EM’s SIN Blog Archive #2 – Karma


This post is from July 21, 2011. It had 11 comments and 2 ratings combined for 2 and a half stars.


I’m certain most of you have heard the term Karma thrown around in your day to day lives.  I’m not going to go into the etymology of the term, but will explore the colloquial use of it.

Basically, Karma is a concept that whatever you do your actions will come back to you.  If I do something “wrong”, something bad will happen to me to reflect this.  If I do something “right”, something good will happen to me to reflect this.  Basically, people view it as some kind of cosmic force of balance with real life implications.
I’ve heard the term used by people of many stripes.  I’ve heard atheists and theists alike use it.  However, I don’t see any reason to believe that such a thing exists.
To me, it’s another example of the god of the gaps.  People like to fill in their holes in knowledge when something happens to them (usually something bad), which they can’t explain.
In fact, it goes beyond just being something to fill in the gaps.  I think the invocation of Karma is another example of people trying to shrug off their responsibilities.  This is not unlike the belief in deities.
For example, an atheist friend of mine comes to me to tell me about a coworker who has been harassing her at work.  She states she wants this person to be destroyed.  So, I try to explore the various ways in which this is possible.  She states she wants to be able to do it without getting any bad Karma for doing so.
There are a few problems with this.  First, if Karma is real, then this person who has been harassing her is going to get bad Karma for harassing her.  Second, if Karma exists, who or what decides what’s “just” and “unjust”?  What benefits one person is not guaranteed to benefit another.  Third, there is no way to draw a solid causal connection between something negative happening to this person and Karma.
How does one distinguish between what’s Karma, coincidence, and direct action?
Within the world is a giant web containing myriad causal connections.  Even with science, it’s difficult to determine what causes what.  The human mind is not sophisticated enough to play connect the dots with so many damn dots.  Even our computers are limited in what they can do in this respect.
Sometimes shit you don’t like happens for no apparent reason.
Did I get a flat tire because I stole from a store?  Did I lose my job because I fucked some dude’s wife?  Did my computer stop working because I said a bad word to a friend?
Sometimes shit you don’t like happens as a natural consequence for a poorly thought out action.
Did I get lung cancer from smoking two packs of cigarettes a day?  Did I get arrested for getting caught with a room full of pot plants because I trusted morons?  Did I run out of money for buying too much multi-racial midget porn?
At the end of the day, what matters is taking responsibility for what happens to you.  If something happens to you which you don’t like, do something about it.
I think this is especially true when you know somebody has done something to you.  Are you going to complacently chalk it up to Karma, or are you going to make them regret ever having fucked with you in the first place?
If I don’t do anything about what happens to me, by my own standards I deserve it.
I’m the only one who is truly responsible for me.

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