T Nation

Do You Believe in Karma?


#21

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
is it truly good if you only do something (or refrain from doing something) out of fear of retribution from whatever Higher Power you believe in? If you are tempted by things that should not tempt you in the first place (such as acts of revenge, for instance) is it really “good” if you resist this urge, or is it only “good” if the urge isn’t there to begin with? How much “karmic retribution” can you really expect if many of your acts of kindness are only aimed at furthering your own karmic standing in life? Does genuine altruism exist at all? If it does, is this the only path to “salvation”?[/quote]

You ask really good questions. Most of these questions can be threads by themselves.


#22

[quote]debraD wrote:
I’m an atheist but I still believe that being a dick increases your chances of being dicked around. It’s more of a mathematical question than spiritual IMO.[/quote]

Same here.

Nothing superstitious about it; just that if you fuck over or piss off enough people it will add up and eventually someone will get their revenge on you - which is a form of “karma making its rounds” if you will.


#23

I’m hoping they’ll be able to transplant our brains into new bodies soon.


#24

I do. But like DB said, I believe it’s something that happens over lifetimes and is not immediate. And if you are doing something just to get ‘good karma’, your intentions are not pure.


#25

In general yes, I believe in Karma. Not sure I believe in heaven and hell, but there really does seem to be something to “if you’re a nasty, miserable person, and that’s the ‘energy,’ for lack of a better word, that you put out, that’s what you’ll get back. And if you’re kind, happy go lucky and see the good in things, that’s what you’ll get.”

I think DB brings up a good point tho, that it’s not merely a suppression of negative desires, it’s not having those desires (well, he brought up a lot of good points). I’d also point out, OP, that if you are going to believe in stuff eventually evening out/people getting what they deserve, etc. A “few shitty months” shouldnt be rocking your belief system. If you’re talking karma, it’s over the course of your life, and if you’re including heaven and hell, much longer than that


#26

It worked for this guy…


#27

[quote]Ghost22 wrote:

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:
The thought of karma (and heaven) are nice ones, but I don’t believe in either.

I still treat people well, refuse to screw anyone over and strive to live a good life, even though I’ll probably wind up as worm food just like everyone else…[/quote]

Pretty much sums up my thoughts exactly.

Except I’m banking on a robot body.

C’mooooon immortality![/quote]

cryogenic freezing here. wake me up when scientists have slowed the degenerative process enough i can live another 400 years.

all this talk about negative and positive thoughts brought something back to me. for every positive thought there is a negative. from the limited material i have read on neuroscience i gather that if you think of a positive there will be the negative not to far behind. even for the dalai lama. you can train yourself to not place as much emphasis on the negative, but it’s still there. in this case wouldn’t karma be a catch-22? i don’t know enough about it.

i would guess if it’s the actions that count then no, but thinking could be categorized as an action. both positive and negative being tallied simultaneously. it’s a zero sum game.


#28

Karma is bullshit.

Bad people do bad things because they can; good people do good things because they don’t have a choice.


#29

[quote]Vicomte wrote:
Karma is bullshit.

Bad people do bad things because they can; good people do good things because they don’t have a choice.[/quote]

This statement makes me want to kick a puppy.


#30

[quote]debraD wrote:
I’m an atheist but I still believe that being a dick increases your chances of being dicked around. It’s more of a mathematical question than spiritual IMO.[/quote]

THIS

(wassup Deb? wanna swap some Karma with your favorite Viking?)


#31

If I found myself in the unlikely position that I had to rule over, govern and control significant populations, how would I go about keeping the masses in line?

Hmmmm… I MIGHT make up a story about some “entity” that lived in the sky (but could somehow communicate with people on earth, although no one ever saw it) and let people in to heaven or condemn them to hell (even though no one can prove that either) depending on how they behaved. I would kill, burn or crucify anyone who disagreed. That would probably work.

OR on a different part of the planet AROUND the same time (Amazing how the Agricultural Era appeared simultaneously in different world zones creating COMMON problems that were addressed with VERY similar solutions). I MIGHT make up a set of “noble truths” for people to live by so that they may reach “enlightenment” in one of their MANY lifetimes. I would comfort them that if this lifetime sucked, you can always come back as a PRINCE in your NEXT lifetime - as long as you are good…

I think that BOTH of those ideas would be GREAT! I could control the population, coerce them into giving me ten percent of their money (on top of taxes), I could use it as an excuse to exercise ANY policy that I wanted but that might be a little “distasteful”, I could influence marriage and children (and increase my tax/tithe base), I could even have sex with a bunch of little boys and cover it up and not have any consequences!

Did I mention I could avoid paying taxes?

