Podcast – Episode 0187 – Just World Theory

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 In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about Just World Theory.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Marta

    This was a thought-provoking episode. I do belive in cause and effect, just not in a simple one. It is more like an equation with lots of variables (and some are out of our comprehension).
    I see two ways of growing in the world. One is mentioned in the podcast: influencing the ones that we identify as being able to influence. The other one (or the first actually) is to get more proficient in seeing patterns and identifying the cause and effect relations. I see sometimes there are elements in the equation that we CAN influence. We just do not see they are actually a part of the equation that is in our circle of interest, and therefore we do not take action.

  • Rob

    I thought it was interesting that Joel seemed to cite religion as a place where just world theory is rampant. But this was right after observing that small children have an almost natural sense of just world theory built in. It seems more likely to me that no matter what our religious beliefs, thinking in simple cause and effect is just part of us, and we need to be aware of that. Trusting cause and effect often serves us well in many areas of our lives, so it’s easy to just apply it everywhere.

    I think a compounding problem is that we tend to assume other people are just like us. We assume they think like us and have the same life experience as us. For example, “If I don’t show up at work, I will get fired” is a very good cause and effect statement to follow. And for me right now, that is the surest way I can lose my job. So if I meet an unemployed person, it is tempting to assume they had a job similar to mine, and then something happened. How did they lose it? Well they must have skipped out, or stolen from the company, because how else would they wind up without a job? Understanding how people are different goes a long way to helping us to practice mercy and not leaping to judgement.

    Thanks for digging deep into topics like this. I just found the podcast and am looking forward to hearing more.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Rob! You are totally right. We are all part of a system that is uniquely ours and influences us in different ways. Btw, welcome to the community! 🙂

  • Carl

    Interesting. I think it was a good response to a very shallow and unsophisticated just world theory (as described in the podcast). I do no think cause and effect necessarily implies one cause to evey effect though. Also there are multiple effects on different planes. Maybe on one plane there is one cause for an effect and on another there is not. For instance the fall ccould be a spiritual cuase for all evil yet there are other cuases on other levels. Another example would be that a natural explanation does not preclude a spernatural explanation. The supernatural is on a whole differnt plane. Aristotle had different types of causes. I think there are good and bad people. Hitler was surely a major cause of the holocaust (not the only one BTW) and thus very evil. It is definitely true that good people do not necessarily recieve good in this world. It is usually the reverse but not necessarily that either. I think the Christian tradition has dealt with these types of issues rather well in theory. In practice some have used the just world theory of your podcast and created a theory to justify it. Hitler of course used Neistzche as his philosophical justification. He was not a Christian by a long shot. But people have used Christianity for racism and sexism and a lot of other evil.

  • Eric

    Very interesting topic. some observations:

    Assigning blame makes us feel we can demand restitution from others, or the world itself. Even blaming oneself, like “what did I do wrong?” is a claim that one is being unfairly “punished“, and thus is “due” some form of “compensation”.

    This and the “give and take” demand it implies may be the “knowledge of good and evil“ (i.e.“the Fall”) the Bible speaks of, and religion has held onto it even though that was supposed to be resolved by Christ.

    If we can change things, this often becomes the basis for assigning good/bad to people (“responsible/irresponsible”, I earned, the poor didn’t earn, but could have, etc).

    Long term equilibrium is interesting, but of no use to someone (with a limited lifetime) suffering something now (I imagine, like The Roman, Nazi, or Communist empires eventually falling; but this doesn’t help all who suffered under them, and died before they fell).

    The question to ask when frustrated by situations, I see, is why our wants, expectations and comfort are often so out of line with the “systems”.

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