So, I'm reading Night Pleasures in Sherilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. And I'm sure I'm going to have as much fun mocking these titles as I do with other series'--I'm thinking of submitting my own suggestions for silly, salacious titles to the Ministry of Silly Names--I'm sure it must exist. But beyond the title, this is the first real entry into the Dark Hunter series, and I'm enjoying the way the world building is shaping up and I'm beginning to see a number of intriguing characters whose lives I will look forward to exploring as the series continues. And because this is a mature series and I'm just joining the party, more fun for me. Yay. As you might expect by now, I haven't gotten to the topic of this post, which is all about the concept of fairness and how it relates to reality. In the Dark Hunter world of Night Pleasures, Kyrion, a two-thousand year old vampire (who is one of the good guys, of course) and Amanda, a twenty-something, quasi-normal accountant, trudge the complicated road to their HEA, overcoming obstacles of circumstance and internal resistance. They really don't have much in common, after all, what with the 2000-year age difference and the whole vampire-versus-human issue between them. But one area of significant divergence is their respective perspectives on the concept of fairness. What is it? Does it exist? Can you count on it? And what happens when one's expectations of a basically level playing field disintegrate under the onslaught of repeated encounters with a less-than-benign reality?
These are questions worthy of contemplation, I think. And they are certainly issues that have occupied my personal brain space in the past as they do now, having been inspired to think about all of this as a result of Ms. Kenyon's well-developed world and characters.
Basically, life isn't fair. But so many of us seem to think it is or it should be. Where does this magical thinking come from and how can we dispel these destructive delusions so that we don't get smacked upside the head with the cold slap of reality?
I believe the basic difference, as evidenced by Kyrion and Amanda, actually, is one of age and maturity. Kyrion has been around the block quite a few times at this point, and Amanda is a relative infant in comparison. So it stands to reason that Amanda, with her dearth of life experience, still believes the myth that life is fair, while Kyrion, in contrast, has learned, the hard way, that life and fairness aren't even in the same ball park, much less the same field, level or otherwise.
The fairness of life is a concept for children. And really, only those children who are lucky enough to have an advantaged upbringing, including a stable, peaceful home life, sufficient food, medical care, education and time and space for the kinds of play kids are supposed to be able to enjoy. Which describes a pitifully small portion of the total population of kids in the world, unfortunately.
If life were fair, all kids would experience happy upbringings. And adults would also live in a world free from hunger and violence and prejudice and fear. But that isn't the world we live in, is it? Or at least the majority of humans do not.
The concept of fairness is actually insidiously undermining, in my opinion. It seduces us into believing we "deserve" the good things in life, and, probably, we do. But so does everyone else, pretty much. I work hard. And so does the custodian at my kids' school. But I'm betting that I get to go home to a better life at the end of my work day than he does. Is that fair?
Is it fair that I was born white, economically advantaged, intellectually gifted (not a boast, read my bio-I'm not taking credit for my gifts, they just are), relatively attractive (which counts in our society, fair or not), and relatively healthy (as compared, say, to my 33-year old friend who has cancer)? Doesn't seem fair to me. I didn't do anything to deserve these circumstances and attributes. I got dealt a good hand (a subject I've written about previously in my blog, Why Me?) And I've played the cards fairly well, for sure, and I get to take credit for that, but the initial starting point had nothing to do with fairness.
So, I'm on team Kyrion when it comes to my perspective on fairness. I think Amanda needs to grow up and realize that life isn't fair. It just is. And what we do with what is is what makes us who we are. And that is all the fairness we get in this life. And that applies to all of us. So maybe the field is level after all. Or maybe we are all stumbling around on highly uneven ground. What do you think?