Strive toward kindness

I see a natural balance to things. So much so, that I’m waiting for it to be named the fifth fundamental force of physics added to gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and the weak force. I don’t mean the purely physical type of balance that keeps us upright. I mean a more expansive view, a leveling or balancing force that plays out in individual lives and beyond.

You’ve heard of karma, right? The doctrine that our fate is determined by our past actions. Well, that’s an oversimplified definition and some people think that’s kind of a bummer because it means we have no choice in the matter. Not true, really, and feel free to spend the next two decades in deep study to grok karma if you like, but suffice it to say: Karma isn’t a thing that happens to you. It’s part of everything you do, and you always have a choice to act kindly or positively, regardless of return - just because it’s the right thing to do.

Every religion, every political system, every social order, even every relationship has an inherent balance. Nature - and you are nature; it’s not something out there - has a balance. Sometimes the rules are clearly stated. Sometimes they’re not. But you can feel it. It’s in our language, our rationales, our clichés. Sometimes the balance force is obvious. We have a sense of fairness in life and we know when it’s out of whack. We know when someone “gets away with” something and we might wait, or even hope, for them to get what’s coming, what they deserve. Thus the crude saying, “Payback is a bitch” or a milder version, “What goes around, comes around.” But that’s a reductionist view; that's the Wile E. Coyote version, the Newton’s Third Law of Motion version - for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. While it may feel satisfying, that’s much too short-term for what I’m talking about.

It’s hard to see this fundamental, homeostatic balance force in action in the short term. In the short term, we suffer. In the short term, we hurt. In the short term, we do a good thing and wait for the payback that we think we deserve, but it doesn’t always come quickly or directly, and we lose faith - because life is messy and it abounds with unfairness. There will always be bad feelings, anger, sorrow, disappointment, mistakes. But instead of passively waiting for payback to balance these aspects of life, you can actively choose to pay it forward. Do good. Do it now and let the fifth fundamental force of physics do its work in the grand scheme of things.

In your personal scheme you can always choose to do the right thing. You can always choose to do good anyway. Striving toward kindness restores balance. Don’t lose faith.