Sunday, September 10, 2017

Luck or Merit? More thoughts on the Just World

Human nature is a funny thing.

"My son is attending his dream school," said the mother.

"What a lucky boy!" I said a little too soon.

"He worked very hard and is passionate about his art," she coolly replied.

Of course he worked hard. But not everyone that works hard gets into their dream school. Good things don't necessarily come to people who work hard. Nevertheless, working hard is important.

Taken in reverse, would that mean that kids who do not attend their dream schools just didn't work hard enough? 

This woman's son is the only child of wealthy parents whose grandparents are footing the bill for his university education. This, imho, makes him lucky. What of the son who is accepted to his dream school, but whose parents, for whatever reason, cannot afford the tuition? Did he just not work hard enough?

There are many reasons that kids have to settle for second or third best, or whatever they can manage. Granted, ex-cult members like myself are outliers, who often have many children, minimal higher education, and are playing catch-up financially after making no provisions for their old age nor their children's education. We obediently, "took no thought for the morrow," and "considered the lilies of the field."* 

Highest praise should go to the less-fortunate who struggle to overcome poverty, hardship, and lack of education, like so many second-generation cult members are doing. Let us never fall into the thinking that the world is just and life is fairBad things happen to "good" people, and good things happen to "bad" people.

And plenty of good things happen to rich people.


*Matthew 6:28-34, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 
"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
"Therefore take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."