Just world fallacy
Muse #555 - what is there, is all there is
I have been reading some interesting books in July. Before I summarize all of them, there was one quote that stood out from one of these books that I want to talk about. This one thing is a primary obstacle to any individual’s growth whether personally or more so at work.
Stop thinking that the world is a just place
— Jeff Pfeffer, Power: Why Some People Have It—and Others Don't
The just-world hypothesis or just-world fallacy is the cognitive bias that assumes that "people get what they deserve" – that actions will have morally fair and fitting consequences for the actor.
What it does to us includes:
it reduces our ability to learn more effectively by taking action
it anesthetizes people’s ability to proactively build a power base
There are different ways to achieve the power dynamic and it does need to be by hierarchy or use of resources. Influence is power too. And that is what the whole book from Pfeffer is about. But back to the basics first…
Once we realize that there is nothing called a fair world, it puts the onus on us to validate what is fair and how to get it or achieve it, if and when we want something to be fair. And also forces us to take action. And that indeed is fair game…