The question of fairness is based on the assumption that good is rewarded and bad is punished, by God or the universe or whatever. (Or at least that it should be) We would like for fairness to be operative because it would give us a sense of justice: retribution for the 'wrongs' done to us by others and the promise of reaping the reward for our personal sacrifices.
However, the universe doesn't unfold that way. It aligns much more with one's expectations on a deep feeling level. The belief in unworthiness will necessarily involve a 'virtuous' humility, but it is not the virtue but rather the belief that will be a good predictor of future personal events. Conversely, criminals sometimes (not always, of course) come from a place of idealism, or at least a righteous sort of justification, and while most would see their actions as bad, the criminal may not be suffering any guilt at all. These personal responses to our own actions and state of mind are more operative than an arbitrary moral code of justice or fairness.
Morality is arbitrary rather than absolute, as can be seen in the variations of moral code throughout time and across cultures. The particulars of the code are derived from the mindset of the individuals, which are in turn strongly influenced by their own cultural history. What may be morally wrong in one culture and time, may be a moral imperative in another.
Another way in which we imagine life to be rewarding and punishing behavior is in the idea of karma. The idea is not to be dismissed entirely as it does refer to a creative function of the mind, but it is not a punishment from God or even a balancing of cause and effect. Mind is always seeking something better in it's search for authentic happiness, and what prevents something better from showing up in one's experience are imaginary boundaries of belief. As such, the exploration of what is required for improvement is naturally an exploration of those illusory boundaries.
The focus on an imaginary boundary is an expression of the creative potential of mind. For example, if one focuses on what it takes to have a happier life, perhaps the conclusion is that one is not being appreciated enough, which will result in resentment. As this resentment boundary is explored and played out, there will be negative consequences in the experience, and it's this which is referred to as karma.
Karma is self created, and so whether or not one has bad experiences is determined by one's own focus of attention and personal assessment and may or may not have any relationship to whatever is considered good or bad behavior. An objectively 'good' person may nevertheless feel guilty, and will experience the consequences of that guilt as it is explored. The objectively 'bad' person may feel entirely justified in his behavior and not see it as a limitation at all and not experience any struggle or negative consequences associated with it.
My philosophy of life is that the universe is creative rather than fair, as fairness is an illusion based on personal fears and judgments that the creative principle does not recognize. Fairness and justice are control mechanisms that operate entirely within the structure of a society, and as such serve a purpose, but we only confuse ourselves when we imagine that the creative principle of the universe should respect our social structures.
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