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26 December 2009 @ 10:55 am
Feed Your Head: The Comfort of Cosmic Injustice  

You know, I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair.
Then, I thought:


Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair,
and all the terrible things that happen to us come
because we actually deserve them?"


So, now, I take great comfort in the hostility and unfairness of the universe.



-- "Marcus Cole",
in J. Michael Straczynski's
Babylon 5

 
 
 
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on December 27th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
Well, heaven knows I believe that. Er, included in that quotation are many of the reasons I find it impossible to believe in a divine intelligence as formulated in any human theology. ;)
Your Obedient Serpent: Eye of Agammottoathelind on December 27th, 2009 07:49 am (UTC)
Any?

Not all theologies assume divine benevolence.

In fact, I'd hazard that it's a minority viewpoint.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on December 27th, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
LOL. You got me, there. I've gotta cop to that one. Many religions in fact do not presume divine benevolence. The Hellenophile in me would kick my ass if I tried to argue otherwise, and recently I, myself, made a post about how Back in the Day people did not assume so much as freedom of will.
Your Obedient Serpent: coyote laughsathelind on December 27th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, Zeus is a right WANKER, and Odin? Odin works in mysterious ways -- to do whatever the hell he wants.

It's also occurred to me that the local crop of Fundamentalists don't really rank "omnibenevolence" particularly high amongst Attributes of the Divine, except in that twisted "follow this specific behavior pattern and I will forgive you anything" pattern.

My own personal version of the Coyote Doctrine postulates a being who is, in fact, omnibenevolent, and, if not omnipotent, close to it -- but not particularly competent. Coyote wants everyone to be happy! He wants to make everyone laugh! But his sense of humor tends more often than not toward crude slapstick, and if he can't get a laugh out of you with little pranks, he'll keep upping the ante.

It's Hanlon's Razor as theology.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on December 27th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
And what Odin works to do is rarely of benefit to anyone but himself, yeah, yeah. You've got me into a corner and you're hammerin' away. ;)

I might counterargue about fundies that they consider that to be omnibenevolence, but I agree with you, fairly obviously. They are comfortable with a god that will torment for eternity the vast majority of humans who have ever lived because those people chose to stay true to their own faith(s) and families and cultures than adopt Christianity. That does not seem particularly benevolent, hehe.

Hanlon's razor as theology - and people call me nihilistic! ;)
leonard_arlotteleonard_arlotte on December 28th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
Of course I believe in God.

SOMEONE is out to get me!
eggshellhammereggshellhammer on December 27th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
The 'Just World' fallacy probably does more damage to human decency and decision making than most others, in this era of wide media reporting.
Hafochafoc on December 28th, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)
I too have whined that "The World Isn't Fair." But "not fair" is only the smallest part of the problem. The problem is that as it relates to your actions, the world just doesn't make any sense.

Folks will say it's childish to expect the world to be "fair." Then those same people will give you the most egregious bullpuckey about how if you get this degree, you'll get that good job. If you avoid this vice, you'll prevent that disease. If you'll love, you'll be loved back. Friends, counselors, teachers, parents, political theorists, self-help gurus, priests, preachers, and poobahs of all stripes, all nattering that if you do X it will ALWAYS lead to Y, which is just the doctrine that the Universe operates with Generalized Fairness, with cause and effect. And it just does NOT.

Nothing we can do will do any more than nudge the odds a little bit in our favor, if it will do that. But people still blame you when you prove their idiotic This Way to Success theories to be total bullcrap. I suppose if they admitted that their theories didn't work, they'd lose the comforting lies that allow them to keep facing life. I still think they'd be better off without 'em, and certainly I would be better off if THEY were without them, but it ain't happening.

When I was younger I was furious because the world didn't work with cause and effect. Then I was furious with all those authorities who self-righteously assured me that it DID, when any fool could see they were full of crap. And now I'm just angry at myself, and depressed, for ever having been stupid enough to believe them.
one in a billionsiege on December 28th, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
I think the problem is, you overlook the actual workings in favor of a different set. The cause and effect are there, but the rules that people give you aren't based on actual statistical analysis of the world around them, but rather experience (which varies) of the things that have seemed or proven "true" to them (which is not to say that all truths correlate to things in the material realm).

In the meantime, you've apparently learned to be cynical. While cynics are rarely disappointed in their worldview, they are also rarely happy.
Hafochafoc on December 28th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
No, I used to overlook the actual workings in favor of a different set. Once upon a time I trusted authority and believed what authority told me. I lived in pain and confusion because I did all the right things but got the wrong results.

Now, as I said, I know better. I don't blame those who misled me any more, except so far as they insist that when you follow their rules and don't get the results they promised it is because something's wrong with YOU... cf any conservative talk show host talking about the poor, for example.

I do still get angry at myself for not having known better, for having fallen for that line for so long. Big big news here-- I bet you couldn't have guessed this-- this really bugs me on those occasions when the pointless depression hits and i fly off the handle and make a spectacle of myself. Otherwise it's more of a useful reminder to put no more trust in others' judgment than my own, and not much on my own either.

I resent, a bit, that you too feel free to diagnose me and tell me what's wrong with myself. Oh well, what the heck, I do that myself to others too often, even though I know I shouldn't. Let me look up that diagnosis and see what it means. Bierce's Dictionary is reliable... hmm.. cynic, cynic... ah yes, "a blackguard whose defective vision sees things as they are, instead of as they should be." OK, I'll accept that. In fact, it seems an ideal to reach for, to see things as they are, and a lot harder than it would appear. As for happiness-- if I can see things as they really are I will accept what happiness that allows rather than pretend to believe comforting lies. But seeing things as they really are, now.. well, one can only do one's best.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on December 28th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, I agree with you. To love another does not mean you will be loved. To work hard does not mean you will become wealthy and/or successful. To eat right and exercise does not mean you will have a long and healthy life. This is obviously true.

What actually surprises me is how much people reject this, despite it being obviously true. I know lonely, broke people in ill health who will assert to me that, basically, they are at fault for everything in their life. Chance plays no role in people's destiny! None, at all! Everyone has what they deserve, rich and poor alike. Baffling.

It is actually consideration of the successful that has lead me to this conclusion. I know too many people who are successful but . . . not particularly talented or hard working, no moreso than dozens of other people I know who are more talented and hard working, that lead me to conclude that chance is the largest determinant of direction of our lives.
ebony14 on December 30th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
Along those lines, I've always been fond of a quote from Mr. Parker (Ryan Philipe) in "The Way of the Gun": "God answers all prayers, in the order received."