Fairness

My neighbor’s cat died recently at the age of 6, quite suddenly and for seemingly no reason. He was well cared for and, if anything, over-protected. The owner is understandably upset and feels outrage at the lack of fairness. But who is it to say what that cat’s life was about and when was the right time for it to go? We operate under the assumption that death is terrible and something to be avoided and feared. But we have no idea about death. It may very well be that it is not a bad thing at all. Maybe it is a good thing. Maybe neutral. Maybe, like many other things in life, it all depends on many factors.

Children want things to be fair when games are played and treats are handed out and pout when they perceive that someone got more than their share. We have a justice system that tries to bring to account criminals who do bad things. But is that system fair? Some people get away with crimes, while others get caught for doing similar things. One person will go to jail for 10 years and the other for 1 because of different sentiments from a judge or a parole officer. People of different races or classes get entirely different treatment. And this result is from a system that is striving towards fairness. Most other walks of life, especially nature, can nothing about it. Go up and down a busy street and look at people’s lives and then try ascertaining what is fairness in this world.  What is fair about the person living in a wheel chair from the age of 50 onwards because a medical mistake was made during the course of his heart treatment, as happened to a member of my town? Or the schizophrenic who seems so tortured as he screams back at voices that no one else but he can ever hear?

Is there justice? I think probably, but it is often hard to see. I take it on faith and intuition, yet there is no proof. I was once in a laundry mat and was talking about karma to a middle-aged woman. She told me that her 12-year-old niece had been raped and anyone who said that was just her karma she was going to slug. I wisely stunted my natural impulse to continue on with my train of thought and shut up.   Karma is way too complicated to try and explain other people’s lives. But if I look at my own life, and those people I know best, I can get a sense of it. I don’t believe you get good things (whatever that means) for doing good deeds and trouble for doing bad. It’s more the pattern of your life, what you are working on, what you want to do with your life, and what comes at you as a result that indicates your karma. It seems as if life brings to you that which you need to work on and thus to evolve your own consciousness. What is bringing this to bear is way beyond our ken. This is a very mysterious world.

One Response to “Fairness”

  1. Justice is a great topic to contemplate since it is so relative and resists every effort to anchor it to some set of morals or beliefs.

    I am reminded of my father who passed a few years ago. Never in my life did we discuss religion until we sat down when I was 24. I had just been awakened to a belief in God, a love for my guru, and the certitude of connectedness of all things.

    I tried to share this with my father. He frowned and asked me if I believed in God. I told him ‘yes’ and he asked me why. I couldn’t answer the ‘why’ so he went on to tell me why he believed in God.

    He said, “There are good people and bad people. I believe that bad people are eventually brought to justice. Because I believe that justice exists, I believe in God.”

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