For example, suppose there's a nice guy I don't know very well. He, through a series of unfortunate events, marries an abusive cheating skank. This does not hurt my feelings, as I am not emotionally invested in the well-being of this particular nice guy. But in my preferred version of the universe, nice guys would not have to deal with such calamity.

What word conveys, rather dispassionately, that good people should have good things happen to them, and a dislike for this being untrue?

  • Not a single word, but the phrase in the best of all possible worlds ... is often seen. – bib Jan 19 '16 at 14:04
  • Not my cup of tea. – Kris Jan 19 '16 at 14:06
  • Meanwhile, in a parallel universe... – BiscuitBoy Jan 19 '16 at 14:09
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    There is the concept of "cognitive dissonance", which means that some fact or bit of knowledge that you are forced to confront contradicts your preconceptions, causing angst. But I'm not sure that this suits your situation. – Hot Licks Jan 19 '16 at 18:23
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    It's an unjust situation, so an injustice. Calamitous / calamity are also good. – stevesliva Jan 20 '16 at 5:31



  1. satisfying one's conception of what is perfect; most suitable.

  2. existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.

I would say:

"Ideally (in my preferred version of the universe), nice guys shouldn't have to deal with such a calamity."


A paradigm is defined as "an example serving as a model" and there are several synonyms for the word, but the related thesaurus site isn't showing any antonyms. Thus, you might create one with a prefix, such as anti-paradigm. If you wanted an adjective, it would be anti-paradigmatic.

  • "Paradigm shift" might be applicable to Opie's situation. – Hot Licks Jan 19 '16 at 21:07
  • @HotLicks Sure. I was looking for a one-word answer that could be defined (per the subject line) as "not fitting my preferred version of reality". – Paul Rowe Jan 20 '16 at 15:08

It's not clear exactly how you want to use the word or phrase, but it sounds like you are being an idealist or utopianist. Seeing your friend's situation has disillusioned you, shattering your idealism/utopianism. Or maybe it hasn't shattered them, because you are a denialist who is in denial about his friend's troubles and refuses to accept the difference between your preferred version of reality and the actual reality.

Another idea that comes to mind is the rhetorical trope "In an ideal world, [X]. In the world we actually live in, [Y]," which can be used in the context of a conversation about your feelings. I used this pattern in a recent Academia.SE post, which I seem to remember was somewhat successful, but don't remember the details.

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    Sounds like the guy isn't the OP's friend, just a person he knows – sumelic Jan 19 '16 at 21:34

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