• XanderTheGrey
    111
    Im a nihilist, if I could get away with anything, their is literally nothing I would not do.

    But I'm very curious and fascinated about karma. Is there any research on the existence of karma, but more importantly how the attitude of believing in karma effects someones success?

  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    The word 'karma' is derived from the Sanskirt root 'kr-' originally meaning 'hand' but with the connotation of 'deed' or 'action'.

    Hindus have long believed in karma in the sense that ethically correct actions bring about appropriate results, even in future lives. This is the concept of 'karmic merit' or punya, The Buddha adapted the concept but modified it, saying that karma wasn't simply the result of correctly-performed rituals, but in fact was the consequence of *any* intentional action - good, bad, or neutral. This connection between intent and action was a key development in the idea of karma and is still understood as a fundamental ethical principle in Buddhism.

    However, karma is often misrepresented in support of fatalism to assign blame - 'it's their karma' - or even to blame myself - 'it must be my karma'. My view is that the only benefit of belief in karma is that if it is understood to guide action, i.e. what will the consequences of this action be? If it is used to assign blame or rationalise guilt, then it easily morphs into fatalism and/or superstition. But if understood correctly, I'm sure it is a profound moral principle.

    As for research - what would constitute a research program? Have a look at this article concerning research into children who remember their past lives. There appears to be evidence in such cases of physical injuries in one life being transmitted in the form apparent birthmarks in the next. But the article notes 'Interestingly, and contrary to most religious notions of reincarnation, there was zero evidence of karma.' But again - what would you accept as 'evidence'?

    I suppose the kind of answer you offer might depend on your karma ;-)
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    I soppouse i was looking to see an examination of correlations between those who believe in or pretend that karma exists, and personal success.

    Brain scans and mental development tests of those who are pro-karma vs. those who are anti-karma.

    Percentages of self made millionaires that identify as pro-karma vs. percentage of those in post retirement(60yrs old) poverty that are pro-karma.

    All to see if karma is a good thing to adopt into my beliefs and or superstitions. I will do whatever it takes to succeed in my own eyes, if adopting certin superstitions that I know are not true will even give me a psychological edge; then I will adopt them.
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    Any attempt to scientifically prove the existence of karma would surely sound like pseudo-science. And believing in pseudo-science is definitely bad karma :-)
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    no im more interested in proving weather beliving in it or even pretending that it exists does infact increase your chances of personal success.
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    Well, my serious answer is that I think karma makes perfect sense, but I don't think you can look to science to validate it.

    But if you accept that it's true, what's the worst that can happen? It would seem to me, you would only be disappointed if you were expecting something to happen as a result, and it didn't happen. But I don't think that is a good reason to believe in it.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    Thought it was best to retract what I said here in this comment.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    So I wonder about karma sometimes.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    And I want to keep eyes out for anything that increases my odds of success.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    I noticed many successful people talk about karma
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    I think the problem is, you're thinking like a gambler or a businessman. You want a good bet, something you know is going to work. That in itself is a certain kind of karma, but maybe not in the way that businessmen or gamblers think.

    I noticed many successful people talk about karmaXanderTheGrey

    'Whatever he's having, I'll have some of that'.
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    I am often sadistically driven, and get urges to hurt people.XanderTheGrey

    The only possible helpful wish, from a karmic perspective, is to get free of that. My advice would be: whatever it takes.
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    actually - and this is an internet forum and nothing said here constitutes formal advice - it's possible that your sadistic urges come from something that was done to you. So now the memory of that is causing you to want to act it out again. That is an example of karma, and it's a serious matter, millions of people get caught up in these kinds of problems and it causes great suffering. So actually, even though you think you're asking how you can use karma to gain an advantage, maybe what's really happening is, you're realising this is karma you need to get free of, so you've joined up here and are asking the question. And *that* is good karma! So make use of it. The chances to get free of karma don't come along often, and the consequences of not doing it, can last a long time.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    I love my sadism, I want to just embrace it, it feels like true freedom to be myself. I just know that it is not socially acceptable, that its a very merkey lake to swim in.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    This is probably a topic for another thread. I think this question I've proposed about karma and success is an interesting one.
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    I love my sadism, i want to just embrace it, it feels like true freedom to be myself.XanderTheGrey

    yeah, this is the internet. I should always remember that. :-*
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    I dont take your meaning.
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    But I'm a fan of james cameron hahahahaha
  • Pacem
    40
    what is this topic doing here, in "philosophy of science"?
    what an absurdity...
  • MikeL
    644
    The Buddha adapted the concept but modified itWayfarer

