“What goes around, comes around”

You will often hear the phrase, ‘What goes around, comes around.’

I like this phrase, although not for the reasons people usually give. People who like or use this phrase generally mean to imply, ‘There’s a higher being making sure everything is OK.’ I don’t like this view because it leads to the sense of passivity and helplessness that, in varying degrees, many people seem to feel.

The reason I like this statement is because it implies something that is generally true: That the rules of nature and reality make sense, and if followed consistently, things will usually turn out well, or at least as best as they possibly can.

Take the case of a liar and a cheater. In certain cases, the liar will get away with deceit. He’ll leave victims in his path. Not a good thing, obviously, and not something which suggests that ‘what goes around comes around.’

But think about what the liar is counting on. He’s counting on the weakness or honest ignorance of other people to sustain his deception. The more people remain honestly ignorant of his lies or (worse yet) afraid to challenge or question him, the more he gets away with it. Their ‘enabling’ of his deception gives it more power than the deception itself.

If everyone in the world became a liar and a cheat, the world would very soon collapse. Nobody would be able to trust anybody else; contracts (or one’s word) would become meaningless; and society would probably descend into outright anarchy and chaos.

This fact illustrates how benevolent the universe and the laws of nature or reality really are. Honesty (strictly speaking) means adhering to reality, i.e. keeping one’s consciousness focused, of course, on the truth at all times. Honesty is not a selfless virtue—not a sacrifice of the self for the sake of preservation of the social order, or the feelings of others. Honesty is a rational principle of survival. If everyone on earth became dishonest tomorrow, the world would perish. Not exactly self-interest, is it!

If you adopt rational principles to live by, such as honesty and integrity, then you’ll become able to understand that the universe is—by nature, if not always in people’s choices —a benevolent place.

I’m suggesting that reality is by nature a benevolent place. This doesn’t always mean people are. People are free to be rational, or not. They are free to elect Adolf Hitler into power, or support the efforts of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. They’re free (if living in freedom) to be all that they can be, or to squander their lives and minds away. But you can’t blame someone’s choice to be dishonest or otherwise irrational on the nature of reality. Anarchy, chaos or deception are man-made errors, not flaws inherent to the nature of reality.

Challenges to survival—illness, and so forth—are part of the nature of reality; whether those challenges are overcome or undermined lies completely in the domain of the man-made.

I recognize that reality does not give us automatic survival. This is true whether you’re a primitive caveman struggling to build a fire and eat, or a modern person confronting a temporary breakdown in your Internet connection.

To many, the answer in dealing with daily struggles is to acquire what I call a sense of false benevolence, or false security. It might take the form of traditional religion, or modern ‘New Age’ spirituality. Or it might take the form of believing some strongman in your nation’s capital will somehow take care of us. It all boils down to the same falsehood and error: The idea that ‘something’ or ‘Someone’ will somehow alter the nature of reality to make it all OK.

The truth is: There’s no need for such self-delusion.

Reality, when confronted with consistent rationality, is a very survivable and even enjoyable place. This is much truer today than it was in the time of the caveman, or the centuries between then and now. All that we benefit from today is because of the reasoning of human beings that made various discoveries and advancements possible.

What goes around comes around. The reason we’re as comfortable and secure as we are today—even in otherwise troubled times—is precisely because of all the reasoning (in science, technology, business, medicine, agriculture, etc.) that went on and still goes on today.

We undercut ourselves the extent to which we depart from reason; we uplift ourselves to ever greater heights the extent to which we engage (and support/foster in others) the value of reasoning and productive action.

Left free to think, the world is a benevolent and always achievable and improving place. Nothing external or imaginary is required to make it so. The benevolence of the universe was there all along, and is always there, provided we reach to actualize the best within ourselves.


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