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Life isn’t fair.”

How old were you when you heard that phrase, for the first time? How much did you believe it, then? Do you believe it now?

“Life isn’t fair.” Who told you that? Was it the teacher who couldn’t stop that group of kids from beating you up and tearing you down? Your parents, trying to get out of a promise? Trying to justify their failure to mete out justice? Maybe you were wrong and the situation WAS fair, just not unfair in your favor, or you were demanding something impossible, and whomever was supposed to console you, or explain, or make themselves seem like a reasonable authority, said, instead, “life isn’t fair.”

Whose life? Yours? His? Hers? Those scowling people over there? The life of the ants? Fish? Whose life? And who’s it unfair in favor of, then?

Life isn’t fair. What do you mean? What do you feel when you say it? When you’re the one trying to explain injustice to a child who has no perspective of age to ease the pain, and all you can come up with is “life isn’t fair,” which is like novocaine when you need morphine. You might as well tell the poor kid to suck it up and stop crying, for all the good that does.

“Life isn’t fair.” What do you mean? Are you saying it should be unfair? Are you trying to justify your own tyranny? Your own hypocrisy? Do you not want to open that can of worms? Do you live each day knowing that a call for justice would mean you had to sacrifice something you didn’t deserve but couldn’t live without?

Life isn’t fair. That’s not a comfort, that’s a lament! That’s the daily struggle of billions of people who know their lives are unfair and when they try to do something about it they get struck down, and they have to look at their children and know that however happy they are now, someday they’ll realize just how bad things are, and those smiles will be gone, maybe never to return, assuming they even live long enough to grow old enough to be broken by the world!

Life isn’t fair. Whose life? Who are you speaking for? What are you trying to say?

Why are there tears in your eyes?


A popular tautological observation often used to briefly distract us from the sad state of reality by reminding us how much more unpleasant the world would be if things were not what they are, leading to such terrifying consequences as square circles, married bachelors, and depressing happiness. Other popular tautologies include the following:

Kids will be kids.

Not entirely correct, since kids are kids right now and they will stop being kids once they reach the age of majority. Still, adults can rest assured knowing that kids, never having been adults, are much worse at being adults than adults (who according to rumor were kids once) are at being kids, which means that they don't run the danger of becoming obsolete any time soon, especially due to the built-in feature that turns kids into adults without fail.

Just be yourself.

A rare breed of command that is impossible to disobey, much like "listen to what I'm saying to you" and "look what you've done". Being anybody else but yourself is somewhat tricky since you'd be them, but they'd be you, meaning that by the transitive property, you'd be you. This is fortunate, however, because, given that most people aren't very good at being themselves, one can only imagine how badly they would do at being someone else, if only out of spite to make themselves look better.

Everyone has their right to their opinion.

A corollary of this is that people don't have the right to other people's opinions, which is good, because most people could not resist the temptation to fine-tune everyone else's opinions to their own. An entire planet of people sharing your nuanced opinions on consumerism, the role of the state in human affairs, and the writings of James Joyce would mean a lifetime of preaching to the choir, and everyone secretly enjoys disagreeing with others, even if some people would disagree with that last statement.

Rules are rules.

An interesting self-referential tautology, as it is arguably a rule itself. One can only wonder how unpleasant the world would be if common sense rules such as "be nice", "respect others", and "don't do to others what you don't want done to you" weren't hard-and-fast rules that everyone knows to obey for the common good, but mere suggestions that could be modified, ignored, or circumvented as potential personal gain dictates.

It will be finished when it's finished.

This observation rests on the well-accepted rule of reality that the same event cannot happen at different times, unless that event involves a mistaken decision.

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