Karma (Just Deserts: 'What Goes Around Comes Around')

Do you believe in a type of "Karma"?

  • Yes

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • No, it's all about finding meaning in random events

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • Yes, but I call it something else

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • I think there's something in it, though have no firm belief

    Votes: 3 25.0%

  • Total voters
    12
A

Anonymous

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#1
The karmic wheel turned a little quicker than usual today. As I was driving home today some tit pulled out of a side street forcing me to brake. I had a bit of a swear to feel better, then seconds later we reached another side street where another car pulled out forcing the guy in front to hit the brakes, pissing him off.
I've noticed that people who've done me a serious wrong often have a bad experience of their own shortly after. At school, I recall the class creep breaking her leg, and a notorious bully getting run over and killed. At the other end of the scale, those involved with organised crime or as the dictator of a nation rarely die peacefully in their sleep - someone catches up with them in the end.
So, do you believe in luck evening itself out? If so, how about those who have a rather nasty life without seemingly deserving it? What are your experiences?

Disclaimer: I might not necessarily mean Karma in the sense of the word, as that has a very specific meaning in certain philosophies. But you get my drift...
 

Imperial_Call

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#2
I said "no" on grounds that several people I've met who deserved to "get back what they dished out" didn't get anything ... :(
 

Anome

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#5
Your Karma ran over my Dogma.

I believe in the Principle of Karmic Indeterminism: Shit happens.

The Corollary of which is: You don't know when shit is going to happen.

Although, this doesn't mean that Karma itself doesn't exist on some scale, it's just that if you hold your breath waiting, you better be prepared to pass out before anything happens.

I mean, we all know about Instant Karma (as made famous by John Lennon), where someone does something bad to someone else, and as a direct result is instantly punished by the cosmic powers. (EG: Man mugs old lady, turns, and runs straight into a telephone pole.) I just don't believe that Karma is a local phenomenon. If there is some conservation of Karma, it's on a scale too large for me to perceive. (And to be quite honest, the idea that some dickhead cutting ahead of me in line means that someone somewhere else in the Universe gets accidentally paid too much in change isn't much comfort.)

Many religions have recognised this, as well. This is why most of them promise your reward for the next life, rather than for this one. That way, they hope it will be harder for you to lodge a complaint with the Trade Practices Commission, or the ACCC.
 
A

Anonymous

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#6
I'd like to believe it's true, and certainly when I step over the line I always seem to get my come uppance, but then how do you explain the likes of Joseph Mengele, Hindley and so on?
 

beakboo1

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#7
I believe that we influence the way the world treats us. For instance, if I let someone out of a side street, give money to a begger, open a door for someone, I feel better, more relaxed, and someone is more likely to do something good for me.
It's a sad truth that people are naturally hostile to those who look miserable, depressed etc, and are conversely drawn to those who are cheerful looking. I've lived both lives and I know. When I was miserable I've had people drive trolleys into me in Sainsburys, no one opened doors for me. Now I'm happy, they fall over themselves to chat to me. That's the origin of the karma idea, it's nothing mystical IMO.
 
A

Anonymous

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#8
Yeah, doesn't everybody then?

Part of the reason I asked this question was the influence of the feature on Jung and the collective unconcious in FT this month. It suggested (if I read it right, and there's no guarantee) that the collective unconcious had some kind of influence on real events - it would be interesting to postulate that 'karma' is an extension of that idea - that if someone wrongs you, that in some way the collective unconcious issues punishment for it in order to maintain some kind of balance.
 

luohan

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#9
I firmly believe in the existence of karma and that ‘good will be rewarded by good, evil with evil’. As well as physical laws I believe that the universe has a characteristic or nature that is benevolent. If a life does something contrary to this nature (such as harming another life) then it will accrue karma and the debt will have to be repaid in the future. If someone treats me unfairly or if I encounter some misfortune, I try and take it lightly because I think it is probably a debt being settled.

If you believe in reincarnation then it is easy to understand that someone like Hitler will be paying back his karma in his next lifetime, unless he has already suffered what Buddhists call ‘complete annihilation of body and soul’. This is what happens when a life accumulates too much karma over many lifetimes and cannot be kept anymore. On the other hand, because a life only reincarnates to settle karmic debts (according to Buddhist principles), it is possible to escape the cycle of rebirth by eliminating all one’s karma and human attachments through self-cultivation, and as a result becoming enlightened. :)
 

EnolaGaia

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#11
Bump ... Resurrecting this thread and poll ...

I've had and observed plenty of anecdotal experiences where 'good' or 'bad' actions strongly correlated with subsequent (often amplified) 'good' / 'bad' effects on the actor like a cosmic feedback loop.

With me it's more like a superstition than a formal belief system. For example, over the decades I've learned to never let myself "get away with" an undeserved gain or profit (e.g., get excessive change back from a cashier), because I will inevitably lose as much or more soon thereafter.
 

Coal

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#12
I think any notion that karma might be a real thing is utter bibble. I've seen far to many complete gits do perfectly well in life and they don't appears to be tortured or punished in any way at all by 'karma'. Likewise I've seen perfectly decent human being get runs of poor fortune that are eye watering in their emotional impact. Karma scharma.
 

Iris

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#13
Only one where I thought it might be karma was the ex partner of one of my friends.
She had left an abusive relationship and had her 2 boys before she took up with this person who paid he a bit of attention.
The only things she had of value were some gold jewellery items and the rat took and sold that, before he moved onto the next one.
She always said that karma would get him and after he married his 3rd wife and went overseas for a visit came back and found she had sold everything and disappeared.
After that he had a bad car accident and was quite badly injured.
We-her friends thought it couldn't have happened to a better person.
 