Sounds WIN/WIN to me!

Who want’s to start a religion with me? C’mon, these idiots will believe ANYTHING! Who’s with me?


#32

[quote]RSGZ wrote:

[quote]debraD wrote:
I’m an atheist but I still believe that being a dick increases your chances of being dicked around. It’s more of a mathematical question than spiritual IMO.[/quote]

Same here.

Nothing superstitious about it; just that if you fuck over or piss off enough people it will add up and eventually someone will get their revenge on you - which is a form of “karma making its rounds” if you will.[/quote]

I’m pretty much with this line of thought.


#33

[quote]Vicomte wrote:
Karma is bullshit.

Bad people do bad things because they can; good people do good things because they don’t have a choice.[/quote]

Sometimes, but I think most people just want to be good. Especially introspective types. I know my reflex is often a selfish one but with thought I do what is right even if it’s not in my best interest.


#34

[quote]angry chicken wrote:
If I found myself in the unlikely position that I had to rule over, govern and control significant populations, how would I go about keeping the masses in line?

Hmmmm… I MIGHT make up a story about some “entity” that lived in the sky (but could somehow communicate with people on earth, although no one ever saw it) and let people in to heaven or condemn them to hell (even though no one can prove that either) depending on how they behaved. I would kill, burn or crucify anyone who disagreed. That would probably work.

OR on a different part of the planet AROUND the same time (Amazing how the Agricultural Era appeared simultaneously in different world zones creating COMMON problems that were addressed with VERY similar solutions). I MIGHT make up a set of “noble truths” for people to live by so that they may reach “enlightenment” in one of their MANY lifetimes. I would comfort them that if this lifetime sucked, you can always come back as a PRINCE in your NEXT lifetime - as long as you are good…

I think that BOTH of those ideas would be GREAT! I could control the population, coerce them into giving me ten percent of their money (on top of taxes), I could use it as an excuse to exercise ANY policy that I wanted but that might be a little “distasteful”, I could influence marriage and children (and increase my tax/tithe base), I could even have sex with a bunch of little boys and cover it up and not have any consequences!

Did I mention I could avoid paying taxes?

Sounds WIN/WIN to me!

Who want’s to start a religion with me? C’mon, these idiots will believe ANYTHING! Who’s with me?

[/quote]

I can’t believe religions of any sort initially came into play for this reason. Ever since the dawn of consciousness when people thought that voice in their head was the voice of god they have been developing myths to account for its presence. Did rulers manipulate this to control the masses? Absolutely. Did they invent it to do so? I have to say no.

But, I’m with you. If L. Ron Hubbard can dot it, why not?


#35

[quote]angry chicken wrote:

OR on a different part of the planet AROUND the same time (Amazing how the Agricultural Era appeared simultaneously in different world zones creating COMMON problems that were addressed with VERY similar solutions). I MIGHT make up a set of “noble truths” for people to live by so that they may reach “enlightenment” in one of their MANY lifetimes. I would comfort them that if this lifetime sucked, you can always come back as a PRINCE in your NEXT lifetime - as long as you are good…

[/quote]

Wow AC I can’t believe I’ve never seen that connection between ancient civilizations before. That definitely is a big coincidence, too big a coincidence to ignore wouldn’t you say? It’s almost as if someone outside of those societies, someone who had the power to reach everyone, guided these confused infantile humans to (generally) the same ideas. That IS spooky. I wonder who could do that??


#36

[quote]kothreat wrote:
I can’t believe religions of any sort initially came into play for this reason. Ever since the dawn of consciousness when people thought that voice in their head was the voice of god they have been developing myths to account for its presence. Did rulers manipulate this to control the masses? Absolutely. Did they invent it to do so? I have to say no.

But, I’m with you. If L. Ron Hubbard can dot it, why not?
[/quote]

I think they molded the initial idea into something that would be used to easily control masses.


#37

[quote]NAUn wrote:

[quote]angry chicken wrote:

OR on a different part of the planet AROUND the same time (Amazing how the Agricultural Era appeared simultaneously in different world zones creating COMMON problems that were addressed with VERY similar solutions). I MIGHT make up a set of “noble truths” for people to live by so that they may reach “enlightenment” in one of their MANY lifetimes. I would comfort them that if this lifetime sucked, you can always come back as a PRINCE in your NEXT lifetime - as long as you are good…

[/quote]

Wow AC I can’t believe I’ve never seen that connection between ancient civilizations before. That definitely is a big coincidence, too big a coincidence to ignore wouldn’t you say? It’s almost as if someone outside of those societies, someone who had the power to reach everyone, guided these confused infantile humans to (generally) the same ideas. That IS spooky. I wonder who could do that??[/quote]

When talking about the evolution of species on the earth, the term ‘simultaneous’ can be used very loosely. The simultaneous budding of agriculture has a lot more to do with climate change than what you are hinting at. In other words, as we came out of the last ice age conditions became favorable to begin farming.


