Sunday, December 30, 2007

Karma or Schmarma?

Earlier today I was informed again that,"what goes around comes around." It seems most of us either believe something like that or want to believe it, as if fate was somehow a living thing with an innate sense of justice and the power to enforce it. And of course consequences can at least be de facto punishments or rewards.

So if we (or certain other organisms) sense or feel a reason or purpose for everything, and that "purposefulness" is built into our calculating mechanisms, then we have likely factored in the possibility that these reasons also involve some form of reward or punishment. And if so, what might we have done to deserve either and be the cause of the "consequence" in question, and what might be done to change those results now or in the future? If it's punishment, can we somehow make it seem unjust and thus affect the consequences in "mid-stream," and if a reward, what should we NOT do that would tend to alter or stop the process?

And if the "consequences" can possibly be a combination of both reward and punishment, what can be done to affect one aspect of this purpose without adversely affecting other aspects by mistake in the process?

So we can see that the mere consideration of purposefulness by an organism in making calculations complicates the process considerably, especially when the assumption is that everything results from a purposeful act, and if so, from an actor that senses feedback and can assess the effectiveness of its efforts.

And chances are it's only the more advanced organisms that can afford to consider some things as purely accidental in making these calculations, as such considerations would have to come after attempts were made to counter an act, rather than first trying to see if it was in fact intentional. Benefits from recognizing an act was accidental might only come to an organism advanced enough in its calculating and strategic abilities to find value in ignoring the aspect of purposefulness.

But note that even the most advanced or emancipated of us believe there are no accidents in the sense that every occurrence is in some way consistent with a "natural law," and the existence of such laws themselves may not be accidental.

But can't we then believe they may serve a purpose while not at the same time be purposeful? I'd like to think so.


daedalus2u said...

I have a physiological explanation for karma. Of course it relates to nitric oxide.

Stress is a low NO state. The "fight or flight" state is a low NO state. Anger, hatred, violence, are all feelings that bring about and sustain a low NO state. The type of meditation that the Dalai Lama practices raises NO. The mind state that he cultivates leads to a high NO physiological state. High NO terminates the "fight or flight" state and restores the "rest and relaxation" state where healing occurs (see my blog on the placebo effect).

Individuals who live their lives in a low NO state will experience ill health because their bodies are not allocating as many resources to healing as those who spend their lives in a high NO state.

To some extent these states become self-propagating and self-fulfilling. There is substantial hysteresis. Those who live by the sword will die by it. Those who live cheating others will project their own motivations onto others and will feel cheated even if they are not.

emmahowardstudio2 said...

I agree that there are no accidents,that everything happens for a reason,to be purposeful.

It seems to be our duty as human beings to learn from these experiences and move forward or to repeat them again and again until we have learned the lesson which is LOVE.

I believe that we are here on Earth to learn to love in whatever circumstances we are in.Is a wealthy wo/man,living a life of leisure as happy as the coffee shop server who just received a large tip because s/he smiled at someone about to end their life?

Thank you,

Emma Howard
Kailua, HI