Re: More thoughts on abortion
Sep 24, 1995 05:20 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>In fact most of those who believe
>in a determinative law of karma will hold that the incoming soul does not
>blindly pick parents, but does so delibrately ... hence an incoming soul
>cannot be blind to whether or not a particular set of parents hold within
>them the predilection that would make it likely that an abortion
>would result from a pregnancy.
But I would say that karma is not deterministic. Our karma has made us what
we are today. The "karmic content" is really the living relationships that
we hold, deep in our natures, with others. Coming into birth may be by
chance in the sense that when we are ready to be born, we are drawn to
suitable parents. The parents are suitable because of their natures being
sympathetic to our own. We'd have to study the particular past-life history
of both the child and the parents to see how much this attraction resulted
from previous experiences together, in past lifetimes, and how much we are
talking about establishing a new relationship with unfamiliar, but
>That is, just as (again, if one operates
>within the "karma" paradigm) many births into bad families or brutal
>cultures are explained by saying that the child "knew" the conditions and
>"chose" them, so (it seems) it might equally be said that some incoming
>souls "chose" the experience of abortion - either to "pay off" past
>karma, or for other reasons.
This seems to over-simplify the idea of karma. We are not responsible for
the actions of others. We may know that they are predisposed to certain types
of action, like so-and-so has an explosive temper. But we are not responsible
for that person's temper, and have not associated ourselves with that person
because we're looking forward to experiencing it.
The choice of parents is like the choice of friends. When we go to a new place,
and meet new people, perhaps some of them will end up being friends. How do
we choose those friends? How much of it is old karmic ties being reactivated,
and how much is new ties being forged? We'd have to be able to read the past
to really tell, but that doesn't help much, because in a certain sense *the
past does not exist*! What exists of the past is in terms of *living content*
in our Shandhas and consciousness, and so it is a moot point, from this
point of view, if the karma is based upon old or newly-formed ties with other
>Very difficult to ascribe to the incoming
>soul a remarkable enough prophetic insight to be able to "choose" the
>parents, economic status, culture & etc. and somehow also be alledged to
>be blind to the probabilty of the parent/parents having an abortion.
When we say that we choose our parents, we are using terms we understand
to describe a process and state of consciousness that is outside the
experience of our normal, waking personality. How are we prophetic enough
to pick the right spouse?
>> Rather, abortion seems destructive all around.
>And you will never have to experience trying to raise a child alone
>with no education and nothing but poverty conditions even without a child.
It's hard to pass judgement on the quality of life of a child-to-be, based
upon the economic status of its western parent or parents. Even the worest
conditions in America are better than in some countries. I've heard examples
on the news, for instance, how in a famine in Africa a mother may have to let
one of her two babies die, because she does not have enough breast milk to
feed both of them. When we start to judge quality of life based upon an
arbitrary standard that we set up (and I'm not saying that you're doing so
here), we are going too far in forcing our judgements on others. Should
retarded or mentally-ill women be sterilized? Should the state impose
abortions based upon the economic policy of the land (like China with its
women)? The decision needs to be carefully made by the mother, but I'm
not sure that economic reasons are sufficient justification for the decision
to have an abortion.
>Additionally, our species' population problem is also immensely
>destructive, and to many lifeforms *other* than those within our own kingdom.
I expect that the human population won't be able to grow at its current
rate, but will reach a maximum, then decline, with an onset of either
infertility or some diseases and natural disasters to bring the population
back down. Nature adjustes itself, and too big a percentage of the human
lifewave in birth at any moment of time won't be tolerated.
>> Does this mean we should go around making women who have had or will
>> have abortions feel miserable? No, this would be cruel.
>Right ... and it is only your opinion that abortion is wrong;
Most people would agree that it is wrong, but not in an absolute sense
where other factors cannot come into play, and lead to a balanced, perhaps
heart-rending decision for or against it in a particular situation.
>as Liesel so well stated, women are not chattel - who are men, who will
>never have to have an abortion, nor will ever be able to fully grasp the
>subjective state behind that decision, to chose to make women feel bad or
>not feel bad?
A woman who has not had an abortion *in this lifetime* is in the same
position as a man. We've all had lifetimes as women, and had the various
experiences of childbirth and childrearing. Women not having been put to
the real-life situation of choosing an abortion are in the same position
as men, physical plumbing notwithstanding.
Agreed that women are not chattel, nor are men "meal tickets". There are
many social roles that are pressured upon us by current society. We can
play the roles or improvise our own manner of living.
>The curious thing is that the vast number of people
>currently in power, who are deciding whether abortion is "right" or
>"wrong", are men - who generally speak as though their standing to make
>such decisions isn't even open to question.
Blavatsky was not a man. The ideas that Theosophy are based upon do not come
from the particular social order of any particular society. We cann't use
the shortcomings of modern society or of some culture in the recent past to
bias our thinking.
> [JRC commenting to Rich]
>Education of what nature? If you mean education about a
>particular spiritual perspective, I cannot agree - as this implies a sort
>of moral/intellectual superiority, in which those who have abortions are
>implied to simply be those who have not yet "seen the light", and that
>naturally when they do, they will stop and repent of their "crime".
We see this "education" usually from the politically-correct crowd, who
would "train" us in the proper way to think, act, speak, write, and live
our lives according to their multicultural values. We're given a long list
of slogans to use in our communications. The same is true of fundamentalism
and the religious right, where people are ready to tell us what to think.
This is why many people are at a loss when it comes to Theosophy, because
it doesn't not give us all the answers on a sliver platter, but makes us
work for those fragments of Truth that we can discover.
>Perhaps what is really necessary is alterations of a whole number
>of the attitudes and economic structures surrounding the valuation of
>children and childraising in this current world.
The raising of children is highly important, and we often undervalue it.
There were a number of approaches tried by Theosophists, including Maria
Montessori and by Katherine Tingley at Point Loma with her Raja Yoga School.
The real issue regarding abortion and many other subjects that come up
for discussion is: How do we live up to various ideals in actual life?
Each idea, apart from actual life, considered as a thing in itself, is
quite clearcut and can be agree with. Take one: Don't kill. It is just
fine and we can agree to it in the abstract. But when we apply it to
a particular situation in life, we have problems. Why? Because the
situation is complex, there are many factors to weigh and balance, and
perhaps a dozen ideals are coming into play, come in conflict with others.
The complexity of life comes from our having to sort out the conflicts
and come up with a "good" choice in each sitation. This requires a
deeper kind of insight than the contemplation of the ideas, apart from
life, and is something we all could work on.
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