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In Defense of Karma PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Karma, the belief that the actions in your life are somehow tallied and weighed for or against you, falls firmly in the realm of woo-woo. There is no evidence that such a "force" exists, or that there is any entity keeping track of your "sins" so that you may or may not get into some heavenly place.

And yet, I think the concept is useful and effective. Let me explain.

The actions you take do not occur in a vacuum. Everything you do has an impact on something else. If you do something "good," more "good" things are likely to happen because of it. For example, if you throw your trash in a trashcan, others may see you do this and follow suit. Your action has encouraged similar actions. If you throw something out the window of your car, others might see this and decide to do the same.

This is obviously simple, and yet it can be very powerful. If we think of karma as a real force, we can make the world a better place. People will imitate other people, and this will build on itself. Even if you do something out of sight of others, the act of doing influences your behavior, which can influence the behavior of others. At the very least, it can make you feel better about yourself, which is an effect right there.

Of course this isn't foolproof. Nothing you do can prevent others from doing what they want to do, but if we think of "goodness" as a force, exercising that force is liable to increase it.

I'm aware that I've redefined the meaning of "karma," and that I've ignored the judgment aspect of it, but I still believe that acting as though karma exists can lead to good things happening. Think of it as shorthand.

Does this mean I've embraced woo-woo and should be shunned? Not at all. I don't believe in "karma" as defined by religious leaders or dictionaries. I just like the concept as a way to add more "good" to the world.

If you're so inclined, live a day as though karma was real. Pick up a piece of trash off the sidewalk, help an old lady across the street, or buy a stranger lunch. You don't have to believe in mystical powers to make the world a better place, and in this case, the act of belief alone can make the concept true.

 

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written by SilverTiger, July 22, 2009
The flaw in the argument, of course, is that whereas an action can be objectively described (e.g. your example of throwing some object through the car window), what is "good" is a matter of opinion. Not everyone will agree that a given action is "good" or that all its consequences are "good".

All of our actions certainly do entrain consequences but whether these consequences are themselves "good" or "bad" is not easy to predict. How often have your good intentions had unfortunate consequences that you did not foresee?

I think the essence of the theory of karma is that our bad actions create an accumulating burden which eventually harms us (or others) in some way, even in subsequent reincarnations. This is often used to "explain" why good people suffer misfortune and to claim that it's the sufferer's own fault, an entirely pernicious doctrine.

I think we would all be better off without such concepts, whether we believe in them literally or use them as metaphors.
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written by MadScientist, July 22, 2009
I think karma's as useful as a dead cat. You can swing a dead cat to ward off evil and there may even be an opportunity to swat flies with a dead cat.
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written by Urmensch, July 22, 2009
The exact meaning of 'karma' is action, so there is a germ of truth in that all actions have consequences and all actions not only affect others but also the actor.
It is only problematic when karma gets elabourated into doctrines of cosmic justice.
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written by Otara, July 22, 2009
How is using karma to be 'good' any different to using a religion to be 'good'?

Inventing concepts that dont actually exist in order to be 'good' just doesnt sit well with me. I think we can find ways to be 'good' without needing to do that.

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There is some merit
written by Per, July 22, 2009
I think Jeff's reasoning has some merit. As Richard Wiseman pointed out in his book The Luck Factor (http://www.richardwiseman.com/...actor.html), you could actually influence the amount of luck in you life. And I'm fairly sure my luck can inspire others to be lucky too.

Whether you call it karma or self induced luck it can be real. If you want it to be.

It is not a question of objective good or bad. I'm certain that even the worst criminals feel lucky when they do their evil deeds.
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@ SilverTiger
written by Karma Chameleon, July 23, 2009
It does not matter whether "good" and "bad" exist objectively. If doing what I subjectively consider good, influences other people to act accordingly, then the world becomes subjectively better.

