Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fairness is not about Justice, it’s about Balance

I’m always amazed when people who have no integrity pull out the “fairness” card to try to justify something to someone else. For instance, in working relationships, this value is often trotted out when there is a mention of insufficient women in stem careers or in the board room. Of course, then the value of “fairness” and meritocracy is paraded forward as an excuse to refuse to address the imbalance. Yet, the same company that may have several women who are able and willing to be promoted will pass them over claiming that they don’t have the qualifications, when it probably is not true or they could be trained. They can’t certainly say, “of course, we prefer men in the board room because we don’t want to change the way we’ve done business forever.” Intrinsically, we’re told to believe that fairness is an important quality in business dealings, but the truth is that it’s obvious the ones at the top don’t hold to that same belief. In their minds, all’s fair for them, just not fair for anyone else to do to them.

Balance in Nature

I am going to say something that is not popular with women because I’ve noticed that more women are indoctrinated into this belief of fairness than men. Women are taught to “play nice” and always give a little to get something back. Men are taught to take advantage and grab as much as they can and that is seen as “leadership” skills and a healthy dose of aggressive competitiveness. I was watching Master Chef the other night and four contestants were taking the elimination test, where one of them would be eliminated. Only one was a woman. When questioned about who she thought should be eliminated, she mentioned one of the men, as that was her only choices besides herself. What the judges didn’t understand, or maybe they did, was that this sort of staging is detrimental to women. It sets them up to have to perform far better than their peers simply to get a “that’s okay” from them, while the men take every advantage. Not surprisingly, the other two men sided with the first man she picked and said she should be eliminated instead. Is it fair to gang up on a woman because she answers a question they don’t like? No, but it was staged that way from the get go by the three male judges and the three other men who were competing. It simply isn’t a fair test for a woman. Yet, when I ask women about promoting women on the basis of their gender, they’re horrified because it is “unfair.” Unfair for whom? What needs to take place is not fairness, as that value is obviously gender-biased. What needs to take place is balance. For that to happen, we need to be willing to level the see-saw with the right amount of opposing weight, whether we feel it is “fair” or not. Only then can we really see the changes we need to see in working relationships.

Balance is Inherently Co-operative

When you end up with a balanced system, you find that it is naturally self-sustaining and co-operative. In nature, the predators are never allowed to decimate the prey too much because it leads to a destruction of the ecosystem. They do not have sufficient restraint, so Mother Nature sends in diseases for population control when populations get too high. In this way, a certain set of energies remain in balance and life goes on and remains productive. Unfortunately, human beings don’t seem to understand that need for balance. Maybe because they have so many beliefs about life being more fair for humans that for anyone else. There is a sense of entitlement that we get to change everything and decide what is fair for others and it doesn’t matter who we affect or what system we unbalance. That’s JUSTICE, not balance and it leads to a whole lot of misery, in my opinion.

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