Re: Inner Certainty
May 17, 1995 04:18 PM
by Murray Stentiford, Scientific Software and Systems Ltd
There are many points I would agree with in JRC's long post about
Karma, especially about the dangers that can arise when people
generalise from individual experience to the universal. I'd like
to put a few of my responses into words, and leave others
unwritten as my time is a bit limited at the moment.
> If there is a universal "law" of Karma, *why is it not
> universally accepted*?" Why has the process of evolution not, by
> now, thoroughly integrated such a truth into behavior? (As it has
> with the "law" of gravity ... Why is it that there are large
> numbers of the human population that would *not* admit it as a
It seems to me that an unconscious or conscious awareness of
karma-like, perceivable patterns of consequences from given types
of physical action or situations *is* deeply imbedded in the
behaviour of a vast range of living things. When the probability
of a certain outcome is somehow perceived as high, living things
tend to learn and change their behaviour to seek or avoid the
outcome, whichever is appropriate.
I feel it is quite legitimate to say that karma in the *physical*
world, is both observable, and supported by intuitive insights,
on a wide scale.
This is a bit like the match (within the relatively small quantum
fluctuations) between the observable path of a ball thrown in the
air, and the mathematical equations we can frame to describe it.
It says something significant about our imbeddedness in reality
that physical behaviour can be matched to a high degree by a
mental, mathematical concept or model. There's mystery here (as
in most places!).
Of course, theosophical concepts of karma are not restricted to
the physical world. In fact, they overlook it a bit, I think, to
It's the *extension* of karma/consequence concepts to realms of
emotion, thought and beyond that can lead us into problem areas,
for the simple reason that the sensory equipment of the great
majority of humanity in these realms is much less developed than
would be required to support typical theosophical karma concepts
by first-hand experience.
We're told that some individuals like the Masters can see these
sorts of interactions for themselves much better than the rest of
us, but meanwhile, more "ordinary" mortals are left with issues
of trust, belief, authority, intuition and, as JRC points out,
the tendency to lay our beliefs on others in ways that are not
appropriate either for us or for them.
So, this would be partly why "there are large numbers of the
human population that would *not* admit it [karma] as a truth".
Cultural conditioning has a lot to do with it too, in the absence
of clear first-hand perception.
> I also consider it at least possible that it is a sort of moral
> dogma, introduced deliberately by members of the inner kingdom
> for the benefit of human civilization. ... I do not question
> their motives, but I also believe them fully capable of using
> white lies (even really *huge* white lies) as a means of
I'd rather think of these ideas as stepping stones offered to us.
A stepping stone has to be within reach to be of value. We also
need to need to step off it when we're ready.
> In short, I have *no* certainty, inner or outer, about what Karma
> is, or even whether it actually exists as a principle in lives
> other than those who have internalized it as an operative
I find myself less willing to make definite-sounding statements
about much of the "received wisdom" found in the TS and
elsewhere, not because I'm getting more doubt-filled, but because
I'm becoming more aware that sometimes it's not appropriate for
me to tell the universe what it is, but rather to listen to what
it has to say.
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