Previous section: “Superiority Because of Religion and Race, Superiority in Societies”
Today’s section from Descending into War, Descending into Contempt, pp. 9-12:
Feelings of Inequity
Fairness is elusive. Nature is wide in its distribution of resources, and fairness is unrelated. Difference is the key. Nature is about differences infinitely dispersed. No two are quite the same.
Differences are physical and intangible. Within the physical manifestations are nuances and subtleties. Within the intangible characteristics are emotional ranges, instinctive differences, intellectual capacities, awareness of natural order, and survival positioning.
The rhythms in nature are the providers of fairness. As the days roll one into another and the seasons instill movement of time, the living experience the rhythms together. From the tiniest elements to complex humans, all feel the rhythms. Fairness is in the togetherness.
In each person are a call for togetherness and a call for investment. The investment requires preserving self-interest and desiring closeness given by others. Innate awareness and activation of attachment reactions drive each person to connect and protect.
Morés and group behaviors affect the innate attachment reactions and introduce skewed expectations for societal position, close attachments, and intuitive evaluations. The skewed thinking is learned and ingrained, and is then reflected in thinking and behaviors.
Within individual family units and communal groups, relationships develop and end. The larger units–towns, subdivisions, and areas connected by loyalties–contain the family units and communal groups, and they change opportunities for attachments. Each relationship and attachment presents hopes, expectations, and reactions. Each relationship and attachment has the possibilities of closeness and skewed evaluation. Each relationship and attachment reflects ingrained thinking and natural responses. Innate and learned behaviors intertwine.
The natural inclination is to expect differences in others. The learned misinterpretation is to expect fairness. Just as superiority is learned and inculcated in people, so too is the expectation of fairness.
Fairness is often expected in everything: fairness in distribution of attention in relationships, fairness in access to solutions, fairness in competitions, fairness in natural conditions (weather and resources), and fairness in efforts towards well-being.
Parents are expected to treat their children “fairly”. The price charged for a service is expected to be “fair”. Less fairness is expected in societies where wealth is unethically distributed. Fairness is not expected, nor is it hoped for, when governing forces repress some. This effect is created in societies that support slavery, religious self-righteousness, and caste systems. Less fairness is also expected in societies that ennoble power, buildings, or might.
Conflict is aroused when inequality becomes too difficult to maintain, or when those with “less” force change.
Within a family, conflict erupts over the inability to be fair. Family members perceive treatment from different vantage points, and inequality seethes in the relationships. The feelings of inequity can lead to divorce, estrangement, miscommunication, or self-harm. Feelings of inequity are family-fracturing.
Within schools, feelings of inequity can abound. Administrators who establish blatant inequality among staff, drive mistrust and jealousy into the school. School board members sometimes have their positions because of unethically distributed wealth, and they force inequity through their voting rights. Students increase feelings of inequity when they have superiority in their upbringing. Classrooms, which are headed by teachers who allow their personal preferences for students to affect their work, are places where conflict can breed.
Within businesses, inequity naturally exists because of ownership privileges (although mistreatment of employees should not be condoned). Departmental inequity that is encouraged by upper management is mismanagement. Departmental inequity that is created within departments is pernicious.
Negotiations between businesses exude self-interest. Focus on own-ness is natural and is expected. In negotiations in which businesses use unethical tactics or withhold information, the offending side brings inequity into the negotiations. The results will be distancing and will be destabilizing to society. The results will extend beyond the individual businesses negotiating.
Feelings of inequity surface in citizens of countries beset by government officials who covet the imagined riches of other countries. Imagined, for reality is fraught with hardships unseen. When the governing officials have instilled in their citizens feelings of covetousness and inequity, the view towards other countries will be skewed. Skewed appreciation of one’s own reality can lead to conflicts with those imagined to have a more desirable reality. The conflicts can lead to injustices and armed conflict.
Next section: “Feelings of Disappointment”