    Hi Wayfarer,
    How is Karma conceptualised in Buddhism? Is it thought of as an energy field or an omnipotent hand or something like that ?
  • Wayfarer
    7.8k
    If you're asking for an explanation of why karma occurs or how it works, Buddhism doesn't provide one. As far as Buddhism is concerned, it's an irreducible fact, in the same sense that Western people regard the 'laws of physics' as an irreducible fact.
  • MikeL
    644
    When Buddha refined the definition of Karma from being a result of rituals to being a consequence of actions, was this akin to saying there is no god (rituals), its all physics (irreducible fact)? How did the people react to that?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    One way to view Karma would be "we are the consequences of our actions", i.e. we are Memory, and we c carry this memory through multiple lives. So if we wish to change we have to change our direction. The Daoists put it in a different way:

    "If you don't change direction, you'll end up where you are going."
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    I love my sadism, i want to just embrace it, it feels like true freedom to be myself. I just know that it is not socially acceptable, that its a very merkey lake to swim in.
    3 hours ago
    XanderTheGrey
    12
    This is probably a topic for another thread. I think this question ive proposed about karma and success is an interesting one.
    XanderTheGrey

    It probably is a different thread topic. Why don't you start it? We haven't discussed the aesthetics, ethics, or erotics of S & M or B & D recently. If you do, bear in mind that your thread needs to pass the moderators smell test. Take the high road in your opening post. (Don't go into a lot of nitty gritty detail). You don't want to frighten the horses.

    Now, there's sadism and then there's sadism. Are you referencing a sexual practice where the sadist whips the consenting and eager masochist (real whip, real pain, real blood) or beats him up as part of a sexual scene, or are you talking about torturing people for your satisfaction alone, whether they consented or not?

    The karmic consequences would probably be unfavorable for your case if you just liked to beat people up for the literal hell of it.

    There 's a couple of cultural pieces you might like to take in: A film, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italian: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma), titled Pasolini's 120 Days of Sodom on English-language prints[2] and commonly referred to as simply Salò (Italian: [saˈlɔ]), is a 1975 Italian-French horror art film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is based on the book The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. I saw it in 1976 at the University Film Society in Minneapolis. Some conservative legislators threatened to defund the Film Society, punish the University of Minnesota, or burn the projectionist at the stake. The police threatened to seize the film as obscene. It could not have had better publicity for any price. The film quite effectively evoked disgust, actually, but nobody walked out. It had good production values. Quality trash.

    Another item you might like is “Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward: Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade” by Justin Spring recounts the life of Sam Steward, an English professor at a Chicago University (can't remember, sorry). He was fired when the university found out that Steward was running a tattoo parlor. They would have fired him a lot sooner had they known the whole story.

    Steward was a classic masochist who needed a good beating every now and then, plus some humiliating (fulfilling) sex. And beaten up he was, sometimes ending up in the hospital. He appreciated that there were sadists who would oblige him (they were a rare commodity). “He paid the price for being himself,” Mr. Spring said, “but at least he got to be himself.”

    Steward was a high flyer, including in his circle Thornton Wilder, Paul Cadmus, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Christopher Isherwood, Alfred Kinsey, the photographer George Platt Lynes, and various Chicago toughs. Great book!
  • Bitter Crank
    8k
    Im a nihilist, if i could get away with anything, their is literally nothing i would not do.XanderTheGrey

    All to see if karma is a good thing to adopt into my beliefs and or superstitions. I will do whatever it takes to succeed in my own eyes, if adopting certin superstitions that i know are not true will even give me a psychological edge; then i will adopt them.XanderTheGrey

    Assimilation worked well for the Borg of Star Trek fame; I doubt if it would work for you. [You will be assimilated; resistance is futile. You will comply.] You seem a bit too ruthlessly realistic to benefit from adopted superstitions. Do you carry a rabbit's foot with you for good luck? Do you pray for success? Do you avoid inauspicious numbers? I bet not.
  • MikeL
    644
    "If you don't change direction, you'll end up where you are going."Rich

    Hi Rich,
    I like this quote. If we are a memory field though, changing direction may be a harder then it appears.
  • MikeL
    644
    Anyway Rich, I might jump off this thread and catch up with you on another.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I like this quote. If we are a memory field though, changing direction may be a harder then it appears.MikeL

    Yes, change its difficult. It takes patience and lots of experimentation. A Yogi gone wrote that Karma is like a every deep lake and the raindrops falling on the surface, from a single lifetime, can only change so much. We must have lots of patience. Tai Chi teaches patience.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    Karma is one of those quick fixes to a problem that, apparently, has no solution.

