me to come to terms with it also seems apparent to me that everything is therefore balanced or at least it is in a state of transition towards balance which to us may very well appear like turmoil until it reaches a state of balance (and even that can feel very much like turmoil).
In hindsight it all seems fair to me. It all seems in time, in order, and in process towards …. balance?
If we can agree with any of the logic of this can we apply it to ourselves and to the events that cause us such confusion, turbulence, pain? or joy? or frustration? loss, devastation? peace? … . . balance?
Is it possible therefore that as emotive as our situations and circumstances may be it is all indeed consistent, just … . . fair?
What of our pain? despair? suffering? triumph? success? …. . .
Some believe God is just. Some reject, even hate God or the concept of God because of the rampant injustice apparent in our world.
Is this fair?
Is all of this unfair?
Maybe it is neither … . .
perhaps it just is