The Fairness Sham

Our tiny little corner of the universe.

Life is not fair. Like at all. Not in any way. Human justice is lacking and there is no such thing as universal justice, karma or retribution.

This unfairness is not news. At least, it’s not to me. I’ve known about this bias since I was a small child. I knew that the concept of justice was a sham before I even hit double digits.

Yet, humans yearn for fairness. We long for some sort of just universe. We create systems of government to give us a sense of justice, to have someone to complain to or about. We rationalize that if you do bad things, bad things will come back to haunt you, but they don’t. They just don’t.

Killers aren’t caught. Pedophiles seem to spring up everywhere. CEOs who destroy companies and the lives of countless individuals fall softly to the earth in their blood money golden parachutes. Gas companies earn record profits while we regular folk have to decide between $50 in our gas tanks or eating this week. Lives are destroyed daily through incompetence, selfishness, greed, thoughtlessness or plain psychopathy. If you really believe in a just world, you haven’t been paying attention.

If you think there is some invisible puppet master out there controlling everything, well, then, you don’t really believe in free will, do you? If you have someone to whom you can point your finger when horrible things that happen, you’re not accepting your own humanity, your own will, nor mine.

When you really wallow in the muck down at the bottom of the world, when you realize that no one is going to help you climb back up, when you accept that it’s your job to climb out of it should you choose to do so, well, then you are free. Freedom is realizing that even though there is no one to help you up, there’s no one to keep you down either.

To be perfectly honest, I sometimes wish I could believe that there was someone up there with a plan. Life would be a lot easier and probably make a whole lot more sense if I could blame everything on someone else. “Well, the great sky king has a plan for me and this is part of it so I guess I’ll just deal.” It would be nice to just slough it off like that, but I can’t. My thinking mechanism won’t let me. My thinker says to me, “C’mon, get real. You are responsible for you and your actions and that’s all there is to it. Now, get me some steak.”

It all makes you feel so powerless at times. Speaking of powerless, look at this picture:

Our tiny little corner of the universe known as the Milky Way.

That, my friends, is us. You, me, every planet and star visible to the naked eye, and all of recorded human history is a tiny 1/gazillionth of a pixel in that galaxy somewhere. From where we sit, the Milky Way Galaxy is huge, but check this out:

Earth swinging around the Solar System in our Solar Interstellar Neighborhood inside the Milky Way Galaxy of our Local Galactic Group, which is part of the Virgo Supercluster, one of many clusters in our neighborhood Local Superclusters in the middle of the Observable Universe. (large version)

We can’t even really conceive of that scale. The universe is bigger and older than anything we can really comprehend.

Wave for the camera.

Our species, along with all other species that have ever existed on this planet, are but a speck on the timeline of the universe. When you look at those pictures and you see our pretty blue planet nestled between a couple of microdots that are in actuality millions and millions of light years apart, doesn’t it make you feel tiny? Doesn’t it make all the squabbles and politics and daily annoyances seem so pathetically insignificant?

When you think about how flash in the pan the entirety of human existence has been on a grand scale, it makes all the greed and hate and killing seem kind of silly, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it make you want to give a high five to all living creatures for surviving in that cosmic soup?

White/black, male/female, straight/gay; we are all humans on one little planet floating around in incredibly vast space and time. We are all descendents of primordial ooze. We are all the same. We all benefit from some extraordinary luck and timing to have evolved to where we are now with our thumbs and our big primate brains.

Humans are able to think about our place in the grand scheme of things. Not many creatures have that ability, but we can. Life isn’t fair, but rich or poor, good or evil, all things share death. Even our solar system will die one day. Humans are born, breathe, walk, see, hear, eat, poop and eventually die. We all have to make our own way.  Just because you were born into that giant pixelated universe up there, that doesn’t mean you are owed a goddamn thing.

So, humans of Earth, stop frittering away your big primate brain power on hatred. Accept that, no matter how differently we look, act or think, we are all humans, and as such, we all share the same fatal outcome. Make of life what you want. Stop being awful to each other. We are all in this together. High five, baby.