SurveyThere is a dark side to Karma theory
      – Thelevellers, 2010-02-15 at 16:26:34   (12 comments)

On 2010-02-15 at 16:30:14, Thelevellers wrote...
My friend just got back from India and said this about it: "...the guy beating his 8 year old child slave and feeling great about it, as the child, to have such a crappy lot in this life was clearly evil in his past life, and therefore deserves nothing but suffering. (Fucking karma theory!)" among other tings. I had never thought about karma like that, and it goes to show, I guess, that any belief system can be perverted by bad people. *sigh*
On 2010-02-15 at 21:08:10, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Karma is flawed in many ways, not least because it shifts responsibility by assuming that there's an afterlife and there's no need to value the one life that you do have. And the whole idea that there's any link between unrelated actions is ludicrous - it assumes that there's a mechanism, e.g. a god, which monitors your actions, determines what's good and bad and then creates future situations that mirror the same good/bad evaluation. You may as well just walk under a ladder, since the superstition is little different.
On 2010-02-15 at 21:49:29, Thelevellers wrote...
I'm aware of it being rubbish (like all religions I've yet encountered), I just hadn't thought of it as being able to be twisted to encourage mistreatment - I had always figured that at least it had that going for it...
On 2010-02-15 at 22:33:45, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Right, but then it's got twistedness built-in.
On 2010-02-20 at 06:25:03, BorgClown wrote...
I've always thought of bad karma as funny because you need someone to punish you, whom in turn accumulates bad karma. A very stupid justice system, no matter how divine.
On 2010-05-19 at 05:39:45, George wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: to quote your earlier post - "And the whole idea that there's any link between unrelated actions is ludicrous ‒ it assumes that there's a mechanism, e.g. a god, which monitors your actions, determines what's good and bad and then creates future situations that mirror the same good/bad evaluation." God or no god, how can we know what actions are related or unrelated? My understanding is that chaos show us that actions have outcomes that we couldn't possibly predict or compute. There doesn't have to be a god for a butterfly wing flap to cause a hurricane (unless god created the butterfly, I suppose), but there could be a mechanism.
On 2010-05-19 at 07:27:36, Lee J Haywood wrote...
@George: I was, of course, referring to the transfer of the 'good' versus 'bad' information - which is entirely a human construct anyway, and not intrinsic to the physical system. Everything is indeed linked as you say, but just not as a 'mechanism' which would create a cause-and-effect situation to mirror what someone had done in the past. As with someone who believes a superstition will get them, e.g. after breaking a mirror, the main mechanism is simply that the person is in a different state of mind. They look for the consequences of their actions everywhere, and will inevitably spot something that 'fits'. The same goes for karma, where both good and bad things happen all the time and the mind links 'like' things (bad or good) as though there's a pattern present.
On 2010-05-19 at 08:25:34, George wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: But surely there is a pattern... it's just incalculably complex.
On 2010-05-19 at 09:18:25, Thelevellers wrote...
Why 'surely'? Does there really HAVE to be a pattern?
On 2010-05-19 at 09:28:03, George wrote...
@Thelevellers: maybe 'pattern' is too strong... for example I don't know if you could say that the world's weather movements make up a pattern. I don't know, but I'd have though that even down to a local level there is a 'pattern', but it's far too complex to ever understand in a detailed and reliable way.
On 2010-05-19 at 09:57:16, Thelevellers wrote...
Ah, I see... Hmmm. You may have a point, but I doubt it really affects you in the way Karma suggests. You're actions will of course affect other people in their later actions, however slightly, and as such affects an overall pattern in society (sorry DB, 'society' :P). Something like that could maybe make sense...
On 2010-05-19 at 20:27:35, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Patterns are a human concept, they're not really intrinsic but a way of visualising the connections in the world you're modelling. The human brain has evolved to spot patterns in order to predict the future and help with survival generally. We're damn good at it, but the downside is that we see patterns where there aren't any, e.g. see how many patterns you can find in this list of digits. 57356594724558243695366732066203649307560021550673425410461897651653573543022154 It's as random as I can manage, with no connection between one digit and the next, but you can still see 'repeats' and imagine that they're there for a reason. Maybe it's not "random enough" - nonsense, but you'd be forgiven for thinking it. Certainly patterns do exist in a fairly tangible sense, but to say that they have some deeper meaning isn't a defensible position without invoking some sort of 'hidden entity'. In antiquity people were primed to see an 'agency' behind every unexplained event, but we should have moved on by now.