How often have your good intentions had unfortunate consequences that you did not foresee?
Less often than they haven't. Exactly as Jeff suggests.
There may be chance involved, but aiming for the best still gives you a much better chance than not aiming at all. In life, as in poker, you can improve the hand your dealt better by making a careful choice than by choosing at random; it may still not always work out, but on average you'll do better.
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I agree
written by Dr.Sid, July 23, 2009
This works on both psychological and social scale. For example it is easier to be happy in the middle of other happy people. Make people happy, and it will get back to you. Yes .. it is only a probability. But the probability will increase.
On psychological level, being optimistic helps you succeed and succeeding helps you being optimistic.
Actually some Buddhist schools are quite reasonable, and practical, in those matters. If they only didn't insist on reincarnation and that whole 'mind before matter' idea.
Even Christianity often work like really working psychological and social aid. Could whole world even work without religions ? I think yes, but not overnight. Atheism needs to build and reason moral, psychological and social codex. Not in the way of commandments, but in the way of guides and reasoning. And last, but not least, atheism needs it's 'saints'. People who will inspire by their human qualities. People like Randi, Dennett, Feynman, Adams.
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A fine concept but....
written by CasaRojo, July 23, 2009
I think I'd leave the word "karma" out of it. Let's think of a new word if a word is needed and leave woo references with the woo.
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written by Careyp74, July 23, 2009
I'll be the first to admit. A lot of the times I can't remember to do something or act a certain way without a good gimmick. If it wasn't for the stupidity, I would probably be in the front row of church every Sunday because they understand this.

Jeff offers a good gimmick here. We can replace religion and keep the gimmicks, and it wouldn't be like another religion. Maybe we should rename it though, Karma is taken, any ideas?
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written by cstorey, July 23, 2009
I'm sorry to have to say this, but that's only one definition of how Karma is defined. Whilst that would apply to the Hindu mythic worldview, The south east asian Buddhist traditions would define it differently; in fact Dr.Sid's description is pretty good from that point of view. Have a look a the Wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma for a goodly number of definitions. Fundamentally, which concept applies depends on your worldview, whether it be mythic, rational, or otherwise.

Point is, it's a description of a set of observed phenomena. Whether that description fits your experience, and hence is useful, is left to the reader's critical judgement.
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Karma
written by Joslin, July 23, 2009
Sorry Jeff, in my opinion you're off the mark on this one. What you are stating about the consequences of actions makes sense. But what about the notion of karma (as I understand it) by which, say for example, a disabled person has does something wrong in a former life leading to the disability being punishment?(Of course, there is no such thing as a former life, but the idea itself, which may inform people's attitudes is somewhat disturbing.) Also, I am a little (if not a lot) uncomfortable, as an atheist, with using religious terminology, even if it is being twited to a non-religious meaning. I'm with Michel Onfray on this: we need to create a whole new discourse, and rid ourselves of religious terminology. As for believing, and acting as if, something is true, even if it isn't - come on!
Regards
Joslin
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written by bosshog, July 23, 2009
I'm not sure I put much store in the notion of "setting a good example for others" as pragmatic karma. I think the irritation caused by those who go around with their noses in the air enacting moral precepts for others to follow offsets any positive karma their actions might provoke. Also, I think Jeff is inclined to think of people as living in a "monkey see/monkey do" universe which is not quite realistic.
However, the notion of "spreading goodwill" through courtesy and kindness, if sincere, has merit.
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written by cstorey, July 23, 2009
I think the irritation caused by those who go around with their noses in the air enacting moral precepts for others to follow offsets any positive karma their actions might provoke

I think he just means being a nice person. You know. Being friendly, and helpful, and so on. Not going round saying "I'm a friendly human being because it's *rational*" or something.
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written by LovleAnjel, July 23, 2009
Getting bothered by the use of 'karma' to me is like getting bothered by people saying 'bless you' after a sneeze. They both have superstitious/religious derivations but have (as several have pointed out) multiple meanings, including more secular or pop culture symbolism.

Most people in general know what pop culture 'karma' refers to-- getting what one deserves. I have experienced/follow Tipping Karma, whereby a person in the service industry tips at a higher rate than average because they know what it's like to rely on those tips (and those thrust into the service industry finding out what bastards they really were leaving only 12% behind). I found myself explaining this to someone from Sweden and realizing how weird it must sound.

I see how it's a short hop from 'karma' to The Secret, but that doesn't mean we can't use the term as a shorthand to remind us to be nice and generous. Just like 'bless you' has become essentially a sign of courtesy and sympathy with a sick person.
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My name is Jeff
written by gabriel, July 23, 2009
Jeff,

Are you missing Earl?
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Missing the Point
written by Son of Rea, July 23, 2009
Many seem to be missing Jeff's point. It's not that you should redefine karma as a simple cause and effect mechanism. He doesn't even suggest that we use the term at all.

