You remember when you were a kid and some other kid got something that you didn’t, and you would retaliate by saying, “That’s not fair!” and some adult would say, “Well, life’s not fair.” that’s kind of a cop-out isn’t it? They did nothing to rectify the situation. They just outright said, “Get used to being treated unfairly. That’s life.” And we’re instilled with this belief that life’s not fair. And we grow up like that. “How come that guy has a bigger house than us?” “Because life’s not fair, son.” But what if life was fair? What if we all were treated equally in the eyes of the world? What if we all had the same opportunities that the rich people get and the successful people have? What kind of world would that be?
It would be a terrible world. Nobody would want to be a janitor or a plumber. They’d all be doing things like climbing mountains, starting in big movies, being famous, and selling insurance at big profits. Nobody would be working at McDonald’s for five dollars an hour or selling clothes in retails stores. Nobody’s passionate about that stuff. Nobody wants to do things like that, so it wouldn’t get done. There would be no more garbage man, so we’d all have to take our own garbage to the dump. Nobody would grow much food because it’s not exactly the best things to be a farmer. No one would ever clean up public bathrooms, so they’d be filthy. It would be a terrible, chaotic world.
But I think we need a little of that. We need to experience some sort of chaos in our lifetimes. We need to stir thing sup a bit. It’s for our own good. We all lead these lives of security. Get a job, get a house, work until we’re sixty or seventy, then retire and do meaningless activities as we wait to die. And what’s it all for? Most people don’t have a purpose for going to work besides meeting their survival needs. If they got free food and free housing, there would be no jobs. There wouldn’t be a need. And we’d all live in perfect harmony with one another. I think we need to go back to the barter system. We each have something of value to give to one another. Let’s say there’s a farmer who needs a roof put on his house. So you fix his roof for one year’s supply of food. And if you cobble his shoes correctly, you can marry his daughter. It’s the way of the old world.
But eventually, that would all collapse, too because some people would want more and some people would think they’re getting screwed. How can you measure how many carrots it takes to equal one ox? You can’t, but there would have to be some sort of exchange rate set up, which would indefinitely lead us back to using money again. And in order to have money, you’ve got to get a job, and to get a job you have to act like a total conformist to the job’s values, which in turn has you die a little inside. But that’s the way it goes. You can never really be yourself at a job because there’s always that threat of losing your job if you say or do the wrong thing. So it’s all these low-volume gossip sessions I’ve been seeing. This is where all the workers, mostly low-level workers will gather in a circle and say bad things about the people in charge, their own fellow co-workers, in fear that if that particular co-worker heard this, they’d all be out of a job.
And I really think people get pleasure from bad-mouthing their boss and other follow co-workers because it allows them to all agree on who’s good and who’s bad. But the people they’re talking about really don’t know that they’re being talked about because they’re never around when it happens, so they remain oblivious to the fact that everyone hates them. I think most of the people who gossip about other workers are jealous that the others are in charge, which leads us back to the unfairness paradigm.
It’s human nature to want control over a situation and when you go to work, you really don’t have much control unless you’re the boss. If you’re not, you have to do what somebody else says is best for you. You really don’t have much of a say in that, and if you want changes, they never happen right away. There’s always a delay for the whole store to shuffle around and retool everything. So without direct control, it makes us feel powerless at our jobs, which in turn leads to getting depressed about the job, feeling like you’re going nowhere.
And we envy the people in charge because we wish we had that power, but we don’t. It usually takes years to earn that type of respect, and if and when we finally get it, we realize we didn’t even want it. Nobody wants to be responsible. You know why? Because whenever something bad happens, somebody asks, “Who’s responsible for this?” And if it’s you, you’re in a world of hurt.
Usually, when viewing things from the outside in you really don’t get the whole picture. You could look at someone doing a job and say, “hey, I could do that.” But if you were to try it, you’d see the job from a whole different perspective, the inside out. And it’s a whole different paradigm that really will change the way you think about it. But at least I’ll never have to worry about that stuff. I’m not planning to climb my way up any corporate ladder because it could be leaning against the wrong building.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is to clarify that life can be fair if you view it in that light. You can see it in the best way possible, or you can loathe those who have it better than you. But it’s when you appreciate what you have and just try to make the best of it that you really realize who has the better life. A bigger house and more money isn’t going to make you happier. It’ll just make you more of who you already are. Until next time, I’m Ed Bradley.