Friday, November 26, 2021

On Karma

 Looking at the world around me, I have a lot of trouble believing in Karma, at least as it concerns life in this world. The fact is, cold-blooded murderers die in their beds of old age with no regrets, living off the benefits of the crime they committed. That's just a fact. Watch the movie Crimes and Misdemeanaors, which makes the point very forcefully. Unless there is something like God, or else a law of Karma that governs not this life, but reincarnation into the next life (that is how Karma is understood in Eastern traditions like Hinduism and Buddhism), what goes around does NOT come around. Or, at least, it doesn't have to. 


David Duffy said...

Why do we have this great longing for justice? Why do we want things to be put right. And why do we also have this ability to forgive some of the great harm people have done to us? Why is it so difficult to make right the harm I have done to others?

Throwing things out there as I was on Victor's site at the moment and as if it were a conversation around my dinner table.

Starhopper said...

As C.S. Lewis would have said, our longing for justice is itself proof that ultimate justice exists. As Dostoevsky did say, "Without immortality everything is permissible." As Job said, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God." As the first Psalm says... well, it's too long to quote here. Open your Bible and read it for yourself.

Karma is indeed valid, but you need to first believe that the human soul is immortal. And we know (not believe) this to be true, because the world does not make sense were it not so.

Starhopper said...

Someone might respond to my last posting, "So why does the world have to make sense?" Well, if you truly believe in a meaningless world, why are you on this website? After all, anything posted here will ultimately make no sense. In fact, in a meaningless universe nothing we say or do has any significance whatsoever.

And please don't say "We all make our own meaning." That's total BS, and you know it. Do I have my own arithmetic? My own cosmology? If I believe I will not die if I jump off of a ten story building, does that mean I will land safely? No, meaning is something we discover, not make. I am free to deny the meaning, just as I can deny the sun rose this morning. But what I think does not change reality.

But if I cease to exist the instant I die, then for me the universe has been meaningless - and that, my friend, is a contradiction in terms. Personal immortality is essential to there being meaning.

bmiller said...

And why do we also have this ability to forgive some of the great harm people have done to us?

I think some people can forgive and some people can't. People who can forgive are free of their former suffering. People who can't forgive are never free of it.

It makes sense to free one's self from suffering, yet many choose to stay in prison.

Starhopper said...

The beginning of forgiveness is understanding the other person, and forgiveness is impossible without seeing the world through the other person's eyes. This goes for even the most heinous of crimes - say a rapist/murderer, or a child abuser, or a concentration camp guard. For once you see the world as the other does, you automatically begin to pity them, and not hate them. You see clearly what an absolute shit show their lives are, and you shudder at the thought of yourself being in the same situation.

That, in and of itself, is not forgiveness, but it is a necessary prerequisite.