What you get is where you start times what you deserve
People don’t always get what they deserve. It would be much more efficient. It’s not how it works though.
Some people are assholes and they do great. Some people are nice and they get served crap by life. Most of the time, society finds a way to reward nice people and punish assholes. The assholes who get away are secretly hated and admired by the majority of us. They do live under the risk of getting caught and punished. On the other end of the spectrum, nice people who get screwed evoke the ultimate pity.
Thinking of people as good versus bad doesn’t seem to make much sense. It appears random. Rules are hard to extract.
What makes more sense is thinking of people as smart versus stupid. Smart as in talented, reasonable, or hard-working. Stupid as in ignorant plus confident, or lazy, or inexperienced. Some patterns emerge. It starts to make more sense. Amy was dumb enough to drive drunk, so she’s dead now. Bob was smart enough to not start smoking at the age of 9, and now he lives cancer free.
Whether someone is good or bad doesn’t seem to contribute much to the formula. It’s like a personal, optional choice for everyone. It’s not even final, you can always switch if it suits you. We can choose to ignore the goodness factor.
Still, bad things happen to smart people as well. All the time. Also, dummies get lucky too. How to explain that?
Looking at the starting point in life seems logical. An extremely talented girl gets killed by radical extremists in Indonesia. That same girl would have been a successful business owner, had she been born and raised in California. A kid lives his life in a wheelchair. His crack using mother dropped him on his head when he was 2. He is paralysed ever since. Had he had a regular, loving, hot meal cooking mom, he would have played in the NFL.
I made up the examples, but similar things do happen. Every day. Ability plays no role when things are outside of a person’s control. For things within the radius of influence, the person’s ability is everything.
So, what do you get? Did you deserve to get fired? If you hit on your manager’s wife at the New Year’s party, then yes. That was within your range of control, and you made a stupid choice. Did you deserve to have a terrible president? Maybe not you personally, but your society as a whole did. More than half of you are stupid, so you are condemned to poor leadership. Did you deserve to get killed in Syria? No, you wanted to live a happy, productive life, but war happened upon your country. You even tried to leave to another, safer country, but you got caught in the crossfire. It was not your fault.
Take karma, religion, astrology out of the equation. Trim the bullshit. Some things are out of your control. They might be, but you don’t have the perfect information. You have to work with what you have. You can’t affect outcomes of those things no matter what you try. The smartest action then is to not worry about it. Within the range of things that depend of you, you are the master of your fate. If you know better, do better. Is it that hard?