Unfair Enough

‘Life isn’t fair’ they say.

And I agree.

This is a good reason not to inflict unfairness upon people - they will receive their own fair share of misfortune without the aid of a ‘reality check’. ‘Life isn’t fair’ is not an excuse to be treat people unfairly, not even under the veil of ‘showing how the world really is’. There are gradations of applicability of this philosophy: allowing reality to reveal its unpleasantness, or suggest its potential to be unpleasant, in a cautionary vein to guard against future dangers; acting with measure to prevent the worser of two evils, permitting the lesser evil to occur but representing it as a lesson to be learned by the victim; seeing an unkindness occur and subsequently explaining its occurrence as a fact of life; and then there’s the version I’m less keen on - deliberately visiting unkindnesses on someone in order to teach them a ‘valuable’ lesson about life in general. Especially wicked when it is pulled out of thin air, but similarly unjustified when delivered in a kind of misplaced revenge - ‘he hit me, so I’m going to hit you to indicate how unfair the world can be.’

Life is unfair. It’s an easy trap to fall into. In some respects it’s inevitable; bad moods have to manifest themselves somewhere, somehow. Loved ones frequently take up the slack of bad-temperedness. It just becomes a little more dangerous when such behaviour is defended under the guise of ‘…you see what happens??’ That is a pretext for future such ‘lessons’. Beware the grudge that perpetuates itself, the desire to remind someone they annoyed you long ago, the never-ending vicious circle of tit-for-tat bullying - anger can be channelled so as to nullify itself and protect you against the kind of thing that elicited the anger in the first place. It seems ‘unfair’ to rain down unfairness upon another in an effort to demonstrate life’s natural unfairness - you defeat the original point. Unfairness is unfair; it ain’t right, even if it is a fact of life. You might just as well say ‘pain is inevitable; here, have some!’ And crucially, you would be ignoring the essential point - that life is unfair anyway. ‘Life is unfair’ is often used to excuse past wrongs, or as a reason for starting trouble, and in these contexts either disguise hypocrisy or provide a platform for being nasty just for the fun of it.

Life is unfair. You might wake up one day and think ‘life is boring; I think I’ll start a fight.’ Please hang on in there…don’t start shit to make life interesting - shit happens. If you want trouble, trouble will find you one day in any case. Save your energy. Or if we have a surplus amount of energy, we could spend our time countering wrongdoings. Lord knows there’s enough of those to go around. And if we run out, and I hope we do, we can fight illness. We can defeat each other totally at sports. Or we can just argue each other to pieces (and by ‘argue’ I mean ‘debate’.)

Life is unfair. Necessarily. That’s the critical factor which accompanies the saying ‘life isn’t fair’; things go wrong. As sure as day follows night. Try your best to avoid it, it will still happen. Try your best to avoid it, you will sometimes be disappointed. Still, try your best to avoid it. It sometimes seems as though life is so hell-bent on trying to break us, that unhappiness is a fact of life we should find consistency in, and actively maintain, ensuring ‘the devil’s side of the bargain’ be upheld, so to speak. It can seem like a challenge worthy of your attention, making life difficult, unfair even, for those who look up to you. It’s too easy though. Making things go wrong is a piece of piss. Things will go wrong anyway - therein lies the lesson ‘life isn’t fair’. The real, genuine, positive and constructive challenge is to walk the tightrope of keeping things okey-dokey. Concentrating harder when things get wobbly, relaxing and enjoying when they are happening smoothly, trying not to fall off, and resolutely not jumping off (in this metaphor there is no safety net.) Why should life need such devoted attention, such dedication and care? Why should we care when life frequently doesn’t seem to care about us? Why should we put so much effort into making things easier for each other, when so often our kindness is unreturned???

- Because life isn’t fair.




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