Monthly Archives: October 2013

FAIRNESS: Social Engineering Feat or Trait Intrinsic to Humanity?

Fairness (justice) is an idea we may not ponder about often enough; we have a tendency to rely on our immediate experiences to guide our perception of fairness, meaning, we know what fairness is when we see it or experience it, but is affected by feelings and bias. Any critical analysis regarding whether humans are inherently fair, or are simply molded to consider fairness, lies outside of the scope of most peoples’ day~to~day activities.

However, looking around us, fairness dictates our very existence through morés, values, laws, and norms; it is the glue which binds people, families, and societies and governments to their diversity of people.

Thus, is fairness inherent to humanity or a socially constructed idea? Is this even an important query in your lives?
Before answering, I want to state I mean no disrespect in this opinion. I spoke with a number of individuals, each of different race, gender, and creed. Each person shared the same view with regard to our query. Can you guess what their collective perspective was?

We begin life without ideologies, but with a range of physico~sensory capabilities restricting our biological preferences: taste (we generally prefer sweetness to hot); touch (velvet pillows over cacti); audition (white noise over foghorns); and olfaction (potpourri versus dog poo); sight is largely spectrally subjective. The point is, our biology determines our physical range of preferences. That is, we operate within rules not set by us. (Geneticists opine life is programmed to protect itself, its offspring, its DNA, strands of amino acids in helical shape: the chemistry of instinct.)

The fact is, we humans only fundamentally differ ideologically. Our thoughts, while influenced by 5~senses, are unconfined by heat, saltiness, or odors. We have power in our minds to perpetuate difference in our environs, to influence our lives to our subjective liking.

Ideas of fairness clash.

We have several religions where God commands structure (a social shape to thought), perhaps because humans must learn justice and other concepts. We have behavioral models in the form of parents and peers who provide perspective and reinforcement of our chosen attitudes. We have history itself, too! These things, combined with personal experiences, prove that subjective fairness (one’s personal ideas) prove less important than objective fairness (social ideas) over time. For instance, God~Kings and Matriarchies have evolved democracies and rule~of~law, yet wars for resources (to satisfy physical preferences) AND masked in ideology (internal preferences). So we are cognitively evolving. So what’s next?

The answer is not set in stone. Any ideas that reign tomorrow will be determined by YOU, through the people you choose to influence, and behavior or ideas you perpetuate. That’s the answer: Fairness is a social construct. When you are alone, what good is fairness?
But we are not evil. We notice social difference, and when difference evinces unfairness, our sense of justice should kick into gear, allowing our behavior to ripple out into the world.

Thank you for stopping by our charitable foundation. Our hope is you had a just and fair visit.


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