What’s the difference between wisdom, and conventional wisdom? Shouldn’t wisdom be sufficiently universal and timeless you shouldn’t have to qualify it with anything? And why conventional, of all qualifiers, meaning generally accepted as if common sense rather than wise knowledge known to a few? In that sense, conventional wisdom is an oxymoron, which is hardly wise, symbolically or literally.
I think most people know that life isn’t fair, whether in English, in another language via an analogous expression, and/or intuitively. Yet, I’ve rarely heard anyone respond to life isn’t fair with fighting words. I’ve only generally heard people begrudgingly agree with the statement and/or curse the fact.
I was once one of those people who only ever agreed with the life isn’t fair idiom, accepting it as conventional wisdom. That was until one day in my early 30s, when I was bemoaning some grave unfairness in life. At one point in a typical psychotherapy style conversation I often have with myself to debrief matters about which I’m not happy, my defiant side came out to challenge the victim me to ask So what? What are you going to do about it? Everything then changed, with me not being the type to back down from a good challenge.
Long before recent memes showing the difference between equality and equity came out, I realized they were different, even if I could not articulate it. As a child in a family that barely scraped by in Communist Viet Nam, I saw adult and child beggars, and understood they needed more help than my family, with the child beggars needing even more since nobody took care of them as my Parents took care of me. I remember asking my Mom to help feed some children beggars, to whom I could relate more than the adult beggars in being a child, while rarely asking her to help the adult beggars, all the while not realizing how vulnerable we actually were ourselves. My poor Mom was torn between the compassion she saw in me, and her inability to always show that compassion at the expense of our family’s survival, while unwilling to tell me the full and true nature of our family’s situation to justify this.