Equality of Opportunity, Part Two: Unfair Advantages

There is balance in the cosmos and in the soul. We humans call this cosmic balance “justice.” People who, through family prominence, good looks, good luck, or an attractively extraverted temperament, gain advantages and opportunities throughout their younger years, will likely pay for it later. For they do not learn how to fail, how to overcome great disappointment, how to fend for themselves when no one provides, how to accept life’s vicissitudes with grace and equanimity, and most of all, how to be alone in the most fundamental sense. How to stand alone, to lie alone, to search alone, to fight alone, and to die alone. In this sense, for all the supposed unfairness of their easy path to “success,” such people are most ill-equipped by experience to living in their maturity essentially as humans.

If you see such a person in your midst, resist the twin inclinations to envy and admiration. For there is nothing to envy in one who has not yet learned how to withstand rejection, nor anything to admire in one who has not yet learned how to feel truly helpless. Such a one has merely received his share of life’s graces on the front end, and is surely due to suffer weightily in the years when some measure of wisdom and self-understanding become the most necessary goods. For such goods may only be reached through dark and gnarled trails.

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