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09/21/2005 Entry: "News flash - we don't live in a just world (d'uh)"

"The need to see victims as the recipients of their just deserts can be explained by what psychologists call the Just World Hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, people have a strong desire or need to believe that the world is an orderly, predictable, and just place, where people get what they deserve. Such a belief plays an important function in our lives since in order to plan our lives or achieve our goals we need to assume that our actions will have predictable consequences. Moreover, when we encounter evidence suggesting that the world is not just, we quickly act to restore justice by helping the victim or we persuade ourselves that no injustice has occurred. We either lend assistance or we decide that the rape victim must have asked for it, the homeless person is simply lazy, the fallen star must be an adulterer. These attitudes are continually reinforced in the ubiquitous fairy tales, fables, comic books, cop shows and other morality tales of our culture, in which good is always rewarded and evil punished."

snip

"If the belief in a just world simply resulted in humans feeling more comfortable with the universe and its capriciousness, it would not be a matter of great concern for ethicists or social scientists. But Lerner's Just World Hypothesis, if correct, has significant social implications. The belief in a just world may undermine a commitment to justice."
The Just World Theory, by Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez, Issues in Ethics - V. 3, N. 2 Spring 1990 (saw the link at Respectful to Otters)

This is, in a nutshell, why the U.S. is going to hell in a handbasket. We don't live in a just world; our world is a lot of things - some good, some otherwise - but just, it is not. The people who know and understand this are the ones trying to make it at least a decent place for all of us.

Karma is only swell if you're lucky, otherwise it's just another fucked up day in an unjust world.

 

 

 

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