Fairness

English: One of William Blake's watercolour il...

English: One of William Blake’s watercolour illustrations for Robert Blair’s poem The Grave. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I was sitting in on a discussion in SecondLife. It was not in my original plans of the day to do this, but I saw the notification for it from one of the groups I am in and I decided to “Join In“. There were some diversity on the understanding of what “Fairness” meant to different people participating in the group. Some people equated “Fairness” with “Equality“. Of course, that’s not what it means to me at all. Before I go further into this about my thoughts on it, allow me to share what was shared with those of us at the class.

I don’t recall if this is taken specifically from someone’s website or what have you. What I am citing for you is NOT my own words but the work of someone else I’d love to give credit to if I knew who it was. There is at least 2 definite citation in this at least though for a specific passage or 2 so at least someone gets credit. 🙂 If you know who it is, please leave a comment letting me know so I can give proper credit for the information I have. Thank you!

What is fair ?
___________________
What is fair pay ? ( lets say for bankers and nurses )
What is fair treatment ?
What is a fair judgment? What is a fair opinion ?
What is a fair share ?
And . . .What are fair chances ?

Since fair decisions and fair judgements matter for all kind of opinions lets have a look at fair decisions:
Well, here are some good points and criteria for making fair decisions from Michael Josephson. You can find them all at Josephsoninstitute.org.

Suppose you have good reason to assume, but are not sure, that a close friend lied to you. That your boyfriend / girlfriend cheated on you or that your colleague came to work drunk. Can we deal with these matters in a fair way? And how can we do so?

1. Fair Notice.
You should determine whether the person accused had a fair notice that the conduct was wrong.

2. Impartiality.
You should be sure you are a fair and impartial judge. This means you are willing to suspend judgment until all the information is in. It also means you have to set aside any conclusions you may have made and clear your mind of prejudice (prejudging) or predispositions about the person or issues involved.

3. Gather Facts.
You must make reasonable efforts to gather facts. What do you actually know? Are there ambiguities that can be clarified? If you are making comparisons do you have enough information on each candidate for each case concerning the factors you think are most important?

4. Fair Hearing.
Fourth, in an accusatory setting you should allow the person accused an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story. This means confronting the accused with your suspicions and the facts or inferences you have to back them up.

5. Evaluation.
You need to carefully weigh and evaluate all the information you have, separating facts from opinions and opinions from speculation. Before you reach a judgment you have to take up the issue of burden of proof.

Some principles:
Treat all people equitably based on their merits and abilities and handle all essentially similar situations similarly and with consistency.
Make all decisions on proper criteria, without undue favoritism or improper prejudice.
Fully consider the rights, interests, and perspectives of all stakeholders, approach judgments with open-minded impartiality.

And before we start our discussion lets have a brief look at a very famous fairness principle: The so-called Veil of Ignorance. Thought up by John Rawls.

Pretty much everyone has a sense of self-interest. No matter who you are or what you do, it is natural that you want to help yourself. This makes producing justice a bit difficult – if everyone inherently skews the system in their own favor, unless all the skews balance out you’re just left with a very messy system.

Imagine the kind of system that a bunch of spirits might agree to before they were born. They do not know what talents or handicaps they will be born into or with. Are they gifted craftsman or poets or a math genius. Are they strong or weak ? Are they healthy or suffering diseases in life ? They just don’t know while they agree on the system. This is their veil ! But they know that these talents and handicaps exist. What kind of system would they come up with?

When it comes to myself I always try to be a relatively “Fair” individual. Even before I might speak to a stranger and I might make mild judgements (I know we all do this, so don’t even deny it. 😛 Mild or no) based on the feel of their aura, how they carry themselves, to how they dress – if I approach them or they approach me, I still give them the benefit of the doubt to prove those mild judgements incorrect or completely on the ball. Most of the time, I’m 100% on the ball. I do this though because I feel it is only “Fair” and in a way it is a common-courtesy for me and for them.

Even in situations people ask me for advice or to mediate on, I try to be fair and withhold judgement completely until I have a pretty good picture of what exactly is going on, have some idea of perhaps what is going on with the other party involved, to the person who’s asking for the advice or mediation. I then deliberate all that I have gathered within myself, perhaps with some experience of my own that I can lend + my intuition and give my viewpoint or advice based on the conclusion I reach.

Because as I know – no story is EVER one-sided. There is always at least 3 sides to every story. Your truth, the other person’s truth and the Universal truth of what’s really going on or should be done. There are people out there who would rather have things THEIR way and that THEY are in the right to feel hurt (The Victim) or persecuted when often sometimes, they are the problem or what is the cause of the issue in the first place. Hence why there is a side to every story.

I always encourage people to try to get as much as you can from both sides of the story before you come to your own conclusions about what to do or say.

Getting back to the word “Fairness” – as I mentioned, some people in the discussion equated Fairness with Equality, but to me those two words are NOT synonymous for one another at ALL. Fairness does not always equate to Equality and Equality does not always equate Fairness.

