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YARNLADY's avatar

Why do people believe in "fair"? There is no such thing in nature?

Asked by YARNLADY (43905points) August 4th, 2019

What is, is. There is no such thing as fair.

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22 Answers

gondwanalon's avatar

“RULE 1… Life is not fair; get used to it.” – Bill Gates

I think it’s a liberal thing.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There’s no such thing as surgery or sewage lines in nature. Nor ice cream or cookies. Life may not be fair, but the concept of justice is indispensable to any group seeking coexistence beyond the level of hyenas.

kritiper's avatar

There is no such thing as “fair” in nature because there is no logical, conscious thought except in humans. So being “fair” is a human concept/construct the same as “time.”

Caravanfan's avatar

There’s no such thing as streetlights in nature but I believe in them.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I believe in love and dog tails.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Well people are moving away from fair very quickly it’s all me,me,me first fuck the rest, what is in it for me.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Fair is just a nice thing to be. And “nice” is a human construct, but I think it’s a good one.

snowberry's avatar

In the US, “That’s not fair!” Is one of the first things we say as children. We pass the idea on from one person to the next until it’s become part of our belief system.

According to quite a lot of research and articles, (here’s one our sense of fairness varies from culture to culture.

Lonelyheart807's avatar

The concept of fair can only come from a sense of right and wrong.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Right and wrong are also a human construct.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was in my teens I was depressed and went to therapy, and part of what bothered me was life being unfair. It’s still really difficult for me to accept, as much as I know it is true.

My father had always told me life is unfair, but at the same time, as children, we are told to be fair, and what is fair. Even the golden rule is about fairness.

If one is raised in a happy home, where parents keep you feeling safe, and you can trust them and the people you interact with, and no great tragedy comes to pass during your childhood, then overall life feels fair during those years. That’s my experience anyway. I never knew people could lie and cheat until I was dating a liar cheater. It felt very unfair to me.

America talks a lot about justice. We see it on TV, and we learn it in school. Religion talks about it too. Justice is about fairness. What punishment will be just for a crime? What reward is just for a good act?

Many sayings we grow up with have to do with fairness What goes around comes around. A fair price. A fair deal.

It’s a constant theme.

Zaku's avatar

A healthy sense of fairness can be very useful for functional relationships and societies. It fosters mutual goodwill and cooperation and peace, and reduces suffering.

If that’s not enough, and you want a more selfish version, it may help keep people from despising you for being a selfish jerk..

longgone's avatar

To me, it’s a reminder that we’re striving for justice – or, better yet, kindness and compassion within justice.

In my mind, saying “life is not fair” as a response to someone pointing out injustice is lazy. People like Rosa Parks brought about real change because they refused to be complacent.

YARNLADY's avatar

Thank you for the thoughtful (and fun) answers. It really helps put some things in perspective.

ragingloli's avatar

Nature may be cutthroat, but every major aspect and achievement of modern civilisation is about fairness.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is about fairness.
Free elections, one person – one vote, the illegality of poll taxes, are about fairness.
Equal rights of women and minorities, fairness.
Equality before the law, you being appointed a government paid attorney if you can not afford one, that is about fairness.
Anti discrimination laws, about fairness.
Worker’s rights, unionisation and collective bargaining, that is about fairness.
Police and firefighters (on paper at least) protecting everyone equally, that is about fairness.
Equal access to public education is about fairness.
Hell, your country rebelled against the Crown over allegedly unfair taxation.

There may not be “fairness in nature”, but human civilisation is the very opposite to that.

canidmajor's avatar

“Fair”, in its basic form, is a survival technique. Community is survival, and fairness, along with manners, sharing, and other social markers, strengthen the ability to get along and keep the community together.
Humans in cooperative groups survive to breed better than humans without support.

LostInParadise's avatar

Has there ever been a group of humans who do not have a sense of right and wrong? There are variations of the details of right and wrong, but there is a shared basic concept that theft and unprovoked personal injury are wrong.

I just heard on the radio about a study that was conducted comparing the intelligence of two year old toddlers to adult chimpanzees (the species genetically closest to humans) . Both groups performed equally as well except for tasks requiring the subject to understand someone else’s point of view, for example to follow what someone was gazing at. Here the humans did much better. The ability to see things from someone else’s point of view is an essential component of a sense of fairness.

elbanditoroso's avatar

fair in nature? Like the shark giving that barracuda a fair chance to get away before it is eaten?

nature doesn’t work that way.

tinyfaery's avatar

Many non-human animals exhibit behavior that can be interpreted as trying to achieve fairness. Only humans, and their ability to rationalize anything to themselves, can make arguments as to why things cannot be fair. I think it’s a conservative thing.

Zaku's avatar

@elbanditoroso Maybe not in that specific example.

However, fairness does exist in animal societies. Some members of an animal society and/or family may intervene if one member is bullying or abusing others, for example.

And that’s just an obvious example. What an animal analog to fairness might or might not be would require a very strong understanding of how each species and/or social group thinks about things.

And, since that takes a lot of empathy and attention, and there are such strong (and extremely unfair) truisms about animals not being intelligent or having no consciousness, I’m not surprised that people might jump to thinking there is no fairness outside human notions.

Patty_Melt's avatar

David Bowie in Labyrinth, in response to it’s not fair.
“You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is.”

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