He's just pointing out the very real effects that doing good has on our own happiness. What is good? Use the golden rule to find out. What would you want done to/for yourself?

It doesn't have to be 'for the greater good' either. Ultimately, we are all selfish, and truly only seek our own happiness. Doing good achieves this goal.
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written by YoPopa, July 23, 2009
What goes around, comes around.

A little wordy but a much better religion-neutral alternative.

The word karma is a major turn off for those of us that suffered the pain of disillusionment after being overly enthralled with the concept.
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See ya later...
written by Kuroyume, July 23, 2009
To extend LovleAnjel's argument here, how many people here (and most of the English-speaking world) say 'goodbye'? What is 'goodbye'? It isn't 'good be-your-endeavors'. It's etymology goes back to "God be with ye" (Godbwye) which had as many religious overtones as "In God We Trust", if not more. But since it originated in a time when English was in flux (gathering its Germanic, French, and indigenous dialects into more modern forms), it slowly corrupted to 'goodbye'. Everytime you say it, you are saying 'God be with you'.

While 'karma' has religious overtones back to Asian religion, I think the term has become generic enough to remove most of that original connotation. Maybe we can come up with a better word or term but this one isn't that bad. Maybe 'Good Samaritan' would be better? smilies/grin.gif (sarcasm!)
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The problem here...
written by Griz, July 23, 2009
...is that "good" is a relative term. In the absence of some standard to define what is good or moral, then how do you say something is good or bad? If you have a lot of money and I kill you for your money, that's bad for you but good for me. In the animal kingdom, killing is not good or bad, it just is. We have these lingering concepts of good and evil that are just assumed to be valid, but in truth they are rooted in religion and most of them are designed to reduce conflict in order to benefit whoever is in power.

I know this is a touchy subject among athiests who claim that religion is not necessary to provide a set or morals, but seriously, what's the standard? Who establishes these morals and who benefits from them. I don't see that concept being explored very often. I wish that I was more well read in philosophy because I'm sure there are many philosophers that have covered this. The whole reason that I walked away from religion in the first place was because all I saw was people hurting people. Anything goes when the preservation of the mythology is at stake.

My personal opinion is that the bible had one thing right: the highest good is indeed the golden rule, to do to others as you'd be done to. You have no right to expect treatment from folks that you're not willing to give them. I also think that the age old concept of evil translates to rampant self interest. When you are so greedy and self centered that you'll do anything to feed your ego, people get hurt in the process. I think that in a society, everyone benefits when certain rules of interaction are followed, and everyone benefits when those rules include folks helping each other.

I think that's how this concept of Karma really translates into the real world. If you follow the golden rule and treat others like you'd like to be treated, then it encourages others to do the same. If you help folks when you can, it encourages others to do the same.
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Few comments
written by Dr.Sid, July 23, 2009
Karma has many meaning. There is in-life karma, where you get from the universe roughly what you give to the universe. And yeah, while physics alone does not work like this, people mostly do.
Then there is karma which defines your next live, and even this one is supposed to be based on previous ones. This theory brings reason and justice into the chaos of nature. And it is created with will to explain. It's highly logical. But that is not enough. In fact, many real things are not logical at all, at least at the first glance. While in-life karma (or let's call it positive feedback) can be experienced, and studied, after-life karma cannot. Or at least unless number of people being able to remember their previous lives rapidly increases.
As for good and evil .. on personal level we all know what it means. I like this and dislike that. I think this is all we need. Yes, it means something good for you is not good for someone else. Also something you don't like at the moment, may be a lot more 'good' for you in the future (like taking a pill). Common good can be the defined as something which is 'personal good' for most people for most time. Sure you have to guess about that, sure it changes over time, sure you can be get wrong with it. But we are somewhere else then most religious theories. We know it can be different for different people, for different time, different situation. Religions likes absolute good and evil way too much.
Also there are problem when you take death into account. Is dead good or bad ? Again, it all depends. And again, you must guess .. and you can be wrong. Important fact is that death is irreversible. While common suicide is almost never reasonable, you can save people by your own death. There are also cases where euthanasia is clearly justified. Only problem with euthanasia is finding the borders and make if fool-proof.
There is also question of personal responsibility. Can someone be held responsible for something, if it is caused by wrong genes, bad education, and bad luck ?
All this thinks must be discussed and solutions which are not based on words of God must be found. No, I'm not calling for social engineering. Evolution works here too. But atheism does not focus too much on these aspects I think. And it has to, to replace theism and all the woo-woo.