Fairness to me is very different than it might be for some people out there and that is because we all view the world through our own personal “Filters” of sorts. Those Filters often are developed from our personal experiences to what we have been raised and brought up to believe. I have always had a rather Altruistic nature at heart. So for me Fairness isn’t about Equality but rather, “If I have the means to help out my fellow-man because I have the wealth, power or influence, I should use that to give back to my community to help enrich it in some way”.

Some discussion participants mentioned things that fell into what some consider, “The Golden Rule” like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and that does go with Fairness to a certain extent, but again – not everyone may see it that way. It’s a bit of a blurred line there.

So let me share somethings as examples but with my opinion on said example of how I feel it is either “Fair” or “Unfair” based on my personal experience and/or Filter. This example may or may not step on some people’s toes, so you’ve been warned. You don’t have to agree with me – this is just how I feel.

I think Senators should be paid LESS for what they do because I do not feel they spend it wisely.  Some of these people take the enormous paychecks they get, buy a really nice luxury house, a luxury high-end vehicle and other possessions they may not necessarily need. Now the home seems like a necessity for some people to want or have, but when you consider the price of “Prime Choice Housing” it’s kind of a different story.

Even the luxury car like a Bentley or whatever is considered a luxury vehicle, they don’t need that luxury vehicle, they could have gone with something LESS pricy that thieves might be less inclined to try to steal/break into.

Now I’m not saying it’s bad to want or have nice things, if you have the proper means to sustain them, but you consider this – the government wants to make cuts to important funding projects vs. to the Congressman or Senator’s paychecks. To me – that just seems unfair. I don’t LIKE that these people can set the amount of their paychecks either. I sometimes think that should be voted on by the people, as many of them don’t seem to remember – they – WORK – FOR – THE – PEOPLE – and haven’t always worked well in getting what we want – done or made the kind of positive changes we would like to see made.

It’s also bad when you hear some of them complain, “We don’t make enough!” and I’m thinking, “You make more than I do in a whole year! You have a luxury house, a luxury car and other luxuries I can’t even afford with a years worth normal salary. Why should I feel sympathy for you?

Example number 2 I can give is Sports Players. I don’t think they should make near as much as they should. They should maybe make enough for their travel expenses, a small bit from the seats at sporting events and the merchandise with their faces plastered all over it, but they shouldn’t get paid more than say – someone in the military who puts their life on the line on a daily basis for MY freedoms. That just seems messed up to me as it points, in a way, to our priorities being misaligned.

Contrary to popular belief, not all military make equal or adequate pay for their service in the military. Sports players make more than them. I do feel though that the Solider contributes far more good and well-being to the society (contrary to OTHER rumors as well about ALL Soldiers *big eye-roll*) as a whole, than the Sports Player.

So there are some of my examples and how I feel about “Fairness“. What do you think about “Fairness“? Can you think of any examples that you feel are “Fair” or extremely “Unfair“? Would love to see what people share and how they feel about this.

Thank you for reading as always! Tune in next Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next additions. Same Fae-tyme. *giggle* Same Fae-channel!

Comments, questions or got a topic suggestion? Find the reply button and let me read it!

~Love, light, blessings and more, Namaste~ _/\_

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. James John Bell
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 01:34:04

    Fair comes from the Latin feria (singular) which according to the wiktionary hails from the Proto-Indo-European *dhēs- (“god, godhead, deity”)… so that’s interesting, fair is a distant word relative to old concepts of the gods. I agree with you that what’s fair is a matter of perspective, for example a small town passes an ordinance to keep out a Wal-Mart by not playing fair and uses the old boys club of business owners and nepotism to save Main Street. They can’t win in a fair fight with a giant, nobody can, and so fairness in today’s world comes across as a form of social control, because those who don’t play fair are really the ones that survive. Don’t roll the dice of the gods unless you know the outcome is rigged in your favor.

    • Lady Gwendolynn
      Mar 16, 2013 @ 01:45:48

      I didn’t know that about the origins of “Fair” that’s really cool James. Thank you for sharing that and that example is a very good one.

      If you don’t mind I’d like to expand on it with another example using the same similar framework.

      You have a small town that wants to pass an ordinance to keep out a big business like Wal-mart, ultimately because they can see the possibility of such a conglomerate “killing” off most of the potential for small businesses to thrive in the community. Is it fair?

      One perspective is “yes” that’s fair because Wal-mart does cover an awful lot and depending on the size of the town and number of small businesses, it could potentially wreck economical and social havoc. Possibly more. Course, there would be Pros too if a Wal-mart was allowed in.

      Everything has its Pros and Cons. Also, sorry I haven’t given you a call. I wasn’t looking forward to playing “Phone Tag” as that is how it’s been for me with Mercury in Retrograde. Thank goodness it’s over on Sunday!

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