AlchoPwn

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#14
Most people think that Karma is kind of like fate, that "what goes around comes around" like the Wheel of Fate in Tarot cards. That isn't what Karma is. Karma is a far more nuanced and subtle concept than that, and is interpreted very differently in the 4 major religions that teach it, namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikkhism. It is primitive to merely view Karma as an extension of reciprocity i.e. do good things, receive good outcomes, or the reverse. My understanding of Karma primarily comes from Buddhism and what I learned of the Buddhist perspective on the idea was at very least interesting and worth relaying I think. I would not pretend that my understanding is in any way perfect or exhaustive on the subject however.

Karma is about the consequences of our actions. The relationship of karma to ethics is important, but there is an important element that is often missed. Buddhist ethics are not Christian ethics; they are similar in some ways, but not the same. As a result, the Christian ethic of "give until it hurts" is not mirrored in Buddhism as a path to salvation. Buddhists believe in compassion, but that compassion also applies to yourself (a point of radical departure from Jainism which is very destructive of one's body thru austerities). Instead Buddhism teaches that the fundamental cause of the world's suffering is ignorance, and this is best overcome by cultivating wisdom.

Consider that it is quite possible to perform what appear to be overtly ethical acts that are actually Karmically bad, for example, if you go out of your way to help bad people in an ethical manner, the result will almost certainly be perverted by the people you help. Naive altrusim isn't the same as being good, it is frequently the same as being victimized. You don't help snakes without taking precautions against being bitten and poisoned. There is no sin in altruism, the sin is in the naivety. It is worth noting that Christianity doesn't consider stupidity to be a sin (is that a surprise?), but really, how much damage is done by people who don't consider the consequences of their actions? I might go as far as to suggest "most", as it is very hard to properly understand all the factors affecting a descision we may make, but that is what separates the wise from the foolish.

It is also worth mentioning that the Karma we choose creates Karmic attachments. In this sense, our Karma becomes defined by what we choose to desire and the way we go about achieving our desires. What is not obvious, is that this extends to our senses. Yes, our very senses of sight, hearing, touch, olfactory etc are all Karmic attachments. After all, unless we were attached to eyesight, we could not be attached to beauty, which is the pleasure of the eyes etc. This accounts for something quite Fortean, namely, how a disembodied spirit is apparently able to see, when it has no physical eyes; the Karmic accretion of sight remains with the spirit body.

So what about bad people? It is quite possible to have plenty of wisdom but little compassion. Life will also afford most people ample opportunities to behave very selfishly with no overtly negative consequences. Of course such behavior is habit forming, and habit is a form of Karma. Eventually if you neglect compassion, you will cut yourself off from the company of good and trustworthy people, and find yourself swimming only with the other sharks. Worse still, you may be so far gone that you may not even realise what a horrible situation it is you find yourself in. It is much like that of leprosy, constantly checking yourself for lesions (holes in your position that can be exploited), never able to truly rest, and always having to struggle for diminishing returns as a social outcast despite potentially having superior status.

Note that I haven't even begun to talk about how Karma affects reincarnation, and while I could, I think most people know that bit to some degree at least. What they don't often see, is how Karma affects their day to day life, and that is what I have been trying to illustrate.
 

EnolaGaia

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#15
Most people think that Karma is kind of like fate, that "what goes around comes around" like the Wheel of Fate in Tarot cards. That isn't what Karma is. Karma is a far more nuanced and subtle concept than that, and is interpreted very differently in the 4 major religions that teach it, namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikkhism. ...
Agreed ... I recall first encountering the slang use of 'karma' back in the 1960's, after having become acquainted with the concept in my readings on religion / philosophy. The semantic shift it entailed confused me, even though there were obvious thematic overlaps.
 

Swifty

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#16
Bump ... Resurrecting this thread and poll ...

I've had and observed plenty of anecdotal experiences where 'good' or 'bad' actions strongly correlated with subsequent (often amplified) 'good' / 'bad' effects on the actor like a cosmic feedback loop.

With me it's more like a superstition than a formal belief system. For example, over the decades I've learned to never let myself "get away with" an undeserved gain or profit (e.g., get excessive change back from a cashier), because I will inevitably lose as much or more soon thereafter.
You clearly should be living in a small town instead Enola, Cromer (just for one example of many millions around the world) runs on that principle, people get away with small crap in cities but they aren't as happy .. I wasn't exactly thrilled to settle a close to £30 tab at my local shop this afternoon but you just do it don't you? .. they were kind enough to give you tick?, restore their faith in humanity. They weren't even sweating me for the cash because they know I won't accept credit until I know when I can pay them back. At the risk of sounding pious, I told the checkout girl I also owed another 80p because the boss let me off that last night and I knew he'd forget to write it down. Or he'd randomly remember anyway at a later point then he wouldn't mention it, he'd be hurt, write it off and I'd lose respect and his friendship. All for 80p.
 

EnolaGaia

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#17
You clearly should be living in a small town instead Enola ...
I've mostly lived in small towns and / or acted within social networks where everyone knew everyone else, so I know the sort of 'slack' effects you describe.
 

Frasier Buddolph

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#18
I believe that, in the long run, people get pretty much what they deserve. There's nothing mystical about it. If you treat people shabbily, they're going to remember, and when they get a chance for payback, well . . .

I like the saying, "You meet the same people on the way down that you met on the way up."
 

Lb8535

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#20
Just so we know, "what goes around comes around' while I've noticed is true is not actually related to the classic definition of karma, which is somewhat more complicated.
 
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