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Is the world fair when bad things happen?

As humans, we always want things to be fair. We see injustice in the world, and we want to fix it. Why? Because it’s not “fair.” But is that really what we want?

I play in a semi-weekly pen-and-paper gaming group where I have to roll dice often. I saw a video online about how many gaming dice are not “fair”. That is to say, they have biases to one side or the other of the die, thus they may have biases to rolling “high” or “low” Many do have biases, and they tend to roll in the middle. Of course, the person online has a fix, and he’s willing to sell you his solution. He has developed dice that have a very specific shape and cut so that they are always “fair”. Each number has the same chance of coming up as any other number. I thought that  I wanted my dice to be 100% fair in all of my rolls.

But do I really WANT that? Probably not. Read on, my friend. Read on.

Last night, while strolling through a haunted area, my character rolled four times in a row, none over a two. If you’re not big into table-top gaming where you use a twenty-sided die, here’s a hint: two is bad, and one is very, very bad. To the salesman’s credit, his dice are fair. They don’t have a bias, but that means while other people tend to roll a specific number more often (i.e, 10, 12),  I roll all over the place. Which means that while the other guys roll mediocre almost all the time with a high or low spike once in a while, these special dice roll whatever they want, whenever they want.

Such as yesterday.

In the end, what I really wanted was to roll mediocre all the time, just like the other guys. I bought these special dice so that I could experience the high rolls more often. But being fair meant that I have to experience the bad more often, too.

When we say we want the world to be fair, what we are really wanting is to NOT experience bad. And when we say that want the world around us to be fair, but what we are really saying is that we don’t want others to experience “bad things” either.

But that’s not how the world works. That’s not God’s plan. There are times when we have to go through the bad to get to where we need to be. If we extrapolate that out to others around us or even to the world at large, we come to understand that sometimes the world isn’t “fair” is more accurately described that the world is much more “fair” than we realize. Sometimes people do bad things. And those bad things have bad consequences. Sometimes good people stumble into those bad circumstances because they are caught in the crossfire. Not because they deserve it but because bad people doing bad things effects the people around them very badly.

When I write, I have to remember that my characters have to experience bad. Not because I’m a masochistic, evil tyrant (well, not solely because I’m a masochistic, evil tyrant), but because life isn’t always good. It may or may not be fair, but it is not always good. If I want my characters to reflect reality, my characters must experience some things that don’t always roll in their direction.

When you read a story, and the characters never encounter bad things, how does that lend itself to the story? When you encounter bad things in your life, do you assume that life is unfair? Or that it is fair, in response to badness that you’ve done, or things that may have happened around you?

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