Karma smarma

7 Apr

Good afternoon boys and girls! Today I want to talk about Karma! Every once in a while I run into someone who proudly touts the fact that they’re a “big believer in karma!” This they usually do with a smile on their lips, a twinkle in their eye, and a bounce in their step! Yes sur-ree! They firmly believe in that warm and fuzzy notion that every good action done will be payed back in return!

And that’s about as far as their thinking goes.

But let’s follow this notion through to its logical conclusion, shall we? Now karma is originally from the Hindu faith, a main tenant of which is reincarnation. You see, karma has two parts to it:

A do good and good things will happen to you.

Do bad and bad things will happen to you.

“What goes around comes around” is a simple summation. With reincarnation, karma acts as a sort of moral equalizer, an assurance of justice in this life or the next. If you do bad things now, sooner or later bad things will happen to you; which brings us to kids with cancer:

Aw, don’t feel bad for this little guy! He’s getting what he deserves! He must have been a horrible person in a past life! So too were his parents! Wow, can you imagine how bad they must have been to deserve to watch their otherwise innocent child slowly die before their eyes? Payback’s a bitch ain’t it? Oh well, you know what they say, “what goes around comes around!”

Whenever someone says they’re a big believer in karma, they most always mean they only believe in half of it, the feel good half.

People who don’t believe in reincarnation, yet who still want to hold onto karma, often try to rationalize this conclusion away. In my personal experience, the majority of these types of people are the warm and fuzzy, liberal “spiritual but not religious” types. The problem is, without the cycle of rebirth, karma loses a lot of its ability to be a moral equalizer. Karma without reincarnation has no good explanation for why bad shit happens to otherwise good people early on in their lives. (Like kids with cancer). These people simply haven’t been around long enough to accumulate enough bad karma to deserve something so horrible.

You could argue that it is a result of the child’s parents’ bad karma, but that is beyond not fair to the child; and karma’s supposed to be all about fairness!

The other problem with the idea of karma sans reincarnation is (ignoring childhood diseases) the notion that you will eventually get what you deserve later in life. All you have to do is take one look around the world to see that that is blatantly untrue! Bad people get away with everything all the time! Just look at politicians, bankers, and child molesting priests! Stalin killed between 20 and 80 million people and lived a life of luxury and power till his last dying gasp. Evil wins every single day while the downtrodden and oppressed are distracted with movies and TV dramas where good always wins out in the end.

No, for these “spiritual but not religious” types their karma is a special karma, one tailor made for what they wish were true: To them, karma mainly focuses on paying back good deeds. In the rare times when it deals with paying back bad deeds, the farthest it will ever go is in giving a speeding ticket to that jerk who cut you off at the stop light. That’s it. No worse “punishment” for simple things that offend the believer in karma.

At best it’s very self-serving. At worst it’s an excuse to be apathetic about achieving justice.


8 Responses to “Karma smarma”

  1. teo April 8, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    The believe in a “just world” is actually a dysfunctional belief, that can play an important role in many mental disorders…
    Let the justice be with you 😉

  2. CelestialTorpor April 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    I’ve got to say, karma is just an easy term to throw around. It’s a lot easier to rationalize that if I do good things good things will happen to me, than to accept that I should do things because they are societally accepted as moral or just. Because who really wants things to be just? Essentially, everyone wants everything to be unjust in their favor..

    I’m not religious, and I don’t honestly believe in luck (good or bad), but I do like the global applicability of the term. Something bad happened? That’s bad luck (karma). This terminology is so much easier than to elaborate or pontificate on the reasons behind the bad thing happening. And I honestly have no interest in scrutinizing every daily decision individually.

    Even so, I do find myself rationalizing under the broadest of terms (karma) with the hope that if I do nice things, good things may happen for me on an undefined time scale. If they don’t? I’ve lost nothing. And if I do bad things? The only thing bad thing I can expect is a hit to my own conscionability.

    I suppose karma isn’t really the right word for this, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve misused a vocable.

  3. K. Syrah April 14, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    The “Spiritual but not religious” are those apathetic, thoughtless mediocre people who want to make shit up as they go along and want to get along with ‘everyone’.

    It’s like watching Eat Pray Love all over again and wanting to head desk.

  4. Mister_Higgins April 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Oh Gus Gus, I think you have gotten karma wrong. One, karma is only attributed to the person, not their parents. If the child (in this life) did something wrong in a previous life it would be up to their own choices in that previous life. Two, as opposed to an idea that karma is actually something, it is equally plausible for karma to be an attempt at making sense in a world where evil people prosper and good people fall the wayside. I am not saying that it makes people feel good, it allows humanity to categorize, arbitrarily, actions in hopes that something will come about them (much like biologists arbitrary classification of animals). Furthermore, your entire argument seems to be an appeal to an emotion (hey look at this little girl with cancer. KARMA MADE HER THAT WAY! KARMA BAD! ARG!), but without karma or some semblance at an attempt of order, all that is left would be chaos. The realization that all life means nothing and that it has to do with the way the cards fell for that little girl with cancer that she may not survive to her 21st birthday. While I do believe that some children may take solace in that idea, I do not think it would be appropriate for someone who has cancer. Hope in the idea that there is order in the universe is a powerful thing.

  5. extro1 April 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    I used to believe in karma, one of those things that “seemed like a good idea ta the time”. I know believe if ya want good things to happen you need to make them happen and fight to prevent the bad.

  6. Gerald September 28, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    This is f***ing disgusting! You think that child deserves to have cancer? Do you think anyone deserves that kind of torture? Absolutely not! Karma is a load of bull s***. I’m sorry, I’m a Christian, but I can’t stand for this kind of ignorance. How could you possibly believe that this child deserves this? I’ll tell you what you deserve: a 1 way ticket to the deepest layer of hell! Then again, that’s not for me to judge. I really pray you realize how awful this sounds. Here’s 1 more thought to consider, if you will: how is it that you believe in a religion revolving around peace and love, when it teaches stuff like this? Think of where your own ‘karma’ as you call it places you here. Revolting!!!!

  7. JODO July 10, 2014 at 4:01 am #

    I am sorry for your loss. Obviously you have dealt with a great deal of pain, with children involved, and it has caused you a seriously deep wound. I hope you can turn that into either acceptance or relevance. Karma, good deeds, thoughtfulness, ,kindness, belief, and any other positive act can’t be deemed irrelevant because of unfairness.However, if you truly are against the status quo, RISE UP. That is the bullhorn…not some conversationalistic view on the inappropriateness of Karma. Be the Paul Revere of fair change and demilitarization or whatever your view ends up being. I get pain, I just don’t get unpassionated disspondance

  8. No December 9, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    Thats just disgusting that u think its ok to laugh at someone who has cancer who cares if they were bad in life all that matters is that they r ok afterr that happens to the, maybe they want u to get cancaer and die u dont know how they feel after they saw this so stop making fun of inocent people and think about this happening to u.

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