Sunday, March 14, 2010

Economics @ Home © Volume 2 Issue 6

Where We Belong

The title seems to suggest that every person has a predetermined place in this world. It is as if everything has been determined by fate. No, we will never talk about fate. At least not within the foreseeable future. What I would like to suggest is that, whatever path that we choose to take in life, we will eventually get to where we belong. Well, that doesn't really explain much, does it? What I intend to say is that whatever we do in life, we will get whatever we deserve eventually.

Now, what does that even mean? It is sort of like karma, except I believe karma is a long term concept (really long term, as in, the Keynesian concept of long term). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Keynesian concept of long term, basically, what Keynes said was, "In the long run, we are all dead". Karma is a system that goes beyond our current lifetime. What I would like to discuss today deals with just our current lifetime, obviously because I have no prior experience with the after life, and most definitely no recollection of the before life.

I also realize that there is really no point in typing a long article, unless I have a really interesting story to share. So, in this case, I will strive to just make my point as clear and concise as possible and leave you to think about the rest. We hear about things like, "Do unto others as you would others do unto you" and all kinds of mumbo jumbo that have a similar tone. I personally believe that life isn't fair. There is no equal reaction to every action. In fact, Newton's  Third Law states that to every action, there is an equal AND OPPOSITE reaction. Sounds like a good deed will be repaid with a bad one if you ask me. So clearly Newton's Law does not apply in the metaphysical.

Nonetheless, what I propose is a system not unlike karma. We accumulate deeds, good or bad, throughout our lifetime, and at the summit of our lives, we are given everything that we truly deserve in that lifetime. Let us consider a few examples. Be warned that these examples can appear radical, and maybe cynical, but hopefully engaging.

First, let us consider a typical middle class white collar worker. He works hard as a child, a teen, and continues to work hard throughout his career and provides sufficiently for his family. He owns a middle class home, loves his wife, and has three beautiful children. Nothing spectacular. His lives a happy life, or at least it appears to be. What I am trying to point out is, he worked hard his whole life, did everything a good man is supposed to do, without venturing into anything extraordinary, and is thus rewarded with a perfectly contented family that cares for him as much as he cares for them. But along the way, I am certain that he would have faced many trials and tribulations just simply because life isn't easy like that. But at the end of the day, as he retires and contemplates his life, he realizes that he may not have accomplished much with regards to saving the world, but his life was meaningful, because he will always be remembered by the people who love him the most. He got exactly what he deserved. He gave his all for the people he loved the most, and in return, he got everything that they could give for him.

Let us now jump to the opposite end of the spectrum. What about a poverty stricken child in Africa? He was born with HIV, raised eating whatever root his mother could harvest that morning, and when he is lucky, he would get to eat some of the leftovers of the aid that whatever rich country provided for the Africans. He most probably did not deserve to be born in such conditions. One could even claim that he is lucky that his life will be a short one. That child would die 3 months after his tenth birthday. From the get-go, he was never given the opportunity to achieve much. For however short the moments that he was living, he was probably more of a burden than anything to his mother. Yet, his mother kept him alive for as long as she could. He would never have done much in his life, but for the 10 years that he was in this world, he returned the gift of his life by providing the kind of happiness that only a mother can understand after giving birth to a child. He deserved a short life, for, if he were to live much longer, only goodness knows how much longer he would have to suffer. Nonetheless, with that said, I sincerely hope that one day, there would be no poverty left in this world. I only wish that some day, children in Africa can live well up to their eighties having contributed meaningfully in making this world a better place.

As for us, we are but a quarter of the way through our lives (probably). What lies ahead for us? Our paths were not determined the day we were born. At least I hope not. Every single day we wake up is a day for us to garner every ounce of what we hope to deserve at the pinnacle of our existence. We can choose to dwell on the vicissitudes of life (Wow, I just wet my pants for using a word like vicissitudes in a sentence), and get stuck with trying to outdo one another in our lives. We can choose to complain and bitch about how life is so unfair to us, and how we deserve so much more. Some people just give up and stop trying. Some people go to the extent of exacting vengeance to those who have offended them. Not in the way that they do it in "Die Hard" movies, but in the subtle way that we are all capable of in the evil part of our minds. But eventually, be warned that this will all catch up to us.

I am not God, or anything close to that. But I have faith, that life balances itself. It may seem that around every corner, life is just waiting to pounce on our fragile existence, testing us with its vicious storms, consuming us with its appetite for disasters. But as we overcome these challenges, or move on from our failures, and sticking it out until we get to the top, I certainly hope that at the end of the dark tunnel, we will all get to the place where we truly belong. In the mean time, think about what you hope to deserve, and perhaps find that path that will lead you towards that place where you belong.

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