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Re: JRC's Karma

May 17, 1995 09:04 PM
by jrcecon


> I think the key to your puzzle would be if you could accept that
> all beliefs, & universal truths are relative....  related to what
> you can perceive though your subjective senses.  When you think
> you're being objective, you're trying, but what you perceive is
> still & always partly dependent on what's inside you.  You might
> be myopic, you might get a coloration because you relate what you
> perceive to certain past experiences, there's always Maya, in
> some form.  The outcome of a scientific experiment is partly
> dependent on the observer ..  scientifically proven by the
> particle physicists.

Yes, I'm aware of the arguments of the post-modernists ...  they
are all the rage in academic social sciences & humanities
departments right now, but I fear I don't believe the entire
universe is subjective.  Particle physicists, however, did not
prove that all scientific experiments are dependent upon the
observer; they reached a point in their studies where the act of
studying something like an electron required interference with
its behaviour, because the smallest instruments used for the
study (photons & etc.) existed at the same scale as the electrons
themselves ...  but this doesn't mean light isn't still used to
look at (for instance) plants or viruses under microscopes, and
it certainly doesn't necessarily mean that a meaningful
distinction between an objective viewpoint and purely subjective
belief has disappeared (though some schools of philosophy seem to
attempt to draw this conclusion).

My perception of universal truths may be partial, or incomplete,
or colored, but that doesn't mean the truth itself is not
universal, nor does it mean that there are not varying degrees of
Maya, with complete delusion at one end and total clarity at the
other.  It was Eliphas Levi, I think (do you remember, Alan?) who
said that "Truth is idea identical with being" ...  i.e., that it
is possible, and a spiritual goal, to reach a point where human
awareness is capable of perfect, undistorted reflection of the

> You say something to the effect that the Law of Karma is just
> accepted by many Theosophists without being first "subjected to
> rigorous examination before it is accepted...  especially as a
> guide for behavior." and you say that "the rigorous examination
> approach is very rare in the TS".  I haven't been at Conventions
> for years, nor do I often get to seeing Theosophists, your
> picture is completely strange to me.  The Theosophy I learned &
> have long practiced is exactly one of never accepting anything at
> all, unless I've first thoroughly tested it out to my own
> satsfaction, in whatever way I felt like testing it out.

I was not trying to take shots at any Theosophist (though my
post, upon reflection, was prob'ly a bit more strident than is
the norm of my usual sweet self :-) ...  apologies to all for the
tone ...  I has a week of listening to both a Christian berate me
for not grasping the "truth" of Our Lord, and a new-ager attempt
to "enlighten" me about the eight different lifetimes whose karma
he "knew" was currently trapping me in my present viewpoint,
especially the parts of it that didn't agree with his ...).

Only point I was trying to make is that I travel in a lot of
circles, and only in a couple of them is karma even
conceptualized, let alone accepted, but in those that talk about
it, it seems utterly accepted ...  even on this list, probably
the most free-wheeling, non-dogmatic Theosophical forum I've had
the pleasure of experiencing, I've yet to see anyone express any
serious doubts about the existance of the principle of karma
(with the exception of Jerry, who appears to be re-thinking it in
some very interesting directions) ...  yet for much, if not most
of America, it is most definately not something about which there
is that little question.

> With the above argument falls into place that what is claimed as
> universal law is indeed dependent upon personal experience.  How
> else can you perceive it? And to repeat myself, as long as you
> mention gravity as being universal, remember the astronauts shown
> on TV, or on video tape if you're to young to have seen the moon
> landings as they happened, bouncing around on the surface of the
> moon.  Moon gravity needs to be responded to in quite a different
> way than earth gravity.  So what's universal? Well, there seems
> to be gravity all over the universe, but it seems not always to
> manifest the same way.  I accept that on faith, because our
> scientists tell us so ...  until they discover something else &
> change their minds again.

Well, you seem to have made my point for me.  The astronauts
bouncing around on the moon, and the virtual weightlessness in
space was *fully predicted* by the laws of gravity as formulated
by earth scientists, in fact, if the law of gravity was not able
to predict, with fairly stunning accuracy, the conditions on the
moon, the moon landing would have been a fairly ugly disaster.
The universal nature of the law is what allows moon landings, and
Juptiter flybys, and much of the somewhat breathtaking
astronautical adventures of our race.  And it did not matter
*which* astronauts did the landings ...  their personal feelings
about gravity would not have saved them if NASA scientists had
not precisely formulated an objective law, and used it to
successfully predict lunar conditions.  And yes, scientists do
change their minds a lot, as knowledge grows, an "idea becomes
more identical with being", in fact what they are willing to do
throw out conceptions of universal laws that are shown to be in
error, or partial.  This is generally cited in popular culture as
a reason to doubt science, but is (IMO) its highest virtue.
Having spent time in both scientific and metaphysical circles, I
have found the former somewhat more willing than the latter to
seriously question their own premises and assumptions.  I do
understand those who choose the devotional/belief path to the
All, and that its approach is different than the one I take.
Some start with faith, and refine through intensity of belief ...
I start with doubt, and refine with re-examination and
demonstration ....  For my road, being clear about what is known,
what is presumed, and what simply can't be known given the
present state of my faculties is required.  A common failing is
framing truth too narrowly.  But by the same token, a common
failing of the road of belief is that truth is framed too
broadly, every personal truth at any stage of development is hd
with total certainty, and universalized to apply to everyone.
People were speaking of karma with the tone of absolutism, and I
simply wanted to introduce another (IMO quite underrepresented)
viewpoint into the discussion.

> Anyway, that's my belief system, & I like it because for me it
> answers more questions to my satisfaction than your beliefs
> answered for me, when I held them.  You say "I want something
> more powerful than 'I feel intuitively'..", the answer to that
> wish of yours is that whatever proof is most powerful to you is
> what you should accept.  & if no such powerful proof exists, then
> you're dealing with a belief you shouldn't accept.  To be a
> Theosophist, all you need to accept is the relatedness of
> humankind.  .(Brotherhood etc.) "We're putting everything else on
> the table," say the Republicans.  I wonder whether that helps you
> sort out.

Oh, yes, I agree 100%, and this is exactly the point I was trying
to make ...  that a few posters (and you were not one of them)
talk commonly not as though they are engaged in a search, but as
though they have some sort of absolute answers that they are
simply waiting for others to become enlightened enough to
understand.  In fact, I am not troubled at all by the principle
of karma ...  it has no relevance in my world-view, nor do I feel
any particular need to integrate it.  I do currently think that
there is a sort of predilection for human thoughts, emotions, and
behaviour to tend towards the formation of patterns, which, when
they begin to operate unconsciously, may produce some of the
phenomena people ascribe to karma ...  but I also think that
there is another, balancing principle that tends to dissolve
patterns, that patterns have life-spans of sorts, etc., etc.  In
my own conceptual reality, I also currently operate with 5
dimensions of space and three of time as assumptions underlying
my perceptual reality, and much of what is called both
"synchronicity" and "karmic effects" appear to me to be nothing
other than the aftereffects of fourth and fifth dimensional
objects bisecting three dimensional space (sure as hell didn't
express that very well, but its late).  When I mentioned that I
want something more powerful than "I feel, intuitively ...", I
wasn't saying I'm on a desperate hunt to believe in karma, only
that (in response to Eldon's post that "inner certainty" was
sufficient for some things) when someone speaks as though they've
got God's truth, when they speak of karma as a universal law,
then yes, before I accept this as valid I would want to hear
something more powerful than subjective sensations of validity.

With love & giggles, JRC

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