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Bobbydavid's avatar

Karma......does it exist?

Asked by Bobbydavid (837points) May 21st, 2009 from iPhone

What goes around comes around. Any evidence?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

19 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Karma is more than retribution and reward.
Does it exist? A lot of people seem to think so. Is there any scientific way to prove this? Probably not.
Will doing good things make you happy? Probably, although there’s no scientific formula for this.

rawrvelerey's avatar

oh yes. ;) it happened to me last year. i dumped my boyfriend to be with someone who i knw for less than 1 month, me and my boyfriend been together for 1 year ++. and he was so sad and begging me back. but i jst ignore it. 3months later, my current boyfriend left me for this girl he knw. :( i was soooooo upset and i wanna go back with my 1 year ++ boyfriend. but its too late. he’s happy with someone else know. & still, i regret left him in the first place. karma do exist. but we dont knw when it will come back to us. but it will.

dynamicduo's avatar

No evidence at all. But I like to jokingly believe in it.

Harp's avatar

There are many different interpretations of karma. Some see it as a cosmic system of justice that makes sure everybody gets what’s coming to them; even as a Buddhist, I don’t buy that.

But there is another way of looking at it that’s both more credible and useful. Instead of saying “if you do action X ,then Y will happen to you down the road”, this view of karma says that our intentional actions have an immediate effect on our state of mind. In other words, our minds are shaped by what we choose to do (or not do), and that frame of mind will then influence our future choices. The patterns of action that emerge from a particular frame of mind will, in turn, shape one’s overall life experiences.

Framed this way, karma isn’t something mystical and exotic, and seems to agree with my own experience. I do see that engaging in certain actions colors how I feel, think, and view the world. And then I see that these mental states in turn color my behavior, in a kind of feed-back loop. And those actions accumulate to determine the course my life takes and the relationships I have.

mattbrowne's avatar

We can’t come up with a smart scientific experiment to discover it. Still, it might exist. We can believe in it or not.

knitfroggy's avatar

I’ve always been of the belief that “you get what you deserve” I’ve had it happen to me in my life and I sort of like it when it happens to someone else. is that mean?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

No. Humans are pattern seeking animals. We create patterns in order to create meaning, so that life makes some sort of sense to us. In doing so, we corrupt reality to conform to our wishes. Of course, we cannot force reality to conform to EVERYTHING we want it to, so when things happen we obviously have no control over, we often ascribe the events as things like karma.

I’ve seen plenty of people do horrible things, and never get the justice they deserve. The only justice in the world is that eventually, you will die. Death is the greatest equalizer of all.

May2689's avatar

I’ve done some things in my life I’m not exactly proud of.. and man am I getting what I deserve!!!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’d like to believe that it does exist

wundayatta's avatar

@Harp The way I see Karma is as putting a kind of energy into the world and being an example. When you return a wallet that fell out of a pocket, or give food to someone hungry, or drive without responding to others’ road rage, or put trash in the garbage and pick up after other people; when you never say, “that’s not my job,” other people see it, and it becomes easier for them to do the same thing. People are nicer when they believe others will be nicer to them.

Malcolm Gladwell, of “Tipping Point” fame, suggested that courtesy is something for which there is a tipping point. Also crime and cleanliness, I think. If you reach a critical mass of people behaving a certain way, all of a sudden everyone starts doing it. It becomes part of the culture.

@mattbrowne Tipping points actually are something that can be measured. It might take enormous resources to do it, but it can be measured, because there are specific behaviors you are looking at, not some magical concept of what goes around comes around.

However, if tipping points are real, then what goes around does come around. Everyone should be a model for others, or think of themselves as a model. What you do and how you behave matters. You help someone in need, and then, some day, someone helps you when you need, because the culture has turned into that kind of attitude.

Generosity and kindness and politeness make a huge difference. It can be helped along with a little moderation, as we see on this site, but it comes just as much from people providing a good example as it does from moderators removing comments.