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Poisoning the well?
written by falln_angel, July 23, 2009
I find it interesting how many commenters seem to be dismissing this article off-hand for no reason other than the religious connotations of the word 'karma'. Organized, mainstream religion may be one of the most widely-believed forms of woo, but it doesn't follow that all the tenets of these religions are therefore false. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a pretty neat concept, if not a perfect one. (Some people like to be tied up for hours at a time, for example, but that doesn't mean I want them to tie me up.) Does it really lose its value because it's attributed to the son of a god instead of Aristotle or your neighbour down the road?

The comments are especially curious given that Jeff has made it explicitly clear that this is not the context in which he's using the word. It's intended as a mnemonic, not a doctrine.

I'm aware that I've redefined the meaning of "karma," and that I've ignored the judgment aspect of it, but I still believe that acting as though karma exists can lead to good things happening. Think of it as shorthand.


I don't believe in "karma" as defined by religious leaders or dictionaries.


If you don't like the word karma, use something else. Call it 'paying it forward', or 'being a good person/citizen', or make up a new word if that makes it more palatable. But it's disappointing to see an entire concept being dismissed because of personal feelings about one aspect of it. Frankly, I get enough of that in the non-sceptical world.
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For what it's worth...
written by warreno, July 23, 2009
...your first graf is a westernized new-age approach to the concept of karma, and is not what it's meant to be in its simplest forms.

The first sentence of the third graf is an accurate summation of what karma is understood to be.

It's really not complicated, and there's no mysticism involved at all, any more than it's somehow woo for the ignition switch to start the car.
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written by emonk, July 23, 2009
@Griz,
"I wish that I was more well read in philosophy because I'm sure there are many philosophers that have covered this"

You might want to have a look at The Elements of Moral Philosophy
http://www.amazon.com/Elements...007282574X
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written by Lahurongirl, July 23, 2009
This site is becoming very preachy. It is one thing to point out woo. It's a very different thing to tell us how we should react to it on a moral level.
How should skeptics react to "Orphan"?
How should they deal with the Phelps family?
Skeptics need to donate more food so people don't think we are evil!
Those are all personal choices and logic is never going to give us a correct answer, no matter how hard we try, because there is not one. Can we just stick to things that can be proven or disproven and leave the morals out of it? They are not nessary in a well crafted argument reguarding woo.
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written by Steel Rat, July 23, 2009
My personal opinion is that the bible had one thing right: the highest good is indeed the golden rule, to do to others as you'd be done to. You have no right to expect treatment from folks that you're not willing to give them.


Yeah, like murdering tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people so you can take up residence in the "promised land".

What goes around only sometimes comes around.
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God-bless-you and goodbye!
written by Zen66, July 23, 2009
Thomas Jefferson once removed all of the mystical references from the Jesus section of the New Testament. What he ended up with was a pretty good set of rules to live by.

I believe he was attempting to do what Mr. Wagg is suggesting here. Follow the rule without being a follower. I sort of agree. There have been too many articles written by religious frui...people who claim a superiority based on a moral code because they believe in a god. My argument in response has always been as an atheist I know the difference between right and wrong, I don't need a god to force me to be nice. (of course it doesn't hurt to remind them that god has sanctioned far more murder then any atheist - neither Hitler nor Stalin were atheists btw).

I'm generally not in favor of adding more religious terminology -benign or not- to my vocabulary. However, 'goodbye' is religion free these days and maybe 'karma' can be in the future. But god-bless-you for a sneeze, I think not. There are no demons in my nose thank you. If demons reside in me anywhere they should be happier, I think, in my ass. And though it would be more appropriate, no one ever says god-bless-you when I fart.

