Your best friend is having a headache, nausea and he can’t even get out of bed. As a good friend and a decent human being, you would feel sorry for him. However, what if these symptoms were caused by a Hangover?
Most people would not feel the same level of sympathy for this poor bastard. Our friend would most likely be met with less empathy or even some bad jokes.
Why is this so?
I think this happens because a sickness normally tends to be something outside the sick person’s control. However, a hangover is auto inflicted. In our minds, the sickness is not our fault but a hangover is.
We tend to have less empathy for the suffering of others if they are responsible for that suffering. If someone goes to jail because he committed a crime most people would think it’s fair but once you learn that he was wrongly convicted you will feel completely different.
What if you believe that people are poor because they are less capable? In this scenario, they “deserve” to be poor. This point of view will make you less sympathetic to their condition. This lack of sympathy can result in a lack of action on your part to help those in need.
Fake Meritocracy is when we believe that everybody is where they are in life uniquely on their own merits. If you believe this you will think about the poor the same way you think about someone who has a Hangover: That the poverty condition is self-inflicted.
The world is complex and messy.
No one is successful on their own.
No one fails on their own.
We owe to others everything and anything at the same time.
Where you end up in life is defined by the strange marriage of Merit and Chance.
However, Chance is an awful partner and I hope they will divorce someday.