Karma and regulation (was Regulation)
Jun 15, 1997 11:26 AM
In a message dated 97-06-12 00:52:11 EDT, you write:
> Dear Lynn,
> A further though following my other post. Regulating the availability
> of "things" is undertaken in human society in many ways in human
> societies. Large coporations regulate mass markets for their goods by
> using their financial power to outprice and eliminate the 'little guy'
> and his/her product.
I should warn you here that most of what underlies my approach to personal
freedom, the role of government, etc. is based on my interpretation of the
operation of Law of Karma in the evolution of humanity. So my response is
heavily based on that and is full of personal opinion. ;-D (This is also
taking Bart's wonderful concept when he equated freedom with the "ability to
make decisions about karma" and running with it, though he may not
necessarily agree with all the places I end up.)
I totally agree with you that regulating the availability of things is
undertaken in many ways. The difference with corporations regulating the
availability of their product, for example, is that this is the action of a
group of individuals that is *freely* taken. (That is, at least as far as the
laws of economics will permit.) The group, and the individuals within it,
will experience the karma attendant with that choice. I don't agree that
large corporations are the sole regulators of mass markets nor that greed
motivates all of their actions. But that's another potential thread in
When I use the term "karma" here, by the way, I'm not referring to it as
"good" nor "bad" karma (a terminology that I have problems with anyway). The
karma resulting from an action freely taken is, IMHO, more liberating
(ultimately). The more that the mind and the emotional body are involved in
the performance of any action, the greater the effect the action has on the
development of the quality of the vehicles. I base this on the belief that
karma, as an impersonal law, interacts with the matter/energy comprising the
vehicles. The more subtle the energy (or vehicle) involved in motivating the
action, the more potentially powerful the karmic reaction on the vehicles.
(Please feel free to shoot holes in this as you wish. I know I'm wading into
some pretty wild water with this. ;-D) When another entity, such as a
government, makes the decisions for the individual, the resulting karma on
the individual level is more limited in terms of the vehicle affected and the
resulting evolutionary growth.
The relationship is similar to that of a parent and a child. When a child
does the right thing because of fear of punishment, not much is happening
karmically on esoteric levels because higher levels of mental and emotional
matter aren't involved in the act of obedience. (I think that fear is a
rather primordial emotion.) When an adult obeys the law simply because of
fear of repercussion, there is little change in the vibrational quality of
the emotional and mental vehicles and there is little corresponding "motion"
on a karmic level. Right action is performed out of fear and inertia rather
than out of what is perceived from higher levels of the ego (not even
bringing the Ego into this yet) and the evolution of humanity is, IMHO,
The decision-making process is abstracted to government which is, in effect,
lazily given the role of Ego. In fact, I believe that government, in itself,
is an abstraction of much that we do not want to do as individuals rather
than the more correct concept of it being an abstraction of the things that
we cannot do as individuals (e.g., defend ourselves against another nation).
The death penalty is another example of our abstraction to government
something most of us wouldn't want to do ourselves--i.e., put another
individual to death. However, that's a subject that I could go on and on
about and no one has asked me to do that here. ;-D
> Regulating availability of a "thing" may not solve a problem, but it can
> certainly make the offence within the problem very much harder to
> commit. For some while now, Canada has regulated the fishing of Cod in
> order to prevent the destruction of fish stocks altogether. Human
> greed, left to its own devices, will readily leave a swathe of
> destruction in it wake which can never be restored.
I agree that in some cases that it may make an offense harder to commit,
though it usually has the effect of enabling some egos to develop skills as
black market entrepeneurs, creating even worse problems. To use an example
similar to the one you gave about the cod, similar efforts were taken to
prevent the extermination of elephants for their ivory tusks. To protect
them, African governments moved many of them to protected governmental
preserves patrolled by game wardens. Well, poachers continued to sneak onto
the preserves and slaughter elephants. However, at least one country found
that elephants were far better protected on privately owned land where the
owner had a "selfish" motivation to keep them alive. I truly wish I could
cite chapter and verse, not remembering the details off the top of my head.
However, if you really don't believe me, let me know and I'll try to find the
information on the Web. Another example where enlightened self-interest seems
to be working better than regulation is in the Philippines where biologists
are working with island fishermen to conserve rather than totally deplete the
sea horse population.
> As a child in World War II Britain, I was regulated by the rationing of
> food, and like everyone else, compelled to carry an identity card and a
> gas mask when I was away from home. If we hadn't had these restraints,
> survival would have been much more difficult. We didn't need the gas
> masks in the end, but we weren't to know that in the beginning.
This may be a small part of the reason for the difference in our point of
view. While living in Europe working for NATO for three years, I was
impressed by how the experience of WWII profoundly impacted the outlook of
Europeans in many things. I was surprised by the number of conversations I
took part in with Europeans where the European brought up the War--a
fascinating topic, I admit. (This doesn't happen very often in the States.)
And, believe me, I'm not saying this at all as a criticism, just as an
observation. While we in the U.S. participated in WWII, it was not fought on
our very soil with the bombing of Pearl Harbor being the closest thing to it.
(And Hawaii wasn't yet a State.) And, I've suspected that, because we've
never actually experienced a blitzkrieg, for example, on our own cities, we
are more likely to participate in bombing "adventures" (e.g., VietNam, Libya,
Panama, etc.) in waging "foreign policy" than the European countries. War in
itself is tremendous national karma (to keep myself from digressing too far
here ;-D). So please be assured that while the lines of opinion in this
debate may tend to be following nationality somewhat, its not national
chauvinism at play on either side but differences in national experience or
> The existence of weapons of violence leads inevitable to their use, and
> the international trade in them is, IMO, an abomination. Huge numbers
> of servicemen in the Gulf war were killed by ammunition supplied by
> their own nations before the war began.
Aside from the horrifying use of the A-bomb in WWII, I think humanity has
shown admirable restraint in not having deployed them in the following half
CENTURY. Of course much of this is due to mutual deterrence, but that doesn't
at all undermine what some of us have been saying here as gun ownership as
being a deterrent to crime. We have a saying here that "an armed society is a
polite society" (considering crimes as the epitome of rudeness ;-D) and I
think that there is a lot to be said for that.
> During WWII, my aunt came home from work in London one day to find not
> only that her house and home had been destroyed by enemy bombs, but that
> the whole *street* had vanished.
That must have been an absolutely horrendous experience! Destruction on that
scale is usually capable of being wrought only by governments, in this case
the Nazi government. One of the early acts of the Nazi government was to
disarm the German population. (This was also one of the things that King
George tried to do to the American colonialists as soon as they became
restless.) Had the German people not been disarmed the Nazis may not have
been able to retain power long enough to unleash the horrors they did in
Europe which included bombing your aunt's street. A disarmed citizenry is
extremely vulnerable to tyranny and its horrors, I believe.
> I don't pretend to have total answers to the problems that these matters
> present, but I can see clearly enough that the theosophical ideal
> requires the promotion of the means of peaceful co-existence, and
> opposition to the means of violence which work against that peace.
I don't pretend to either, no matter how forceful I may sound in presenting
my opinions. ;-D And, believe it or not, I agree that the theosophical ideal
indeed requires the promotion of peaceful co-existence. Where we disagree is
in the means to achieving that end, but that's OK. As long as we share that
same ideal and have the freedom to continue working together on how to
achieve it (which includes friendly debates like this), that's fine.
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