It’s Not Your Fault: “Karma” and the Fair World Myth

However.

The upshot of people thinking like that, that everything happens for a reason (intent), or that people basically bring suffering on themselves (bad karma), or that any good serendipitous thing that happens to you is because you did good deeds or are a good person (good karma) is…

…we, as human beings, don’t have to do a thing about it.

Oh I guess one could argue that we ought to do good deeds because it increases the likelihood that we will get something from it (besides the feeling that one did something good) – that’s the “good karma” argument again.

But what about people who do good deeds a lot, and still suffer?  Is it because they secretly do bad deeds, pissed off a deity, or did something bad in a past life?

And what about people who do bad deeds a lot, but don’t suffer, either materially or emotionally?  Are they somehow on a deity’s good list, or did they do good deeds in a past life?

In the first case – the good person who suffers – it justifies not helping them because clearly, though we don’t know how, they brought it on themselves.

Aside #4: This ties in with the “fair world” myth, because if we live in a fair world, then seemingly “good” people have bad things happen to them because they did something bad we don’t know about.  Otherwise, why?  It makes no sense, and humans like to make sense of things.

In the second case – the bad person who doesn’t suffer – it justifies not stopping them because clearly, though we don’t know how, a deity is on their side.  Or that somehow they did something good that “canceled out” any bad they’ve done.

Though most likely we don’t stop them because we know they will crush us if we try, not because we think that they “deserved” to do bad things to others for some unknown reason.

And if good people try to stop them and get crushed, well they ought to have known better, shouldn’t they?  They suffer, yes, but “at least they can sleep at night.”

Yep, our consciences are clear, all us do-gooders, so we aren’t kept up nights being tortured by our lack of integrity.

That’s the nicest thing about doing good, actually! (That’s not sarcasm, I really do think this.)

But we do suffer.  Being crushed by corporations or other people and entities who can negatively affect your life is not a pleasant experience.  If you are made poor by doing that too often, you cry.

A lot.

You cry because you know you couldn’t be any other way.

You cry because no one came to your defense.

You cry because others patted you on the back later and said, “I admire what you did, but I couldn’t help because I didn’t want to lose my job like you did.”

Tell me, in the karmic scheme of things, how is this at all fair?

It’s not.

And if it can happen to me, it can – and does – happen to a lot of other people.

People who didn’t do anything “bad”.

People who stood up for others.

People who were just leading their lives and got hit by a car, contracted cancer, got laid-off, or lived in the path of a hurricane.

People who were born with illnesses and birth defects.

The point of all this is, no one brought this on themselves.  And even if it seems like people did bring it on themselves, we never can really know that, can we?

In cases where it is perceived that someone did “bring it on themselves”, as, for example and according to some people, in the case of drug or alcohol addiction, does that mean that this one decision, this first decision to drink/use, means that this person has to suffer for the rest of his or her life?

Why?  Why does it mean that?  Give me a good answer to that, if you can.

The world is not fair.  Karma does not exist.  Just thinking things does not affect the material world.

But.

Thoughts lead to words, and words lead to action (hopefully), and actions are what do affect the material world.

Actions are what are desperately needed by people who need help.  Even if the “action” is just a kind word to a random stranger who is having a bad day.

It has been said to me that this blog makes people uncomfortable.  I have a solution for that.

Yes, you can just not read it.

Or you can help someone.  Anyone.  In any way.  And come back to this blog and write a comment about it.

Heck, write an entire article about it – I will gladly cede my space to publish your good deed as a blog post.

Conversely, if you need help, please post a comment or even a blog entry.  I will publish it.  I will ask readers to help, and/or I will help find a solution to your problem.

Just remember, everything you say, everything you do, has the possibility to touch someone in a real, tangible way, for good or bad.  Make the conscious decision to use your words or deeds to help someone instead of hurt them.

And, inaction in the face of suffering, is “doing bad”.  So please don’t ignore suffering when you encounter it.

