The illusion of fairness

If you are a parent–or have a good memory of your own childhood behavior–you know that the frequent default response from a child when they feel they have been wronged is to exclaim “that’s not fair!”

Depending on your degree of emotional development, not much may have changed when you became an adult. Witness the craziness in Congress this week.

If you are a Democrat, much of your rhetoric included decrying how unfair it is that the wealthiest in our society aren’t being asked to do more to contribute to deficit reduction, and how unfair it is that the minority Tea Party members can “hold the country hostage” through their “extreme” views.

If you are a Republican, your arguments include how unfair it is that 49% of eligible taxpayers pay no federal income tax whatsoever, despite consuming the overwhelming majority of discretionary government spending. You also say it’s unfair to further raise taxes on the 5% of taxpayers that already contribute nearly 60% of all federal tax receipts.

I think it’s fair (ha!) to say that your ideas about fairness have a lot to do with your pre-conceived, often selfish notions.  In practice, fairness is usually a relative concept, despite our brains telling us that it is absolute. Think Einstein, not Newton.

And to be fair (see how easy this is?), when it comes to legal matters such as due process, equal civil rights–by the way, nice going New York–and the like, fairness is an essential principle to which we should always strive.

But in most of our daily activities and actually doing the work, there is no such thing as fairness. There is only reality.

If you want to get anything done, stop worrying about fairness. Get out of the way of your own ego.

If you want to have any serenity in your life, let go of the notion of achieving fairness.

Accept the things you cannot change and focus on the things you can.

Fair enough?

3 thoughts on “The illusion of fairness

  1. Well said. The ability to NOT see reality is the reason most people fail. Its not what should be, but what is. These kinds of people do not know the effort that goes into making changes with their present reality. They just wish it was better. The only way to make outcomes better is exercise continuous effort towards a better result. This happens in the PRESENT moment.

    Tell people to stop living in the past or future. Start bringing your attention into the PRESENT moment.

    They will find the PRESENT to be the most powerful place for changing any reality.

  2. I think that is fair enough!

    The concept of fairness is based on ideology and we are stymied by all the ideologues in the government and in the media.

  3. In all fairness (ha) I felt everyone in Congress – with the exception of Ms. Giffords – and White House officials should be fired! This fiasco brought into sharp relief – the lack of true leaders in our government.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.