Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Flipside of Karma

I'm an atheist, so not a big fan of bible quotes, except the ones that are about forbidding cripples into the priesthood, and not letting eunuchs into Heaven. That said, I'd like to start this post with a quote from Ecclesiastes:

"I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all."

And here is the wisdom of Earl

"Do good things and good things happen, do bad things, they come back to haunt you."

So we have a kind of "shit happens" philosophy from the bible (if you forgive me describing the sacred with the profane), and karma from an Emmy-award-winning Sit-Com. And as far as both go, they are all well and good. Ecclesiastes is there to tell you that bad things happen sometimes and you just have to deal with it, and Jason Lee is there to tell you that if you do good things rather than bad things, you'll generally have a nicer time of it. In fact, these two elements combined make for a nice enough philosophy for living.

However, in the regimented, procedure-led world of the Church of Scientology, the notion of Karma takes on a darker hue. Within CoS the logic is that if something bad happens to you, then you must have done something to "bring it in". You are guilty of some unethical behaviour that has led to this thing happening to you. And if you are "out-ethics" then that, too, needs to be addressed. What this in effect means is that the victim (of rape, mugging, theft, violence...) is punished (by way of a further need of auditing, or more extreme measures such as rundowns) for being a victim.

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