#38

[quote]angry chicken wrote:
If I found myself in the unlikely position that I had to rule over, govern and control significant populations, how would I go about keeping the masses in line?

Hmmmm… I MIGHT make up a story about some “entity” that lived in the sky (but could somehow communicate with people on earth, although no one ever saw it) and let people in to heaven or condemn them to hell (even though no one can prove that either) depending on how they behaved. I would kill, burn or crucify anyone who disagreed. That would probably work.

OR on a different part of the planet AROUND the same time (Amazing how the Agricultural Era appeared simultaneously in different world zones creating COMMON problems that were addressed with VERY similar solutions). I MIGHT make up a set of “noble truths” for people to live by so that they may reach “enlightenment” in one of their MANY lifetimes. I would comfort them that if this lifetime sucked, you can always come back as a PRINCE in your NEXT lifetime - as long as you are good…

I think that BOTH of those ideas would be GREAT! I could control the population, coerce them into giving me ten percent of their money (on top of taxes), I could use it as an excuse to exercise ANY policy that I wanted but that might be a little “distasteful”, I could influence marriage and children (and increase my tax/tithe base), I could even have sex with a bunch of little boys and cover it up and not have any consequences!

Did I mention I could avoid paying taxes?

Sounds WIN/WIN to me!

Who want’s to start a religion with me? C’mon, these idiots will believe ANYTHING! Who’s with me?

[/quote]

This is a flawed argument in many, many ways.

First of all the concept of religion first came into existence not as a way to rule, subjugate or coerce any civilization; it simply was a way for people who (at the time) had no contact with anyone outside their “tribes” to explain natural phenomena around them, ie earthquakes, floods, lightning, etc etc.

Secondly, while there certainly have been rulers who used religion to better organize and consolidate their power (Emperor Constantine being perhaps the best example), none of these rulers “invented” a religion. Religions started out as a way to explain things happening around them. As various civilizations sprang up around the Meditarranean basin and the Indian Ocean basins, these religions grew and changed, but in many ways the rulers simply adopted what was popular amongst the people in order to gain more legitimacy in the peoples’ eyes. Different cultures came into contact with one another as trade spread further and further across the continent and this helped introduce new religions that were simply variations of previous religions (Buddhism, Islam and Christianity to name a few).

Of course, there is the example of the concept of a “mandate of/from heaven” that was present during the Song and Tang dynasties in China, but again, this was not an invention of religion. You seem to assert that religion is a tool created specifically for the advancement of totalitarian regimes bent on subjugating those around them.

While religion has been used in this manner more often than not, religions were not created for this purpose whatsoever. The exist because people need to believe in something greater than themselves. But people also inherently need some sort of way to identify themselves and to belong to something. Religion fits this mold for the masses.

Regarding your “Agriculture Era”, this is easily explained and there is nothing “amazing” about it whatsoever. Civilizations grew larger and larger and the need for more advanced agricultural methods (in order to create food surpluses) became necessary. The Agriculture Era simply happened all over the globe at roughly the same time because of the latitudes in which they happened. Look at the areas in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia that flourished during this time. They all occurred along the same general latitude because these areas were the best-suited to grow a wide variety of crops.

Some people reject organized religion, and this is fine. But I think very little people actually reject the concept of a Higher Power. Even many atheists I talk to aren’t even aware that they are actually agnostics; people who simply accept that they do not understand or comprehend whatever it is that is “out there”. There are some who place more importance on the messenger than the message, but the reality is that these people are not wholly representative of any religion. They may be the most vocal, but they are in the minority. While this minority may be unfortunate, it is even more unfortunate to dismiss the concept of a Higher Power of any kind due to these sorts of people.

Faith is an essential part of being a human, and while this does not have to entail organized religion, it does entail a belief in Something bigger than ourselves. If we are our own Higher Power, than we are doomed, because we are inherently flawed. I don’t think this is a concept that is foreign to anyone. After all, like they say in the Marines: there aren’t any atheists in a foxhole. I think those who deny that there is any sort of Higher Power are being dishonest to a certain extent due to the feeling that a belief in such would lump them in with the crazies who are a part of ANY religion.


#39


#40

I believe that when I fart the gas omitted from my ass is somewhat detrimental to the Environment. Laughs and rips another fart, Machine-Gun Style