Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Other Divine Comedy, part 2: The Best Lie Ever Told

"Life is fair."

I am usually one of the first to say that life isn't fair.  And nowhere in any religion does it say life is fair, or that it should be.  You might find it in Marxism, but we generally don't like that in this part of the world.

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Genesis 2-16-17


“No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:4-5

Uh huh, hm, well that's interesting.  ...  Fairness is often thought of in the same vein as equality.  The old snake made it sound like it was a good thing to be on par with God, at least on this level.

So apparently, this has been tripping us up from the beginning.

The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.”
Genesis 3:22

And don't forget, Cain killed Abel in a fit of jealousy.  It wasn't fair God favored Abel over Cain.  Cain gave God the leftovers, when Abel had given God the best of his flock.  But they both still gave something, right?

The idea of fairness, really, is dangerous.

If you've never read "Godfather Death" by the Grimm Brothers, pick it up.  Death makes all men equal.  Not everyone's born, not everybody really lives, but everybody dies.

Yes, yes, God will be fair:  everyone dies.  Death is life's great fairness.  Death is life's great certainty.  Taxes aren't a certainty anymore, but death still is.  Rich, poor, white, black, Mexican, Chinese, Christian, atheist, Buddhist.

Sometimes I wonder if God has a dark sense of humor.

You will certainly die.  Even Jesus died once.

This is really morbid stuff, I know.  I tell my nephews all the time, "Life isn't fair."  But I think, once you realize that, it kind of opens up new stuff.

“Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.”
― Oscar Wilde

Just imagine if everything you ever did came back to bite you in the butt.  Some people get what they deserve.  But turn that inward:  what if you got what you deserved?

Even the most successful people won't attribute it all to hard work.  There was a little luck involved.   There was a lot of hard work, but a lot of hard work can come to nothing.  If life were fair, it wouldn't be so, but it's not.  Case in point:  most writers put their heart and soul in their writing.  Do they deserve to hit the best-seller list?  Probably.  Will they?  They might only sell a few hundred copies.  Hard work will only take you so far.  Work hard, but sometimes it's not enough.

Life's a lot of work, some blessings, some curses, perhaps some luck thrown in for spice.  But it is not, nor is it ever fair.  And perhaps it shouldn't be.