I wonder if you’ve ever sold anything on an auction website?
If you have then you’ll no doubt be able to relate to the following. I’m currently seeking to sell a cycle on a site called ebay. Over the years I’ve sold a few things on this particular site and have always found the experience interesting.
Interesting because of the way people behave
When you think of it, an auction, can be a frustrating method of acquiring goods. Be it houses, cars or even pushbikes, there are rules to auctions that need to be followed for it to work as intended. Put simply the highest bid wins. It’s the individual who has the greatest desire – and means – that becomes the new owner of whatever is being auctioned off.
Some people dislike auctions so intensely they will seek to play against the rules
When ever an item is placed in an auction on ebay most sellers will experience this. My most recent experience is typical. One particular user of the site has sought to confuse the issue entirely by asking for a ‘buy it now’ price when this doesn’t apply in an auction. I have in fact now relisted the bike more in line with what he wanted rather than endure the pain of further individuals looking to bypass the auction process. It will take longer to sell, however, I will at least get closer to its real value. Once again I have used the stoic philosophy of: ‘what stands in the way becomes the way,’ as a means of resolving the problem.
Using the behavior of a provocateur in a constructive way
The previous paragraph is clear example. An extreme example would be of the extremist. The behaviour of terrorists certainly provokes extreme reactions. That of course may seem the intention. In this respect, it’s useful to consider how life would be if we used the, ‘what stands in the way becomes the way’ philosophy, against terrorism. In what way could be use it to our advantage? Perhaps when we react to terrorism with calm, instead of outrage, we’ll be able to understand the deeper intention. Believe it or not, the terrorist (through some kind of twisted logic) may well be seeking to improve the world as they see it based on their beliefs. Beliefs that have been instilled and compounded over millennia. It’s a nonsense to thing we can fight against this with anger.
So much of it is based on will and control
Buyers on ebay who play against the rules are seeking to exert control. As I see it, the auction process, is looking to instill some level of fairness but as we will see there is no such thing as fair. In fact, what can be fair about the winner always being the one with the most money?
Life, simply by its random nature, can never be fair
My partner recently received some terrible news. Her brother has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver. The tumour has blocked a bile duct (this is what led to a visit to the doctor – he turned yellow) and caused many problems. To cut a long story short stents have been fitted, to open up the bile duct, so that he may become well enough for chemotherapy to commence. There is then the possibility of surgery. All in all, he has a difficult road ahead, and there is the possibility his life has been severely shortened. He’s fifty eight.
The first question to come to mind, when ever any of us are faced with these kind of challenges is, why is life so unfair? And the simple answer is, there is nothing fair about random, and that, is all that life is. Life only exists because of many, many random events, coming together. When we see this we can better understand the importance of being in the present moment as much as we can. We must also see these kind of experiences as an important means of helping us process our emotions and what life actually means to us. Do we need control? Is playing a game withing the rules hard for us?
We must see life as a lottery rather than an auction
When we acknowledge the random nature to life we can better accept why it seems unfair. There is no such thing as fair and to try and load the odds in our favour will often prove to be an illusion. All we can sensibly do is seek the kind of beliefs and philosophies that make life more tolerable.
To close, there are times when a provocateur has his uses and there are times when we must relinquish any illusions we may have over control. When we’re up against those who’re unable to play within the rules we can use what they’re teaching us. This stands for those who are unfortunately facing health issues; we must learn from the lessons they are teaching us. Fairness, like perfection, will only ever be something to strive for, and in the process, we may find something closer to wholeness.