I have no cognitive empathy, but I do have morality, and I believe that homelessness is morally wrong. It is morally wrong because it is unfair. I have never been homeless, but I have never done anything special to deserve that status. I never did anything special to receive upper middle class parents. I never did anything special to receive a private school education. I never did anything special to receive a six figure salary. In fact, according to Amazon’s statistics, they actually lost money on me – they paid me more money as a programmer than I produced for the company. The reason that I receive a six figure salary is for the most part by chance – I enjoyed writing computer code and writing computer code happened to pay a six figure salary. I’m not and have never been a particularly good employee or team member – it’s just luck.
Everything in this world is luck. You don’t choose what country you are born in. You don’t choose who your parents are or how much money they have. You don’t choose what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy. There is nothing about me that makes me more deserving than anyone else.
This world is not a result of God – it is the result of luck and chance. There is nothing that has ever happened that couldn’t have happened because of luck and chance. Over time as science developed, the number of “seemingly impossible and unexplained” things in this universe went down – things that would have been explained by God. Famines and floods and diseases used to be acts of God. God sent the famines and floods and diseases. When hurricane Dorian was approaching Florida, people on Facebook use phrases like “God turned hurricane Dorian away from Florida – God blessed us by not having that hurricane hit us.” No he fucking didn’t – there was a pocket of low air pressure North of the hurricane that made it go North. That’s not fucking God. Nothing is fucking God. It’s all luck. Everything from the Big Bang to the first organic molecules to the first cells to the evolution of dinosaurs to you sitting in a chair reading this sentence is a result of things that happened by luck and chance. And luck and chance isn’t fair.
Morality is a human creation. It’s based on the golden rule – not doing to others what you don’t want done to you and doing to others what you want done to you. Do you want to sleep on a thin camping mat over hard concrete outside where everyone walking by can watch you sleep? Me neither. I personally wouldn’t even be able to sleep – I bought a camping mat and tried on the floor in my apartment and even inside my apartment I couldn’t sleep. Homeless people aren’t homeless because they are less deserving than me. I don’t work harder than them. In fact I am a terrible employee and team player – I wouldn’t even hire myself and I am fortunate that there were people out there dumb enough to hire me.
Mental illness isn’t fair either. I am stricken by both psychological issues like lack of cognitive empathy and narcissism as well as psychiatric issues like ADHD, bipolar, and symptoms of schizophrenia. I have tried many medications, most of which have not worked at all (such as the mood stabilizer lithium) or have helped a little but have had worse side effects than the thing that they were helping with (like many antipsychotics). I’m a fucking basket case, but so are a lot of homeless people, and I didn’t work any harder than they did. All I have that they don’t have is luck and chance and luck and chance isn’t fair. It’s up to people to make things fair because things won’t be fair on their own. It’s not like some magic flying man in the clouds is going to come out of nowhere and fix everything without humans lifting a finger.
- John Michael Reed