Tuesday, February 28
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The concept of karma may be derived from a genetic program that synchronizes cultures when they are in danger of collapse. The idea being to repair broken social ties, and dampen the effect of malicious gossip, backstabbing and other punitive behavior that can shred the social web. The point of any prophesy or religious path is to create a stable, deeply connected social network, so as not to fragment into tribalistic clans with no coherent ethical code or ability to defend against better organized tribes. It's not about punishment at all, but of course, we have that ingrained idea that religion is all about punishing and judging others, as opposed to making peace or repairing what is broken by "sin".
Doing good purely out of fear of punishment might be a misuse of the idea, adding more "bad karma". If it's not positive and heartfelt, it's mechanical and won't lead to much lasting good, although it may ease someone's physical burden in the short term. Homeless people don't need you to toss them a quarter out of pity. They need eye contact, someone to listen to their story and help them get their heads clear. A society that fails the poor or treats them as karmic sponges will collapse, eventually. That's the meaning of the Biblical Sodom story, it had nothing to do with the Queer Eye guys riding around on chariots giving makeovers. It had to do with an atmosphere of tribalistic cruelty, a prison-like environment where male rape would have been a realistic fear. America won't fall because for legalizing gay marriage or abortion. If it falls, it will be because of its insular attitude and predatory behavior toward other cultures. The Whore of Babylon is described as fabulously wealthy, the empire the entire world goes to for trade and exploitation. That's obviously not Iraq, poor as dirt. That's us, if we don't shape up. The Christian militia movement, which went back underground after the Timothy McVeigh incident, used to describe America as Babylon, until they got one of their own in the White House. What they'll do if Hillary wins office, is anybody's guess.