This week’s weirdness comes from the LiveScience website, and it’s the top 10 weird stories of 2015.  Included are 2 stories about robots and 1 about a zombie apocalypse:

“From Blood Rain to Green Poo: 10 Weirdest Science Stories of 2015”, Elizabeth Palermo, LiveScience website, 12/25/2015.

Recommendation from Netflix: “Rosemary and Thyme“, a BBC show starring Felicity Kendal (who I have liked ever since I saw her in “The Good Life”, another BBC show) and Pam Ferris (who is also wonderful in “Call the Midwife“, a BBC show on Netflix that is an actual current show).

Be good.  Be kind.  Have a wonderful new year, and I hope it brings good things to all!

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “It’s Not Your Fault: “Karma” and the Fair World Myth

  1. charlies5169

    Excellent post. Yes, I very much agree with you and then some. But remember, more times than not, people take this attitude because it absolves them From having to think about things. Like the universe being so random or maybe there is no master plan and an accident is just that… An accident. It’s up to the affected individuals to decide the appropriate, (but not necessarily correct) response.

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  2. Victoria Post author

    Yes, so often things happen randomly. It’s hard for people to get their heads around that. Myself, I really want to believe in a fair world, but the closest I come to it is trying to MAKE it a fair world – I guess that’s the only thing we can do.

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  3. Gray Ammons

    There are no laws of the universe. People are not punished or rewarded for their actions. There is only one true axiom. All is random chaos. You have a small amount of control over your own life. People’s opinions are based on the social cast in which they live. Therefore I have found that responding to people who irk me or those that care for me for that matter respond in return according to how I deal with them. Example, most people no matter what the discussion is about only want their own opinions validated. So by agreeing with them they are pleased and go away and leave me be. By agreeing but giving them another line of reasoning tangental to what they think enters me into conversation with them at which time I can feed them bullshit or give them facts that might adjust their thought patterns. Then I have become responsible for what comes after. Reactions vary from anger to revelation. One must ask themselves, “Do you really care what this person thinks of me or my beliefs?” For me the answer is no. It is all just a mental game of ping pong. I care about who I care about and the rest get whatever devilish nonsense I wish to feed them. You seem to feel that there is a need to change people’s ideas and that it is a shortcoming on your part that you can’t. Don’t worry be happy it doesn’t matter. The essence of it is that people’s opinions are like waves on a beach. They roll in, they disappear and another comes along behind it. So don’t let people bother you. Enjoy life to your utmost ability. Tell people what you want in a positive fashion or tell them total crap. In the end it is all the same. But then that’s just my opinion.

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  4. Victoria Post author

    Good post! You and I agree on many, many things.

    The reason I care so much about what people think is because thoughts lead to action. When I hear people – anyone from Donald Trump to your average person – express opinions about the poor, elderly, disabled, and so on that are wrongheaded and cruel, I care very much because the way they think leads them to not help when they could, or even vote to pass laws that hurt those vulnerable populations.

    This is something I cannot stress enough. It’s not about ME, it’s about ALL of us. The reason I write so much about what it’s like to be poor, disabled, and near 60 is to enlighten people, so they can then treat others more decently or even go out and help someone.

    People can and do change their minds, but they don’t do that in a vacuum and sometimes I actually get through to people who then say to me, “You know, I never really looked at it that way.” This in turn might lead them to educate someone else, or give to charity, or just stop being an asshole to the next down-and-out person they encounter.

    If no one challenges the way someone thinks, then it’s tacit agreement. I do pick my battles, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have time to think about anything else. But in this day and age, the things I hear are so outrageously (and dangerously) bigoted and small-minded that to have that pass by with nary a word of disagreement seems to me to be wrong…and these are things that are said directly to me, either verbally or in text. I can respond in no other way than to attempt to set them straight.

    Maybe the next time they will at least think, before they approach someone they do not know and spew hatred towards people who have done nothing to them except exist.

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    1. Victoria Post author

      Have to add, too, that this kind of reasoning – the idea that I can change peoples’ minds – is due in large part to my education and practice in psychology. I have met very few therapists who didn’t go into the field in order to save the world, one person at a time. Lol we all have complexes that way, it seems.

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