We can debate the subjective nature of 'good' all day long. I believe the general population doesn't give much philosophical thought to it yet there seems to be a relative notion of what good conduct is all about. Any chance we can advance good conduct without god for the sake of plain old good conduct than I am for it.
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Much ado ...
written by pxatkins, July 23, 2009
Good grief ... what JW is calling 'karma' is not karma, it's just setting a good example.
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written by Star Man, July 23, 2009
I think several of the responses are being over-sensitive about the use of language because it has religious roots. I don't know if the concept that Jeff is discussing should be a redefinition of karma, but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it either.
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written by daveg703, July 23, 2009
Well, Jeff, you sure got them up out of their easy chairs and at their keyboards with this one! smilies/grin.gif 28 comments and counting, as of 4 pm (GMT -6) here in Minnesota. Thought provoking every one, and more to come, I'll wager. To avoid being taken to task and misquoted as a result, I will simply say that I agree with everyone, and let it go at that. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by bigjohn756, July 23, 2009
I helped an old lady across the street the other day, but, I'll be damned if could get her purse away from her. Tough old bird, she was!
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written by Retromancy, July 23, 2009
I agree with pxatkins
"Good grief ... what JW is calling 'karma' is not karma, it's just setting a good example. "

I used to use the word karma in the sense that do something good and hopefully it will be noticed and reiciprocated (or vice versa, that bad deeds may also be reciprocated) - until I realised some people at work believed in reincarnation and thought their lot was due to "bad karma" in their past life - i kid you not - people who honestly believe in "karma" think people deserve what they get because of some cosmic payback (tell that to the people with AIDS in Africa or the people who suffered in the holocaust) - so now i won't cheerfully use the word like I once did.
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Be careful!
written by bigdoggy, July 23, 2009
If you don't believe in Karma, it could come back to bite you on the ass!
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written by Blue Sock Monkey, July 24, 2009
My sister and I believe devoutly in Shopping Cart Karma. We always tuck our carts into the cart corral, in hopes of inspiring other people to do it too--thus reducing the quantity of rogue carts roaming the parking lot hoping to bash into innocent vehicles.
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Karma in English
written by bart, July 24, 2009
Karma, at least as it was originally used as an English word, comes from a point of view very close to what Jeff has said; it is simple action and reaction. Religions have used this concept to enforce behavior, as if there were some sort of outside intelligence directing karma. Even among normally logical people, there is a conflation of "cause" and "deserve". Such as a guy who points a toy gun at a cop, and the cop shoots him, people cry, "He didn't deserve to die because he had a toy gun!" But the fact that he didn't deserve to die does not change his own hand in his own death, that his actions were the major cause of his death. A more esoteric view of karma is that it is the means by which we learn; the idea (in this version of karma) of actions in a past lifetime coming in the present lifetime are cause and effect, and by no means always in line with the human ideas of justice. In a Buddhist sense, the goal is not to have "good" or "bad" karma; they say that you can bind yourself with chains of iron or chains of gold, but they are still chains. The idea is to try to act as impersonally as possible, for the good of all, remembering that you are part of that "all". Not a bad way to live.
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written by Zoroaster, July 24, 2009
I'm not sure if it can be rationally justified but I tend to prefer the doctrine, "Virtue is its own reward." Most people I've met who talk about karma often seem frustrated that their good deeds aren't paying off while others who are lazy and unscrupulous are living the good life.

With tipping as an example again, I worked with a woman who kept careful track of who tipped and who didn't and did frequent calculations of how her tips were comparing to sales etc. I just tried to smile and be nice to everybody and not pay so much attention to how much they tipped. At the end of the day, we made about the same amount but I would go home much happier than she because I was not wasting my time worrying about things I couldn't control.
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INDISPUTABLE PROOF OF PARANORMAL
written by Herc, July 24, 2009
That's right Jeff Wagg - Randi's dog. Karma will catch up with you for abusing me after I merely presented a paranormal claim.

Now on with the proof! It's all verifiable in Google groups.

>
>> proof of paranormal - by name by nature examples
>
> What examples?

Fastest man on Earth - Bolt
Richest Billionaire - Bill
Smartest - hawKING

Lady Di died
Nic Cage in prison movies
Ronal Raygun starts the Star Wars program
Armstrong plants the flag on the moon
michaelANGELO paints angels

In 02 02 2002 I posted "proof of God", claiming usenet replies to me matched their alias.
Then on 02 02 2003 I got 3 replies to me that clearly matched the alias.

One was Rich Shewmaker telling me to go see James Randi.
One was See You In Hell who said It all depends.
One was Rust who described attacking the knife hand.

