Friday, September 04, 2009


"The idea of justice is based upon good and bad. Where there is justice, there is injustice. That means: there are two. Truth is only one. The idea of justice and injustice is from man's conception. When a person rises above justice and injustice, which is subject to change in his every evolution - when he gets above this - he will reach the knowledge of truth. Our conception of fairness and unfairness belongs to our particular evolution. The less intelligent a man is, the more he sees fairness and unfairness, and the more he thinks about it. A stupid person is always ready to judge. In heaven there is only truth and truth is one; where there is no comparison, there is no fairness and no unfairness. Something is greater than fairness and unfairness, and that is truth. It cannot be explained. Truth cannot be acquired. Truth is that which is discovered." Hazrat Inayat Khan

I was having a conversation with a fellow the other day and we happened to touch upon fairness. This man has a deep sense of righteous indignation about any perceived unfairness toward any person or persons and gets very upset when he sees such things happening. I like that attitude and think that it is very important that there are people who feel this way and are willing to do something about the unfairness that they see, which he is. The problem as I saw it was not that he did not have a valid and useful point of view. No, that is okay. The problem was that it became very obvious to me that the above statement by Pir O Murshid was and would remain totally alien to him.

It does not happen often but occasionally I do disagree with Pir O Murshid. In this case I do not believe that a person is more prone to seeing fairness and unfairness because of lack of intelligence. In this I believe he was mistaken. It is not about intelligence at all, it is about awareness. The person that I mentioned above is very intelligent. But, like most Americans, he has little exposure to the broader form of consciousness that we call spirituality. In fact it is becoming more and more apparent that, as the world becomes ever more complex, the tendency to view conditions as unfair is also becoming more and more apparent.

Perhaps we want to believe our own ideals, or maybe we want to think that the world actually has a kind of balanced attitude toward all life. The reality is quite different, as any sociology student should know; people will always tend to view others as either victims (read prey) or as superiors who control you. Of course we also feel kinship with those who are close to us, friends and relatives, but even then we can feel these inner forces at work. And we convince ourselves, over and over, that it isn't fair.

It isn't fair that so many people do not have health care. It isn't fair that old men create wars that young men then must fight. It isn't fair that people must struggle with abusive partners. And on and on. We have a long list. But what if there were another way to look at it?

While it is true what Pir O Murshid says above that Truth must be discovered, it cannot be acquired, still there are ways to look at what we think of as fairness and unfairness and perhaps see them as two parts of the same thing. It is a matter of standing back and seeing the play on Earth exactly as Shakespeare described. The wise have always known that all is not as it appears but it is up to each of us to find our way into this very subtle means of thought and understanding.

I will await your comments and then write a follow up blog perhaps going a bit deeper into this issue.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir


Maggie said...

Good afternoon, Musawwir! I have read your blog several times, attempting to put into few words what my thoughts are.

I have to agree with you that it is not a lack of intelligence but a lack of awareness that leads people to struggle with fair/unfair, right/wrong, etc.

For most of my life, I have been considered by family and friends to be the "odd woman out." I can see both sides of an issue, a little too well from what I have been told. This makes me appear "wishy-washy", not having a real opinion on lots of things. I may have an opinion on something, but I can understand another persons point of view. I gave up the idea of fair/unfair a long time ago. I remember telling one of my children, who thought something wasn't fair, "What makes you think life should be fair; who told you that.."

I try to find something positive in the most painful and horrendous of situations. I had not realized until lately how odd that makes me appear. I find myself following my Guide's words, paraphrasing be patient and to overlook much in my friends and family. And always to love.

Love and Blessings,


Anonymous said...

Dear Musawwir,

Yet another thought provoking blog entry. Thank you!

Upon first reading I had to agree with your disagreement of Pir O Murshid. But then I started to think about Murshid’s word choice and perhaps “intelligent” was just not the best word. Maybe wise, worldly, or experienced would be more accurate. I’ll try to explain.

It occurred to me that just maybe Murshid was equating intelligence with breadth of view or depth of understanding assuming that they went hand in hand. The idea that the less intelligent we are the more we see things in black in white, not recognizing the subtleties which cloud the issue making the distinction of fair and unfair not quite so clear. Continuing this assumption, the more intelligent we are, the more worldly, experienced, knowledgeable we are the more shades we may see in any one situation of right or wrong for example.

I have certainly come to recognize that exposing myself to other views, thoughts, opinions, cultures has helped me to see that the idea of right and wrong, fairness and unfairness are not so clear. And maybe this is an assumption Pir O Murshid makes as well.

An example. When I first started working in Russia I judged everything by my very tightly defined American standards of right and wrong which I think most of us would admit are rather high. I observed things that happened every day here (in Russia) and thought “How terrible. That’s not fair! They shouldn’t do that.” But who was I to judge and by what standards? In the culture that I grew up in ‘No, it wasn’t fair.’ In this culture it was a matter of survival. That’s what you did to get by. It wasn’t wrong or unfair or unjust. It just was. This is when I started to understand that the lines of justice are not as squeaky clean as I thought and by extrapolation the lines of good and evil, right and wrong, and other so called absolutes are not so clear cut as well. One must step back and see life from a much broader perspective.

My point is…in all aspects of life there are degrees, levels, views, opinions, perspectives in which there are no absolutes and we can never totally agree. Take for example Scotland’s recent decision to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. For some it was clear. He was convicted and should serve his life sentence no matter what the extenuating circumstances. At the same time others considered different aspects of this question and as a result he was released. As individuals we “see” each aspect from our own view either narrowly allowing us to emphatically declare that something is fair or unfair, or more broadly so that we can say with less certainty that ‘Yes, I see the unfairness but what about….’ Perhaps the latter is along the path to enlightenment, along which we seek to discover the Truth.