We frequently use the phrase "what goes around, comes around" to imply that people will ultimately bear the consequences of their good or bad deeds.
While this premise may occasionally be accurate, it's also a dangerously oversimplified perspective.
The phrase suggests a sense of karma or cosmic justice when a person commits an undeserving act. In reality, bad people experience good things, and good people experience bad things for no apparent reason or justification. The world is unpredictable and complex, and many factors impact the outcomes of our actions.
Rachel is a budding entrepreneur and founder of a promising tech startup. Despite her hard work and ethical business practices, the business failed. Does she deserve such failure? Conversely, we all know of a shady executive or businessperson whose luck never seems to run out and continously manages to escape the consequences of their actions.
The phrase also suggests a sense of moral superiority, perhaps even complacency. We might feel less inclined to act to prevent harm or correct injustices if we believe that awful things will always happen to those who commit evil deeds.
Steve is a brilliant employee who's been passed over for promotion in favour of a less competent, but more politically astute individual. Who are we to say Steve got what he deserved? Isn't that treading into the realms of moral superiority or judgmentalism? This is toxic and can really mess with our interpersonal relationships if we think that's the case.
But the most dangerous of all is to allow phrases like this to rationalize bad behavior. It implies that the individual mistreated or hurt by another person somehow deserved it or brought the mistreatment upon themself. This type of victim-blaming is destructive.
So while the adage "what goes around comes around" sometimes rings true, let's not forget that in a random, unpredictable world, it's oversimplified and may result in negative repercussions.
It is more advantageous to focus on accepting responsibility for our acts, acknowledging the unpredictability of outcomes, and being able to move on quickly.
Drop the cosmic justice crap!
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