If this world operated on poetic justice or Karma or whatever you choose to call the principle, we’d have instant appropriate payback for our sins. What a way to train mankind to behave! For example, if a bully stole another kid’s candy, it would immediately give him a world-class stomachache, one the offended child could enjoy seeing. He might not have his candy, but he’d have the satisfaction of revenge. If a student were copying someone else’s paper, the teacher would pull her Taser from her desk drawer and give him some instant feed back. If you shoved someone out of line and broke in front of him, you’d break a leg and fall on the floor right there at the scene of the crime. If you drove off without paying for your gas, the pump itself would run screaming after you. Hmmm. I seem to be a bit carried away here, but you get the idea.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. Way back in the sixteenth century, Mr. William Shakespeare said, “A man can smile and smile and be a villain.” How very true. Consider, if you will, the used-car salesman. He’s suave, debonair, and always smiling with more teeth than Jimmy Carter. Listen as he tells you that he’s your best buddy and he’s going to sell you a car for less than he paid for it. And if that example doesn’t suffice, then consider the politicians. I don’t need to explain that one.
Four centuries after Shakespeare wrote on human nature, someone wrote a book about why bad things happen to good people. It’s a mystery to us. We want a just and instant God to swoop down and get our enemies—not us, mind you. No, emphatically—NOT US! When that young whippersnapper with strong healthy legs darts into the mall parking place I had my eye on, I want her to suffer immediately. When a person takes credit for my work, I want revenge and I want it right now.
And speaking of how the world operates, here are some other questions I sometimes ponder over:
1. Aren’t we wasting education on the young? After all, when teachers must try to force students to learn, there’s a serious problem somewhere. Take it from me; it doesn’t work very well—this forcing kids to learn. It’s the older people who always say, “I wish I’d studied harder in school. If I could just go back, I’d do better.” Teenagers as a rule don’t apply themselves very well. Perhaps we should put them in the work force until they develop some sense. Then we could bring them in for some education later in life.
2. Why is it that by the time people gain a bit of wisdom, they must move along? So much of the world’s knowledge sits inside those gray heads that the younger generation can’t wait to pack off to the nursing homes. Perhaps these people are just going on to the next realm where they are better appreciated and where they can develop further. Who knows?
3. Why don’t we allow only intelligent people to have children? I realize of course that everyone thinks he is smart. Who would decide?
4. Why can’t we slap people around a bit when they need it and get them back on the right path? If criminals truly suffered for their actions, wouldn’t they stop and go in a different direction? Maybe an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is not such a bad idea after all.
5. Why don’t people learn from their parents’ mistakes? We’d really be close to perfect by now if every generation learned from the mistakes of the former one. Fat chance!
6. Shouldn’t life reward us for good deeds and punish us for bad ones? I mean now, not in the afterlife.
All this thinking is giving me a headache. Besides, I only have questions, not answers. I think I’ll go read a book and leave this pondering for some rainy day, but if I stumble upon some answers, I’ll be certain to let you know.