Thursday, 13 September 2012

The world needs a tall, frosty glass of justice

According to Wikipedia, the Just-World hypothesis is the tendency for people to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just. Unfortunately, this belief has the nasty tendency to suggest victims are to blame for their own misfortune.
In this perspective, it’s easy to say things like: “well, if only he worked harder,” or “well, if only she didn’t wear that miniskirt.”

As an atheist, it’s difficult for me to make those types of assertions, because I recognize that the universe itself is indifferent to humans; our suffering, or our pleasure. Now, I’m using the terms quite loosely, but I really do believe that there’s no overarching “meaning” to life, connecting the dots, or ensuring that “it all works out in the end.”

People are in the situations they’re in, not of their own accord, but because of their past experiences; because they have nowhere else to go; because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time; and so on.

The only way to change this is to focus as much energy as possible not on punishing the perpetrators, nor on blaming the victims, but on trying to prevent these circumstances in the first place. To protect children from abusive parents. To keep them out of poverty. To teach them right from wrong. And to get them the help they need before it’s too late. 

In short, to do something about the problem.

But don’t just assume that the world is just, that things will right themselves, or that victims only have themselves to blame. Because the universe doesn’t look out for us. The only ones looking out for us are one another.

No comments:

Post a Comment