That’s how I think of karma. It’s a real thing, for me. It may not work in the way most people, or even religions imagine it, but it works, and there is even evidence to suggest it does work.

fireside's avatar

To build on the social aspect daloon just described, I think if you are acting out of good intentions and working to help those around you, then you may find yourself surrounded by others who are doing the same. Negative people rarely enjoy being around positive people and may just chose to move to new circles where they can continue their negativity.

This may lead to a bit of segmentation and not quite achieve that tipping point daloon was describing, but it will certainly give the individual a chance to be surrounded by the type of energy they are transmitting.

There is also the mental aspect that Harp described in which each person has a choice of how they view events that happen to them. If you choose to view trials and difficulties as a punishment or hardship then you will have a very different experience than if you view them as opportunities to overcome and grow.

It reminds me of the lesson of the paper airplane:
If the airplane has its nose pointed to the ground it will sink and spiral downwards.
If the airplane has its nose pointed to the sky then it will rise on the currents and soar higher.

wundayatta's avatar

Can one be a pessimistic positive person? I act out of good intentions (although, who doesn’t?), but I doubt it will make any difference. It doesn’t stop me from trying, but I tend to see myself as a fool, so I don’t have to mind banging my head against a wall. Of course, when I’m depressed, I figure I’m worthless for being so ineffective. When I’m happy, I just feel foolish for being so ineffective.

Then, I tell myself that no one could win this battle. There’s too much against me. Greed and stupidity. But I want to feel like I’ve done something that matters in the larger scheme of things. So, if I’m feeling good, my irrelevance just seems like foolishness. I can laugh it off. If I’m feeling bad, it seems like a reason to give up entirely.

I don’t think this is karma. I do my best to help. It’s just not enough.

fireside's avatar

From what I know of you, daloon, you seem to be trying to make connections and understand your relationship with other people. So any chemical imbalances aside, I would say you seem to action a pretty positive manner.

What i would call negative is more like those who can’t get out of their own minds enough to explain their actions and words or examine them for themselves.

mattbrowne's avatar

@daloon – If you look it at that way, sure. When people believe in God it shows in the fMRI scanner when observing the human brain. The same for the concept of the karma. But we can’t discover it directly, because it’s an abstract concept, right? Maybe I don’t know enough about karmas.

fireside's avatar

@mattbrowne – Or is could be possible that we haven’t developed the instrumentation to detect and measure all of the energies that surround us in the natural world.

When someone says, “I have a good feeling about that person” or “He just gave me a bad vibe” they are describing something that they have felt.

The question that is not yet answerable is whether those feelings are derived from complex logical mental processes that occur in milliseconds or whether those feelings are something that creates those same processes.

mattbrowne's avatar

@fireside – Scientifically speaking, it’s a possibility. Neutrinos are very hard to detect for example. We can’t be sure whether there are other particles we don’t even know yet that they exist or not. In theory there could be a fifth fundamental force we haven’t discovered yet. And so forth.

You said ‘When someone says, “I have a good feeling about that person” or “He just gave me a bad vibe” they are describing something that they have felt.’

One scientific explanation that we already have (based on a hypothesis) are the so-called mirror neurons. They can also explain why yawning is contagious or people engage in baby talk, see the other thread.

wundayatta's avatar

I just think of most of this stuff as metaphorical. I’ve experienced many of these feelings—the energies, chi in so many forms, from music, from dancing, from acupuncture, from tai chi. I think that some of it may be sensitivities that humans have, and some of it is stories we tell ourselves, and some of it may be our brains giving us feelings in our bodies because we don’t know everything about how much our brains can do, and some of it is metaphor. A way of talking about things, or expressing things that are difficult to express.

However, I think it is premature to resort to magical explanations for this stuff. I think we can trust our feelings without having to make more out of it. I understand they are powerful feelings, and that getting in touch with a sense of oneness can be quite overwhelming. So our language and metaphors must convey that sense, and that, I believe, causes us to venture into the realm of the supernatural.

Maybe we’ll find some physical explanations for these things—in the world or in the brain. I think it’s simpler to think in terms of symbols and the difficulty of communicating our experiences.

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