Seen through a mud-puddle (top photo)
It’s funny – more than one thinker has pointed out that the way we westerners have adopted the word “Karma” – as a running commercial account of our sins vs virtues – has almost nothing to do with it’s original incarnation (if you’ll forgive the wording). We’ve turned it into a moralistic synthesis of consumerism and essentially Christian concepts of good and bad.
But all that aside – I still really miss it! Even if we were (as so often) fooling ourselves into thinking we were adopting, instead of insulting, ancient wisdom, we still worked some attempt at thinking about consequences into our version – and this is an entirely appropriate way to think about the world.
Another idea that came into popular awareness with it, was considering the way that our frames for viewing the world, affect our capacity to understand and relate-to the essential humanity of others.
What does using this idea-tool as a central thought long term, do to my soul?
Thanks to extremely high levels of popular frustration and the glorious diversity of internet craziness – it’s now easy to come up with a whole bunch of ‘rational’ reasons to despise any group or individual person on earth.
But where exactly does anger get us? Feels exciting – and it does indeed help one to quickly recruit a whole bunch of angry people around a banner. And then what?
It is sort of lovely and sort of heartbreaking to hear young people talking about socialism and even revolution again – as one often did back in the eighties.
Lovely because we really are doing a hundred miles an hour straight toward a brick-wall – our entire modern economy is structured as an ecological suicide pact – and in one view – we are all just going through the motions – hastening the end in the name of individual survival, until we are finally presented with some better and more sensible (that is, long-term survivable) motions to go through!
For my youthful rebel friends on this track, I must recommend “The Rebel” by Camus – by far his most useful work. You want to be a serious change agent? Excellent – but study is part of making yourself fit for this task – and learning from the lessons of others who felt the same way long before us, crucial.
I studied revolution so much that I talked myself out of that path altogether – the difficulty is simple as hell. Those who hold power will go to incredible lengths to hold on to it – including serious sustained violence. To defeat them in direct confrontation, most often means empowering a leader who is even more vicious or unprincipled than the previous establishment. Problematic, to say the least – especially when the goal is to advance the whole society.
Which leaves us with one path – gentle social revolution – from the ground-up – which means convincing the people around us to not only share the ideas we wish to advance, but act upon that, represent, and vote them into office.
Much much harder work – needs patience, tons of getting over ourselves, and the courage to understand people who aren’t like us at all, and yet find that their very different frames of understanding work just fine.
Anger can raise a huge group of people – but the group almost always fails to persuade anyone who starts off outside of their frame – because their group reasoning begins from their formation-anger. Vengeance is simply a wrong foundation – bad karma! ;o) The only way to build, is with genuine aspiration in our hearts.
Shining purpose – the most reliable anti-Babel spray, on our handy utility belt!
Reasons to justify – everywhere. Where it gets us (and cause)? Nowhere fast.