The problem of unfairness has two parts: there’s the practical set backs to your goals, and then there’s a metaphysical part which is described by a psychologist as follows:
"Confrontations with violence challenges one's most basic assumptions about the self as invulnerable and intrinsically worthy and about the world as orderly and just. After abuse, the victim's view of self and world can never be the same again: it must be reconstructed.to incorporate the abuse experience."
People don’t realise that their suffering comes mostly from this level. Injustice tears a hole in meaning, leading directly to meaninglessness. How can you reconstruct meaninglessness into your view of the world? I’ve written before that we act a play of meaning because that’s the admission price of life. But reality is meaningless, there’s a duality. And the greater the unfairness the more severe this paradox – it brings you face to face with an existential crisis which is always there.
Weirdly enough this means there’s no reason to give up because nothing has changed. Unfairness feels like a terrible destruction of everything we know and believe, but in fact it was produced by the same universe with the same laws as before, when you were happy. It’s a strange comfort maybe but a very solid one. You still live in the same reality.
You do however need to change where you place hope. I don’t believe in replacing one opiate with another, platitudes like ‘move on’ or ‘make lemonade out of lemons’ are only temporary shelters. Again a much more solid comfort comes from revaluating from its foundations what it means to ‘believe in meaning.’
Usually it means that we believe meaning makes up the majority of life, and that’s the way it should be. But this is totally wrong.
Meaninglessness it the norm, and meaning is the exception. Our fair and just world is a man made construct that occupies a tiny pinprick of the universe where the rocks and water, stars and planets exist with no reason, no beginning, no end, no life and no meaning.
Meaning is not the way it should be at all, it’s an anomaly. There’s a war going on, and it has been ever since life struggled to existence. Meaning is a direct assault on reality and it has to be created against the odds.
And the only reason it happens is because we have an instinctual, compulsion to find it beautiful.
‘Believing in meaning’ is a leap of faith, a commitment to aestheticism. I can’t say it’s a ‘belief’ really because you enter into it with both eyes open, you choose to value it even whilst you know it is only a creation, a fallacy almost, validated by nothing external.
We light a small fire that pushes back the darkness. We stare at that small fire so intently that we forget the darkness is all around us and all pervasive. Why be discouraged if you happen to glance up and see reality? Or realise how small the light is. Keep staring at the fire because it’s important to you, and protect and nurture it precisely because it’s small and fragile.
And then the only problem that unfairness poses is the practical one of how to work around it.
Children’s books that made me rethink careers
12 hours ago