Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, while others apparently land with their bum in the butter. But neither promises a good life if you don’t know what to do with good fortune. On the other hand, some say that good things happen to those who wait, but I know that those who wait usually get left behind. Striking a balance is only easy if we know what balance we’re pursuing.
Fate, as some would like to believe, deals us a hand that we cannot change. Those that have a healthier view of fate are usually not as ill-fated as those who surrender to the outcomes of the choices of others. And so it is with the silver spoon brigade and all the rest that have access to privileges that they did not earn, but inherited instead.
But what does that mean for those that didn’t inherit such privilege? In fact, is such an inheritance a privilege or a burden? I guess it all depends on how well we know ourselves. And that’s part of the problem of a bountiful inheritance. It provides us with enough to avoid having to look deeper. It raises expectations of entitlement while distracting us from the reality of the privilege that we assume to be rights. We forget, inheritance or not, that rights cannot be bought, only privileges can.
But that’s a side issue. The real issue goes beyond privilege and inheritance. The real issue cuts much closer to the bone. There’s a popular Afrikaans saying that (roughly translated) means that some people are made and then just left that way. And that is how many people live their lives. It’s so easy to blame our upbringing and our genes for how we turned out in life that you’d swear our power of rational thought and limited free will doesn’t exist.
When I see someone behaving offensively and others excusing it by saying that that is just their way, I see the hypocrisy oozing out of their pores as they excuse behaviour in some that they would never tolerate in others. Worse still, I see the hypocrisy of crying foul at a degrading social standard that robs us all of our dignity, while we complacently condone the rot in our own circles that directly feeds that degraded state that we hate.
You’d swear that everyone needs to be hit on the head by a falling apple before they understand the simple logic of cause and effect. If I bribe a cop, I shouldn’t complain when the president steals the wealth of the country for self-enrichment. Similarly, if I overlook the transgressions of those around me, or even my own, and I justify it with flimsy excuses, I should wait patiently for the wheel to turn, because it always does. However, we forget that the same wheel travels through the muck and mire of society and gathers excess as it does, so that by the time it revisits our little corners of delusion, it has a payload equal to the effect of our actions, not the effort of it. In other words, to state it plainly, shit rolls downhill with a snowball effect.
Justice and harmony is not established in society by an eye for an eye, because the eye of a surgeon is significantly more valuable than that of a labourer. The eye of a surgeon for the hand of a labourer is closer to any concept of justice we may contemplate. And all of this comes back to one simple point. When we go through life feeling entitled because we serve our base desires before we consider the impact of our actions, we shouldn’t complain about the hollow feeling that visits us in those quiet moments when it’s just us, our conscience, and a failing body to keep us company.
We reap what we sow. Simple logic. But not so simple that we get what we give. We don’t. Because this world, as ruled by man, only provides respite and a hint of harmony. Justice is not possible because most don’t appreciate the true gravity of it. Genetic inheritance is what shapes our character in our childhood, but living consciously is what shapes our being when we’re adults. Unfortunately, too many only outgrow their growing pains, but rarely outgrow their childish brains.