3 million to one posts to me in one day, on the anniversary of my paranormal claim.

It's a perfectly valid proof, but
1) are you smart enough to understand it
and more pertinent
2) is Randi humble enough to hand over the million $ to biblical Adam.

Herc
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written by RvLeshrac, July 24, 2009
@Griz:

Someone else covered it to a degree, but ethics essentially boil down to "don't do anything you wouldn't want done to you," and morality boils down to "acting ethically without any expectation of receiving the same, or better, treatment in kind."

No one has to be some sort of Great Adjudicator. The majority of us don't kill others because we'd rather others not kill us. We don't steal because we'd rather not be stolen from. We (I should hope) generally try to look after those around us because we'd like to hope that they'd do the same for us if the situations were reversed. That's simply ethical behavior.

If one assumes that we don't kill because we'd rather not be killed, as opposed to not killing out of some fear that we *will* be killed if we do, that's also moral behavior. If, on the other hand, we only stayed our hands out of the fear of punishment, we'd be acting Amorally. (And, of course, if you decide to act despite knowing full well the consequences of your actions, you'd be acting Immorally.)

Amoral behavior leads to more laws against this and that, while Immoral behavior leads to fascism, torture, and generally most of the "evils" in the world.
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written by julianrod, July 25, 2009
I once helped an old lady across the street and she didn't thank me, she said she didn't want to cross. So I hit her and snatched her purse. From then on I've been living according to 'inverse karma', that is the philosophy that says that for every evil you do, something good happens to you... It seems to work better than the original one. smilies/grin.gif
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No good deed...
written by yo saxman, July 25, 2009
ever goes unpunished. (joke)

The only thing mystical about karma is the name. karma is a scientifically provable theory under several laws of physics. semantics, however, is the culprit that causes all the discord.
A forum does not provide enough space for an in depth dialog on the matter, but if you look at he physical laws of vibration, and the missing black keys on a piano between naturally occurring half-steps, do some research, contemplation, and connect-the-dots, you'll see. If not and are really interested, buzz me on facebook. Im not that hard to find.
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Self-fulfilling prophecy
written by Harlekin, July 27, 2009
(I'm a german native speaker, so i might not get everything right.)
There is another aspect to this.
Generally you expect people to act as you do. Ergo if you lie a lot, you expect them to lie to you, too.
If you add to that the concept of the "self-fulfilling prophecy"(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...g_prophecy), you've pretty much got karma.
You expect them to lie - you act, as if they do - they will lie to you.

With this approach, it is not how much good you do, it's more what you expect. And what you expect in turn is influenced by how you act yourself. So you can do all the good you want, if you expect the world to be selfish nonetheless, it will be.

So I have to agree with Jeff, there is something to the concept, although not the reasoning, of karma.
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written by LeeTheAgent, July 28, 2009
I used to be a Buddhist, and believed in the whole karma system. Yeah, we can ACT as if it were real, but that's just setting up a false construct where one isn't needed. Why not just rely on the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have them to unto you? Makes complete sense, and you don't need to justify it with some supernatural mechanism. And while karma provides a great incentive to be kind and good, it also lays blame on the victims. Something bad happens to you? Ah screw it, you deserved it. That's not a healthy way of thinking.
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written by Habenero, July 28, 2009
To make the world a better place, choose to do good things!
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@warreno: What's a graf?
written by Eric Arthur Blair, July 29, 2009
...your first graf is a westernized new-age approach to the concept of karma, and is not what it's meant to be in its simplest forms...The first sentence of the third graf is an accurate summation of what karma is understood to be.
As I understand it, "graf" is a German title of nobility, equivalent to "count". If you mean "paragraph", why can't you just write it out? Too lazy? If you want an abbreviation, why not "'graph" (note the apostrophe, a punctuation convention to indicate missing letters)?

To put this into context of the topic here, sloppy language begets sloppy language. Y R U promoting abrv8ing at the expense of clarity? It only encourages others to do so. (Or maybe you are really "Count Warreno" and want to feed delusions of grandeur.)
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Meaning of Karma
written by Vijay Kumar Jain, March 25, 2011
As per infallible laws of karma ... we reaped fruits of karma performed! Nothing in cosmic system happened of its own! If we suffered in present life... all owes its existence to bad karma performed by us in past or previous lives!
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