Do not be subtle about this, do not think far away, lost in doubt.
There is certainly justice in your world, and compassion and good will as much as you bring them into this Spanish inn called life. The rest depends on other people like you.
”The world as it is” is quite bad. The worst you can do is to adapt to it. If we surrender to reality, “we shall leave this world as foolish and as wicked as we found it on our arrival” as Voltaire wrote . In the face of this, I found that we have enough freedom to live in a personal world - of our own making - which is sensibly better.
If you navigate a wise itinerary - often allowed by the immense complexity, disorder and lack of control of the larger world - and colonize your modest life-space with the private deeds of justice and kindness and beauty which are in our power, the world as you live it and as you enjoy it during your years of lifetime, that is your personal world, can be much better than the one given to everybody and in general.
You do not inhabit the whole Universe where we are nothing and where we count for naught - that is the point of view of the stars and statistics, not ours - and you do not participate in the entire misery of the world as you are mislead to believe by the endless flow of bad news with which you are inundated.
You exist in your, much smaller universe, bounded in space an in years, a niche where you can do things and count a lot by attitude and by choice. Your life-story is an end-game, in which much of what happens to you is because of you (and that much is enough).
The number of really significant people you engage in some sixty active years can be counted on fingers, like the good books you can read. The number of decisive critical events in one person's life is in fact amazingly limited; thus, the choices you make are as crucial as they are personal.
Moreover, your past accumulated cannot be taken away from you whatever befalls; and in time, your past is growingly the achieved substance and reality of your biography; year after year, you become your past. What you did and lived becomes the real world in which you lived, each piece counts. You have good reason to select, as actively as you can, the content that gets into your treasure-chest of biography.
You live in fact in a sphere, an existential bubble which you carry with you like a snail shell, wherever you go.
In your bubble, a limited number of events take place, a limited number of human relations take the time, a limited number of deeds makes who you are; the sum quality of them all is the quality of your life. Your relatives and friends are a handful, that is all. At forty you may have already recorded about half of all these experiences with reality; an irrevocable record you will carry for reference, to the end. In the invisible bubble, one person, one action, one feeling count greatly; they are not dissolved in the swarming and wriggling statistics oh humanity. They are your personal world.
In this bubble you can shelter purposefully things most unusual, fragile and impossible for the custom and prejudice around you; you can give a dog the a dream-life where everybody's aim is to love and nourish him; you can give your child a childhood where he is the centre of the world and where kindness exists.
In your bubble, some goodness, sincerity and beauty, are quite possible or at least some fairness and some justice - simply because you value and practice these things with no need to be approved or rewarded. Were the world heading into yet another bad time of History, your bubble can still be a discrete reservation of goodness preserving from extinction that which you value as we preserve the last tigers in a zoo.
It is in your power to chose an eye for an eye or turning the other cheek, that will be your world.
It is here in your microcosm that gratitude exists if you show it and it is here that if you are a friend, you will have a serious chance to make friends.
Be polite and your world will be more polite, certainly more civil and easier to live than the venomous unforgiving world of the pushy and the paranoid convicted to live their life as they are.
Miraculously, a good part of the human world, said to be “objective”, is dependent on us; many people are with you as you come up to them, as you make them be, as you believe them to be. This is why if in contrast, the whole world smells fish, you must wash your nose.
In my life I found repeatedly that I was treated kindly and saved from danger by people known to be bad, generously by persons who did not expect return and justly by doubtful individuals. The opposite was also true.
There certainly emerges some goodness in the world whenever you do something good or fair or right.
Be kind and lo! Kindness is born again from the ashes, like the Phoenix bird! Smile to one and good will sprouts through the dry crust of indifference.
There is trust in the world if you start trusting people whenever you can; distrust and you live the prisoner's dilemma.
Once you did these good things, as if by magic, you are entitled in your soul to expect the same from other people, without abusing them. Indulge in random acts of kindness. Let me insist; for those who cannot understand my words life is bitter and poisoned forever. They will find only what they expect to find.
Maybe you are disappointed by the lack of recognition for your compassion and justice and generosity. This is because you assume a reward from other people when in fact the reward comes from yourself. You do not need to be an altruist to be good, it is in your own egoistic interest. When you do good you feel good and become better; is that luxury not enough?
On the other hand there is still some justice there outside, eternally reborn in the wider world, at least because action begets reaction, fullness empties and emptiness fills sooner or later.
Everything is paid in some way, usually through its own effects in time. Things carry their justice in their nature.
What you stretch too much breaks. As you sow, so you reap. What you do not use rusts. What you buy cheap is cheap. Easy come easy go. Who seeds wind will harvest storm. What goes around comes around.
Boring wisdom, so true that it seems worn out. Patience to wait by the riverside helps all this to become true...
Certainly all I claim does not replace doing what humans must do in their times, swimming in order not to drown, winning some whenever you can, defending yourself with a firm hand and learning to lose some without losing heart.
In essence you are amazingly free to determine what you visit from this wide, mad world, who you are and what your lived world was made of.
In one hundred occasions there may be ninety-nine when you don’t have much choice; but there is always one when you can choose freely to be good and beautiful or at least just. That one choice decides who you are. That one decides the answer: Is there justice in the world? Does goodness exist?
 Arthur Schopenhauer , The Wisdom of Life and Other Essays, tr. B. Saunders and E. B. Bax, Dunne, Washington and London
The original: « Nous laisserons, vous et moi, madame, ce monde-ci aussi sot, aussi méchant que nous l'avons trouvé en y arrivant… »
« Lettre à Madame la comtesse de Lutzelbourg », dans Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, éd. Garnier frères, 1877, vol. 40, 19 mars 1760, lettre 4074, p. 332