What do we know about this crazy thing we call “karma”?

when did the word “karma” enter your lexicon?

I’m just curious; for me, it was some time during the early- to mid-90’s. I was in high school and I had a friend or two who had discovered a humorous t-shirt that read, “your karma ran over my dogma.”

I thought, ‘what’s this crazy karma thing I’m hearing about?’

While I’m almost certain that the knowledge of Eastern philosophy in the United States is nothing new, it seems that nearly every red-blooded ‘Mercan kiddo from my generation was insulated from its influence by the fact that it didn’t register on the public radar.  Nowadays we have a dearth of personal communication among a flood of digital options, and there’s a tide of sentiment over the old way – as in talking face-to-face. With it comes the idea that we need to bring back values of community, brotherhood, and kindness into the general consciousness because part of the issue that’s contributing to the growing social desert is that we have become a hard-nosed consumerist society, selfish with our time and our interaction. Some times we look for a philosophical lubricant that will encourage others to consider the repercussions of their behavior.

I think this is why I hear “karma” like it’s the buzzword of the day. But for some reason, a lot of people tend to use it incorrectly. They use it under the assumption that if you do a bad thing, a bad thing will happen to you; or sometimes it’s a mentality that “you reap what you sow.” “What goes around comes around.”

Wrong.

Karma is a thing you do. Anything you do is karma and adds to your karma. The function of karma is as a collective memory in the soul – of everything you’ve done in your past and present lives, and it can only affect you in the next life. Similar to the fields of genetics, nutrition and weather patterns, karma is a “big picture” concept that is just complex enough to put complete understanding out of reach, but unlike those other things karma comes with an inherent evil: the assumption that we cannot escape it’s effects because we cannot go back and change the past – especially past lives ad infinitum.

Wrong again.

The fact that people sometimes do get away with murder without any ill effect, and that some people can go through their entire lives sacrificing only to die having spent the whole thing in vain would seem to prove that karma is just another philosophical element created to encourage pro-social behavior – and I should point out that I think it’s an appropriate one; my curse is that I’m so skeptical I tend to see through them all.

We exist in a modern society, and I think it’s okay for me to believe that I have a right to say that the Universe does not punish wrongs – society does. It’s just unfortunate that evil people do not fear other people so much as things they cannot control. Good people at least learn to accept those things, which is why we survive: we’re the fittest and most flexible.

So even if science could prove to me that karma is a real thing – and I’m not certain I don’t believe in residual memory – I wouldn’t change anything except where it may benefit someone during my current life; after all, it’s the only one I know.

Guess what? My dogma may have just obliterated your karma. Add two points to your driving record (or subtract them – do whichever is not good) and do not pass go.

What do you think? Is karma fer real or just a fad? Are you guilty of misusing it? Let us know in the comments, or be reborn as a Chicken **nugget!


This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt

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18 thoughts on “What do we know about this crazy thing we call “karma”?”

  1. WOW! Made ME think today! I have to say, since being in Recovery, I don’t think “KARMA” I’m also a Christian, so I say, “You will get back what you “Spiritually” put out in the world” Since my Power great then myself “see’s and knows all” before we even think it, we need to be mindful of the written gospels. We should be Kind, Helpful, Caring, and Giving unto others. Man, the world wouldn’t need “Karma” if well all did what is “Spiritually” asked of us now would we??….hhhhmmmm

    Great Post! *Author, Catherine Lyon 🙂 🙂

  2. I think anything that causes people to pause and consider their actions has worth, whether it be karma, Christ or Buddha. I don’t talk about my personal faith much, because it’s just that: personal. We can’t know who’s right and who’s wrong – if any of us are – because that is the essence of faith. I suspect the popularization of karma causes more people to pause and reflect, and that can’t be bad.

    1. Well I can’t disagree with that. If there’s one thing I can tell Mme. Ross without endangering the situation, it’s that nobody can tell me with any certainty who or what “God” is, and how or if said Creator has ever manifested or affected our history. I tend to run more with how we treat others, because that’s what we see affecting the world in real ways. People being good to each other, people tearing each other apart – these are very real dynamics, and so concepts that trigger reflection on the consequences of one’s own actions can only be beneficial in the long run.

      If you think about it, we’re living that dream that was first conceived millennia ago in the elaboration of such ideas.

    2. Okay, I get what you’re saying though – perhaps I was a little too cavalier with my pessimism, because I agree that any popular use of the word that gives people the idea that their actions will ultimately reflect back onto their futures may have more benefit than having no such framework or faith otherwise. In that situation, incorrect usage is beside the point. 🙂

    1. That’s really the source of my pessimism. A lot of those fellows go about their business and then they pass away and there is absolutely no proof they’re reborn as a cockroach, and what satisfaction would that give us anyway? We crave justice, and that’s why the legal system exists in the first place – it is thus far the penultimate evolution of pro-social impetus.

    1. See, I love to have a two-sided conversation because different people bring different things to the table – any time you come here, don’t hesitate to disagree agreeably because I just may end up learning something! I enjoyed reading your post as well. 🙂

  3. I have thought about this for a long time, actually, Rob.

    I would write what I think, but it’s late, I’m very tired, and I don’t have the brain cells to properly explain my thoughts without incoherent rambling. I will come back to this later, maybe tomorrow if I have enough time aside from preparation for the convention tomorrow.

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