Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Karma

In my last post I asked, "how am I going to sleep with my blood pressure this high?" The answer: I'm not. So what to do but come up with more spleen venting for my beloved readers. Now, we've already established that I'm thoroughly pissed off and it's probably a truism that one should not drive while intoxicated nor blog while infuriated, but hey, I live on the edge, baby. So here goes....

Rachel Lucas discusses Karma--you know, what goes around comes around--and flaming fucknozzles. Go read for yourself, but she makes an interesting point:

I’m sure the 80,000 dead people got their just desserts for personally not being nice to the Dalai Lama. He’s a friend of Sharon’s! You be NICE, peasants! Or karma will destroy you and everything you own.

Technically, Karma's force follows you into the next life, according to Webster, thus Al Gore will be coming back as a bloated dung beetle next time around (what could be better energetically speaking?):
the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence
Anyway, what most dillweeds use as Karma they usually meld with the biblical parable of reaping and sowing ala Galatians 6:7 and they get both wrong:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
And still, this is ultimate judgment. As in, a scumbag can prance through life pretty much unscathed and still get it in the afterlife. In this life, shit happens to everyone. (Matthew 5:45) Ecclesiastes 9:11 says it best:
I saw something else under the sun. The race isn't [won] by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don't necessarily have food. Intelligent people don't necessarily have riches, and skilled people don't necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them.
Shit. Happens. Deal. With. It.

Now some people (my friend's ex-husband) are such assholes that their actions repeatedly reap asshole consequences (getting fired over and over and over). Is that Karma? Is that God's hand? I think it's just being an asshole and people hating you.

This idea causes people discomfort. Christians often say "God willing" as some sort of mantra. Muslims say "insh'allah" (if Allah wills). Mexicans say "manana". Oh wait, that means tomorrow. Bottom line, too many people wait around as an excuse to not take responsibility for where their life is now. They wait so they came blame God if things don't go right.

And at the other end of the spectrum, New Agers believe that everything in the universe, big "U", is a function of the person's beliefs. Reality itself bends to our own personal will. So, the Chinese people, on some level wanted or believed they deserved this earthquake and the earthquake manifested. Ditto the people of Myanmar. And in that case, the people believed bad Karmic actions happened and were manifested.

I'm rereading a book by Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life which is a precurser to The Secret. A mentor suggested I read it when I was in college and I did and I thought it was unmitigated crap. Well, age and life experiences can moderate our perspective and a friend suggested I read it again. Here's the essence of the book, summed up in the first sentence of the first chapter:
Life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back.
We are 100% responsible for all our experiences.
And by all, Ms. Hay means all. Even the abuse you took as a kid, on some level, you're responsible for. The earthquake in China, the people are responsible for. The cyclone in Myanmar, the people are responsible for. The Holocaust, the Jewish people are responsible for. The ethnic cleansing in Rwanda, the people are responsible for. And on and on... This seems patently absurd. Shit doesn't just happen, people want shit to happen so it happens.

This thought process misses a tiny distinction: rather than responsibility for all experiences, after a certain age, we are responsible for our reaction to all our experiences. That is, how we interpret and respond to our experiences is our responsibility, but owning every experience takes away the free will of all the other people around. It makes no sense. And this warped thinking has infected the brains of far too many people and it has real world consequences. Ironically, the philosophy of God micromanaging isn't so far from the individual (we are all God) micromanaging life--we are under no obligation to do anything because nothing is in our control on the one hand or we only control our own experience on the other. Either way, everyone else is on their own--either God will take care of it or the poor sufferer will. And in the Western world, where many don't suffer much at all, the all-consuming god-self-complex means taking everything on because the world will fall apart if my caring action isn't taken right now!

Dumbasses like Sharon Stone contemplate the un-niceness of leaders rather than dip into their significant pile of dough when people are dying of misery because they are morally obtuse and hide their selfishness in psychobabble religion. It seems self-evident that you reach out and help people who need help whether you like their leaders' political positions or not. The people have nothing, absolutely zip, to say about Mother Nature's wrath. And the Chinese people have nearly zip to say about their communist government. They do what they are told which is why they're so pissed about their one-child policy. Scores of thousands of people are childless now, because of the earthquake and because of their government's policies. Part of this is time and chance; part of this is stupid.

Louise Hay is right about one thing: we create beliefs and live our lives based on these beliefs. So now, people make decisions based on some swirling mix of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Global Warming and psychology with little understanding of any of these religions and no understanding of science. The end result is do-nothing, feel-good, Selfism. Yes, I believe that's a new word and even if it's not, here's my definition: Selfism has one tenet--I am right because I care.

If Selfism sounds a lot like liberalism, you've hit the jackpot. It's not about actions. It's not about measurable outcomes. It's not about results. It's not about facts. It's not about objective reality. It's not about truth. It's about feelings. It's about intent. It's about words. It's about subjective experience. It's about my truth.

Karma in Sanskrit means action. It is what a person does that results in their placement for the next life. It's not how good-intentioned a person was. And this is a very Christian concept, too. Matthew 25:35-46 is well-worth reading. In fact, the whole chapter isn't about sitting on your butt waiting, but getting out there and doing. A Christian is known by his fruits...what he does--mostly what he does for others and what he does with what he is given.

Nature abhors a vacuum. And in the vacuum that has become the Western world's secular soil all sorts of peculiar ideologies are sprouting up and the unifying theme is narcissism. Selfism is a very popular religion.


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