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.