‘Life’s not fair! I’m gettin’ a raw deal!’ We hear it just about every day.
Life is neither fair nor unfair. Only people can be fair or unfair.
‘Fairness’ presupposes a set of concepts (or ideas) about justice, grounded in more fundamental ideas about the nature of man and reality. In order to be fair (or unfair), you must possess a consciousness and the ability to think. Life, as such, possesses no consciousness; it simply’is. Life is not a state that guarantees fairness or unfairness. It depends largely upon the use of your own mind, and the ideas your mind has accepted, as well as the choices made by other people crucial to you.
Those who look externally to ‘life’ or ‘existence’ for fairness will feel chronically betrayed, bitter and helpless. Those who look to their own minds to grasp concepts of justice, and practice them, and who demand the same of others, will feel something very different.
Anthropomorphism is defined as the attribution of uniquely human traits to inanimate objects. Anthropomorphizing life, or making it into a ‘person’ by giving it a consciousness
or an identity it doesn’t have, is the classic mistake made by religion. A religious believer sees their particular ‘god’ as a manipulator of things. This supernatural being can therefore be
judged as either fair or unfair. People who look at life this way are doing the same thing. They might be agnostic or even atheistic in their philosophical conclusions, but they’re no different from the religious person who expects there to be a certain magical, externally generated order to his life. Among other things, this serves to conveniently shift responsibility (and blame) away from oneself.
It’s a big mistake to let yourself operate on this premise. Doing so will give you a false sense of security when things go right, because you’re assuming that ‘life is going as it’s supposed to go’ rather than because of the choices you’ve made, or the fortunate circumstances you have judiciously exploited to your benefit. Likewise, viewing life as fair or unfair imparts a sense of bitterness and helplessness when things go wrong. ‘Why is this happening to me?’ becomes the prevailing attitude, as if some unnamed Someone or Something has rigged the game of life against you.
These attitudes are often quite subconscious and implicit, but they have a huge impact on the prevailing emotional state of an individual. The field of psychology has discovered, and correctly concluded, that the essence of clinical depression is a general attitude of ‘learned helplessness.’ I know of nothing that can contribute to such a mental and emotional state more than the false belief that life is unfair and is somehow plotting against you.
Life isn’t ‘for’ or ‘against’ anyone. It’s up to us to accept the responsibility for making it work in our favor.
Nobody is coming to rescue you … and that’s OK. Nobody ever was going to rescue you. Once you let go of this idea, you’re only letting go of a delusion. Living a delusion-free life is by far the best thing you can ever do for yourself.