when did the word “karma” enter your lexicon?
I’m just curious; for me, it was some time during the early- to mid-90’s. I was in high school and I had a friend or two who had discovered a humorous t-shirt that read, “your karma ran over my dogma.”
I thought, ‘what’s this crazy karma thing I’m hearing about?’
While I’m almost certain that the knowledge of Eastern philosophy in the United States is nothing new, it seems that nearly every red-blooded ‘Mercan kiddo from my generation was insulated from its influence by the fact that it didn’t register on the public radar. Nowadays we have a dearth of personal communication among a flood of digital options, and there’s a tide of sentiment over the old way – as in talking face-to-face. With it comes the idea that we need to bring back values of community, brotherhood, and kindness into the general consciousness because part of the issue that’s contributing to the growing social desert is that we have become a hard-nosed consumerist society, selfish with our time and our interaction. Some times we look for a philosophical lubricant that will encourage others to consider the repercussions of their behavior.
I think this is why I hear “karma” like it’s the buzzword of the day. But for some reason, a lot of people tend to use it incorrectly. They use it under the assumption that if you do a bad thing, a bad thing will happen to you; or sometimes it’s a mentality that “you reap what you sow.” “What goes around comes around.”
Karma is a thing you do. Anything you do is karma and adds to your karma. The function of karma is as a collective memory in the soul – of everything you’ve done in your past and present lives, and it can only affect you in the next life. Similar to the fields of genetics, nutrition and weather patterns, karma is a “big picture” concept that is just complex enough to put complete understanding out of reach, but unlike those other things karma comes with an inherent evil: the assumption that we cannot escape it’s effects because we cannot go back and change the past – especially past lives ad infinitum.
The fact that people sometimes do get away with murder without any ill effect, and that some people can go through their entire lives sacrificing only to die having spent the whole thing in vain would seem to prove that karma is just another philosophical element created to encourage pro-social behavior – and I should point out that I think it’s an appropriate one; my curse is that I’m so skeptical I tend to see through them all.
We exist in a modern society, and I think it’s okay for me to believe that I have a right to say that the Universe does not punish wrongs – society does. It’s just unfortunate that evil people do not fear other people so much as things they cannot control. Good people at least learn to accept those things, which is why we survive: we’re the fittest and most flexible.
So even if science could prove to me that karma is a real thing – and I’m not certain I don’t believe in residual memory – I wouldn’t change anything except where it may benefit someone during my current life; after all, it’s the only one I know.
Guess what? My dogma may have just obliterated your karma. Add two points to your driving record (or subtract them – do whichever is not good) and do not pass go.
What do you think? Is karma fer real or just a fad? Are you guilty of misusing it? Let us know in the comments, or be reborn as a Chicken **nugget!
This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt
88 Others have gone around on this one so far:
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