Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Living in an unjust world

“Alone! I’m alone! I’m a lonely, insignificant speck on a has-been planet orbiting a cold, indifferent sun!”

Homer Simpson

It is a comforting fiction that asserts we live in a world with a kindly paternal overseer, like the ultimate alpha male looking after his chimp group. The incidence of natural injustice such as children having Parkinson's disease or a million other examples demonstrates we live in a world without any internal justice. This is why searching for an answer to "why me" questions is so fruitless; there is no entity in the world to provide any answers to these questions.

It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge that we truly are alone in this world but it is a valuable insight into the world. Of course this lays a terrible burden of responsibility on our shoulders; in an indifferent world we have to justify our own actions and define justice and injustice ourselves. For some this is too much to bear and they retreat into the fiction again.

For me, as a Parkinson's sufferer, I prefer the liberation of not trying to understand an entity that isn't there. It dissipates the rage and the self-flagellation. If there is no natural justice then I can understand my disease in any way I wish. I can build my own sense of justice and injustice; I don’t have to subscribe to the paternal overseer story and its contradiction of an all powerful creator who is powerless to stop suffering; of a just creator who is unjust; the ultimate moral good who isn’t morally good. As the German philosopher Immanuel Kant said, we assume the ultimate moral good (i.e. the paternal overseer is our assumption) but we have a choice to question the validity of the assumption; we don’t have to believe in the religious interpretation of where the moral good comes from to be a good person. We can choose to understand the relative nature of morality while still remaining morally good. We can choose the responsibility of being the justification of what is just in our world; we do this anyway when we choose a religious morality.

This choice creates space within the world for me; a chance to exercise my free will and take on the responsibility of choice, which enables me to choose to live alongside my disease.

A sense of justice is not internal to the world; we create it to heat up the cold indifference of the world.

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