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Thursday, 12 April 2012

K is for Karma

Karma has always fascinated me as a concept. There are of course several ways of interpreting it. Buddhists have it as an element to their belief of Samsara or reincarnation, so if you live a ‘good’ life as a cat you get born again as a human or if you live a ‘bad’ life as a cat you get reborn as Nick Griffin or Walt Disney.

In the modern day context of the West, people see it not so much as a religious theory as a general life rule. If you do good things then good things will happen to you in return, but if you do bad things then you’ll get what is coming to you.

This, much on a similar level of Luck, I just do not believe. At least I should clarify that I do not believe either of these as a supernatural context. There are no scales on the world waiting to balance if you do something bad or good. Nor is there a supernatural context of luck surely, why would having a four leaf clover or smashing a mirror alter your entire life course.

Seven years bad luck for breaking a mirror? Is this the mirror spirit haunting you or the God of mirrors taking it personally?

I think these things come down to people wanting there to be justice in the world. The idea of karma is to make people (good people usually I may add) feel better about how insanely cruel the world can be to people who do not deserve it. We like the idea that things will balance out because it takes the edge off how bad things can be.

I remember an advert for yogurt a few years ago which had a similar idea with pleasure and pain. These amusing TV anecdotes would show someone enjoying one of these yogurts and then some poor sod in the background would get beaten up by a bear or something.

Of course this is only an advert but it brings up a small theme that has been developing through many of these posts.

Humans seem to be very quick to categorise things into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ whether this is emotions or physical feelings. Naturally as part of our instincts we attach synonyms to certain things such as: Anger = Bad, Pleasure = Good. Of course then it depends on the context, so sometimes Pleasure = Bad and Pain = Justice.

I’m starting to think that people need to take a step back from this and simply see it as Pain is Pain with no kind of just connotation behind it. I do not believe in karma because I don’t think the world makes value judgements on actions or feelings, only humans do.

I must point out here, that what I am NOT saying is that I don’t make value judgements on actions or that humans shouldn’t. We should, it is vital that humans pursue justice and protect innocent and eliminate evil. What I am saying is that there is no spirit of the world that makes these value judgements. Hurricanes do not flatten entire towns because the population of it is corrupt or because the world needs to balance out that some people are evil.

With all this said it is a completely different story when we reach the idea of deities and Gods but I want to avoid that topic for now. The point is that the world of itself does not have these extra laws of physics of karma and luck.

Then again, I may be completely wrong, if a physicist turns around and discovered the ‘laws of luck’ well I’ll be the first to post a retraction quite happily! I love the idea of luck and the idea of karma, I want them to be real things... I just can’t!


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting thoughts on the matter. I guess I never thought about it like that. Definitely something to think about. . .

    Konstanz Silverbow
    A to Z Co-host