Week – #5 Karma, Cause and Effect, Real or Myth

I have found stepping back and looking at some ‘truth’ with the possibility at least of it being a myth offers some freedom to see it newly.  We live on a planet where not that long ago most people knew the planet was flat. You still say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  I am afraid it does no such thing. The sun does not move at all and you, attached to the planet, spin by it daily.  Living at 6000 feet, able to see two mountain ranges to the west, the experience of being in motion is easier to accept.

What if your money is the tax someone pays you for their total compensation?

What if your money is the tax someone pays you for their total compensation?

Ralph Waldo Emerson penned ‘Compensation’ over 170 years ago. Some refer to this as The GREAT LAW, others say Karma, many say Cause and Effect or the Law of Action and Reaction.  Emerson called it the law of compensation.

I believe in luck and fate and I believe in karma, that the energy you put out in the world comes back to meet you. – Chris Pine

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The reception of the essay was nearly universally bad from his contemporaries and ever since.  After much review I only see people ‘pricked and stung’ by Emerson’s wit and candor.  Henry David Gray, the chief protagonist of Emerson’s day wrote, “Emerson’s optimism could be nothing but a willful disregarding of the facts of life.”  As his childhood passion to write, his Compensation spends most of the tract on cause and effect.

Elsewhere Emerson wrote ‘Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.’

What if cause and effect is a myth?

bigbangWhen I was an early teen, I heard the following story.  Before time, before the Big Bang, something existed.  There is no knowing for how long because time had not been required yet.  What existed was capable of knowing everything that was knowable and it did.  Imagine a huge ‘something’ similar to a computer filled with every detail, every fact, and every possibility, everything that could ever be known, discovered, thought or imagined. What was missing was any experience of any of it.

Something blew itself up and nothing happened.  No experience, nothing happened, it was just the same.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. – Albert Einstein

The Big Bang began at the beginning of our time. We are the particles and pieces whose job is to acquire all the experience from all the knowledge that existed since before time.  Perhaps some of us accepted beforehand those parts least likely to happen without some ‘will’ involved.  Naturally, after accepting the challenge, as part of the conditions involved in the play our memory rebooted.

Another way to say it is, after the Big Bang [the First Cause] all that is occurring is effect, effect, effect, effect, effect… What appears as cause and effect is just a snap shot of an event that did not happen out of context with some new purpose but is just the next effect after untold and unknown previous effects all leading back to the First Cause.

Like micro and macroeconomics or like finite and infinite games or Euclidian and non-Euclidian geometries, attempting to apply the same ‘rules’ for behavior, truth, validity or possibility to both sets, cannot work.  Thinking from one set is unlikely to have the same outcome in a completely different set.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

In the case of infinite and finite games, the only rule that is true in both sets is you have to play.

The finite play for life is serious; the infinite play of life is joyous. – James Carse

Our strength grows out of our weakness. Not until we are pricked and stung and sorely compensation3shot at, awakens the indignation which arms itself with secret forces. A great man is always willing to be little. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It seems to me the redundant emphasis of the beginning passages on cause and effect… is for effect! DO NOT STOP no matter how you falter.  My favorite passage is:

There is no penalty to virtue; no penalty to wisdom; they are proper additions of being. In a virtuous action, I properly _am_; in a virtuous act, I add to the world; I plant into deserts conquered from Chaos and Nothing, and see the darkness receding on the limits of the horizon. There can be no excess to love; none to knowledge; none to beauty, when these attributes are considered in the purest sense. The soul refuses limits, and always affirms an Optimism, never a Pessimism. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once you accept the First Cause mission, there are no limits to what is possible!

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

cowardandwinnersRules are not valid because the Senate passed them, or because heroes once played by them, or because God pronounced them through Moses or Muhammad. They are valid only if and when players freely play by them. There are no rules that require us to obey rules. If there were, there would have to be a rule for those rules, and so on. – James Carse

For those who blame or call fortune luck. Luck is just one of God’s many nicknames!


31 thoughts on “Week – #5 Karma, Cause and Effect, Real or Myth

  1. It is a very deep question which cannot be answered by quotations but rather examined over and over again against the wealth of one’s personal experience.
    Not so long ago, and even today many people blindly accept what they were told as kids, what is trendy and those who use a modicum of thoughts tend to get lost in them rather than let the experience come forth. When you examine the idea of cause and effect, as with philosophies who truly spend quality time debating, examining, debating again, you first come to the understanding that pure “luck” does not really answers your questions. No more than an over riding expedient whatever names are given to them.

  2. Very potential and useful article about Karma !! I like the definition of Karma – ‘Compensation’ over 170 years ago. Some refer to this as The GREAT LAW, others say Karma, many say Cause and Effect or the Law of Action and Reaction. Emerson called it the law of compensation.

  3. You sure know how to wade into the deeper part of the ocean! I come at this from a different angle. I see the universe as intelligent and therefore all of life as intelligent. I think we get into trouble when we think that intelligence is “out there” or the reverse that we are intelligent and the rest of the universe not so much. So wisdom is intelligence, kindness is intelligence etc.

  4. great article as usual, i think building up enough good karma is a good life strategy whether actual karma is real or not, providing value to others will always benefit you

  5. I have found an inspired #quote – “Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

    The principle is simple: “Karma is the law of moral causation.”
    The philosophy, interpretation, discussion on so such subject – endless…

  6. Thanks Michael, great post. I do believe in “cause and effect” or I like to say as you sew, so shall you also reap. I also think that our fate is in our hands and we can live a life by design and not by default. 🙂

  7. I used to be an angry young man but I’m Karma now! Lol We all believe that we are owed a good life but we don’t always get it, so we rebel. My life changed dramatically 7 years ago and my views on life changed. I now believe in the saying “You get what you give!”

  8. I’ll allow the possibility, but so far I can’t really say such causation has ever been proven or at least adequately explained. But I have heard many people claiming something happened that confirmed this to be true, naturally they failed to provide any explanation why the same thing couldn’t simply be written off as coincidence. Human beings can rationalize anything, believing it or not believing it (I’m no different, much less better for that matter), so the way I see it, believing in karma, really comes down to a personal choice.

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