    Namely, the problem of locating a beginning. In the world on a human scale everything seems to have a beginning and, of course, an end.

    However, the beginning of life, the universe, and anything on that scale, is a problem. For one thing, we can always ask ''what was there before a particular beginning?"

    To avoid this people invent a circular paradigm that effectively, or not, dissolves the problem of beginnings. Karma is one of such paradigms.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    However, karma is often misrepresented in support of fatalism to assign blame - 'it's their karma' - or even to blame myself - 'it must be my karma'. My view is that the only benefit of belief in karma is that if it is understood to guide action, i.e. what will the consequences of this action be? If it is used to assign blame or rationalise guilt, then it easily morphs into fatalism and/or superstition. But if understood correctly, I'm sure it is a profound moral principle.Wayfarer

    But to put our life situation, whatever that might be, in the context of our past deeds (lives) is entirely reasonable if you believe in Karma. I thought of something. Wait.

    I think the logic works like this:

    If you're bad (cause) then you'll suffer (effect). That's to say, bad deeds lead to suffering.

    However, here's the interesting bit:

    If you suffer then it doesn't follow that you were bad. It could be that other people are bad or ignorant, hopefully the latter.


    Your anti-fatalistic interpretation of Karma makes sense that way.

    But then, if that's the case, and I haven't talked about good deeds, it means doing good is no guarantee for happiness in the next life. Doesn't that significantly weaken the ethical appeal of Karma, to say nothing of the fact that Karma, like all religious ethics, is an argumentum ad baculum.

    Any attempt to scientifically prove the existence of karma would surely sound like pseudo-science.Wayfarer

    Why is that? I think Karma is one of the most scientific of religious claims. It's simple, explains evil/suffering, coherent (at least more so than the beliefs of other religions) and, above all, testable.

    Since, people are reborn, we can confirm/disconfirm Karma and with past lives, memories can be tested (your post mentioned children with past life memories).
  • XanderTheGrey
    111
    Assimilation worked well for the Borg of Star Trek fame; I doubt if it would work for you. [You will be assimilated; resistance is futile. You will comply.] You seem a bit too ruthlessly realistic to benefit from adopted superstitions. Do you carry a rabbit's foot with you for good luck? Do you pray for success? Do you avoid inauspicious numbers? I bet not.Bitter Crank

    Before I say anything else I want to first thank you for those referances Bitter Crank, I still very young and spent most of my life outside any good form of education. You giving me refrences for rare works that I may enjoy on the deepest levels of my personality strikes me as a very kind and caring thing to do. I will be giving them a look the next time I feel alone in this world. Which will probably be in the next 20 minutes.

    And to everyone else, well, I really didn't expect this forum to be so active. I'm overwhelmed with the extent of the responses. But it just so happens that I now have more time on my hands than ever, so I feel I should address each sincere and or lengthy response with another response; if not one at a time, or one per day, and simply for the effort of establishing some respect and repoire, as I'd like to benifit atleast alittle from this forum somehow.

    Now Bitter Crank; this is just it you see, you speak here as if one can benifit from adopting a superstition. Then you say, l'm "too ruthlessly realistic" to benefit from one. Are you saying that realism free of superstitions is a superior formula component for personal success, and that adopting a superstitous belife would be a downgrade? Or are you saying that it has to do with me? That I may be a natural realist, and that a natural realist cannot hold sufficient stable faith in a superstition.

    Would you then go on to say that you must fully belive in a superstition in order to benefit from it? You see I was heading in the direction of the qestion: "does adhering to similar patterns in which those who belive in karma adhere to, seem to result in a similar amount of personal success, regardless of wether or not the person belives in karma?" This is my secound objective in asking the original qestion im sure you can see; "to look for patterns that seem to lead to success." I dont know how to conduct an experiment to answer such a question, but I feel that one could certainly be conducted, and that it is indeed a scientific question; even if I'm failing to ask it in scientific terms dispite my efforts to do so.
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