The runners are all lined up at the starting line after months of practice to get to this moment—the Olympic Games. The starter gun explodes and they take off. Foot by foot or inch by inch, the runners separate themselves based on a myriad of factors that in the end distinguish the winner.
Although all of the runners had an equal conditions—theycovered the same distance and started at the same time—they did not finish at once, and awards are given to those who reached the end first. Because that’s why they ran the race. And that’s what’s fair.
Fairness vs. equality
is the third universal law
I’m touching on in this blog mini-series
. These two concepts are intimately entwined. In nature, they are always in balance. Maintaining this balance is important for having a successful life, as well as a successful society.
Most people, I believe, understand these concepts. Many live thinking that all life is equally precious while being inherently different. For example, based on the number and kinds of chromosomes and the genes that are activated during development, one sprouting plant grows into a cabbage and another one becomes a radish. Some human beings are born with a strong logical mind while others may have a lot of athletic talent. Yet they are all alive and deserve the opportunity to thrive. They all have access to the life energy that flows through everything. This is equal and fair.
However, what each being needs to thrive and what each produces in their life varies. Giving a child and an adult the same amount of food and then asking them to do the same amount of work may be equal, but it’s not fair. Fairness is evaluated based on the differences between people—the differences in both what they are born with and what they produce. The energy accumulated and circulated outward through creativity, hard work, ingenuity, initiative, and achieving a goal always comes back in some way in equal measure. You get out what you put in as they say. That is fair.
Being a product of nature and its laws, our brains like fairness and equality. Without fairness, if we all receive the same rewards no matter what we do, our brain is not stimulated. We lose the motivation to challenge ourselves, to strive and therefore thrive. We fail to grow or change
While fairness vs. equality is a universal law, as sentient beings, humans have the ability to disrupt the balance between these two natural tendencies. While historically we’ve been working diligently on freedom and equality, fairness has been neglected. We sometimes use broad strokes to evaluate individuals, disregarding their differences and needs, which dehumanizes them and ourselves. We also sometimes fail to reward those who have worked hard and deserve to be rewarded.
Fairness and equality depend on the perspective from where your standing. When one country conquers another, the conquered nation may not think it’s very fair because they deserve to have their own sovereignty. The conquerers may see it as very fair, however, because as the country with the stronger force and the better strategy, they won the race and deserve an award. That’s why I propose taking the widest view possible when we apply the laws of fairness vs. equality.
Since all human beings are dependent on the earth for their lives, I think our perspective should be that of the whole earth. How can we manage our own activities and the earth’s resources so that they are distributed fairly and without infringing on the rights of other species? Resource management at this level is Earth Management.
To be in harmony with this law in your life, give everyone a chance, but evaluate them judiciously. Remember that you have infinite creative potential
, but see yourself and your life clearly as you are right now. And set up policies in your community that treat each individual fairly while leaving every opportunity open to them.