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Thread: Karma

  1. #1
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    Karma

    What does it mean to you? Do you believe in it? Is it a concept that is useful to you?

  2. #2
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    I have difficulty with the concept. I think that the way it's commonly described is probably overly simplified because westerners are myopic and mostly incapable of understanding things unless described as linear, causal relationships. My inclination is to think that there is a lot more randomness in the universe than we'd like to think, and that causal links and narratives that we see are merely a result of the human brain's drive to create links and narratives in order to understand what would otherwise be unrelated points of data.

    That said, I can't totally discount the idea. We see from ecology that systems do form where there are links and causal relationships between different actors and entities. That works in terms of physical things - the use and allocation of resources, the continual redistribution and transformation of atoms and energy into different forms and states throughout a system.

    But to extend that to some human understanding of morality... as if there exists somewhere some arbiter of morality that is able to tip the scales for or against the favour of some individual actor in a system, in relation to all others... it's a stretch for me, even though society is a system wherein perhaps a kind of equilibrium is possible.

  3. #3
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    I don't know. It's morning and I slept poorly and I'm sick and hopped up on lots of drugs at the moment.

    Really what I want to know is:

    I found a wallet yesterday and went out of my way to return it to the owner.

    Does that mean that I'm going to stop being jobless and homeless soon? Because not being jobless and homeless would be awesome.

    Or is my only prize temporary confirmation of my self-image of being a reasonably good person most of the time?

  4. #4
    singularity precursor Limey's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as karma, unless you count the righteous feeling that comes from within when you take the moral high road and do the right thing, without fear of universal malice.
    Karma is no better than religious spirituality.

  5. #5
    non-canonical Light Leak's Avatar
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    I don't believe in it. If it does exist then I must have done a bunch of shitty things at some point in my life that I don't remember doing.

  6. #6
    Merry Christmas Blorg's Avatar
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    I think that to some extent people can reshape tragedies by top-down processing, by doing pathetically basic things like crying, smiling even though you don't feel like it, giving wallets back, etc. Smiling or crying won't stop the apocalypse but it might give you a few extra endorphins or something, and the fewer endorphins there are in the brain the more valuable each individual endorphin is, ie forced smiles will produce greater profits in apocalyptic situations. So the benefit of doing good things is that you might have a moderately better set of brain chemicals to work with-- more energy, flexibility, attentiveness, etc-- so you will potentially 'validate' the (westernized concept of) karma via your own autonomy and/or subjective perceptions.
    "Better not to feel too much until the crisis ends—and if it never ends, at least we’ll have suffered a little less, developed a useful dullness...The constant—and very real—fear of being hurt, the fear of death, of intolerable loss, or even of “mere” humiliation, leads each of us, the citizens and prisoners of the conflict, to dampen our own vitality, our emotional and intellectual range, and to cloak ourselves in more and more protective layers until we suffocate." - Toni Morrison

  7. #7
    Member Bartender's Avatar
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    Karma doesn't exist unless you want it to exist, and then it only affects you.

  8. #8
    was here.. LordLatch's Avatar
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    Don't let your dogma get run over by the karma.
    This just in: I'm accepting all friend requests too unless you're a fricken jerk and I can't stand your existence and inane drivel. If that's the case, then I'll accept your friend request so I can keep an eye on your ass unless you don't hold any interest for me; then only the threat of keeping my eye on you stands. feces

  9. #9
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    Only in so far as that karma is a more complex version of "do unto others as you would have done unto yourself", and that acting immoral leads to resigning yourself into having to live in that bleaker, unpleasant world view that you've come up with. The fate of the tycoon in Citizen Kane is a better fiction around the real world consequences of transgressing against the golden rule than the fairy tale karma thing with it's rebirths and cosmic adding up of sins.

  10. #10
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i "believe" in it in the sense that people who do backstabbing, bitter things to others generally form a lot of bitter, backstabbing relationships and have more shitty things done to them, whereas people who form trusting and well-intentioned relationships, and whose actions correspond, generally feel them pay off. it doesn't mean everybody deserves what they get, but i do believe in attempting to break cycles of negativity, making the effort to be kind to your haters--once in a while if appropriate--and that doing good things is more likely to improve one's quality of life than not. i don't think it's good to focus on the rewards, though, since that makes your good intentions questionable.

    i'm not familiar with the way the term is used/understood by "most westerners" admittedly. also i'm not religious and am not totally familiar with the rebirth idea. i do sense that much of the nuance and symbolism is lost in translation, however.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 09-17-2014 at 06:11 PM.

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