Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Karma (car-ma) is a word meaning
the result of a person's actions as well as the actions themselves. It is a term about the cycle of cause and effect. According to the theory of Karma, what happens to a person, happens because they caused it with their actions.

So does Karma really exist?

On the one hand if bad things only happen to people who do bad things, then how come some good people experience bad things in their lives? On the other hand it seems to be a source of comfort to believe that evil isn’t rewarded but rather punished. And how evil is evil, is it merely a fleeting thought caused by anger or hurt, is it an accidental hurt you do to someone else, or is it a calculated and hurtful act without remorse?

In 1981 Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote When Bad Things Happen to Good People; the book was touted as “a source of solace and hope”. The good Rabbi helped to dispel the idea that people were being punished and had no control over the heartbreaking events that might happen to them. He spoke of religion and the reality that G-d was not omnipotent — indeed He made mankind to have free will, but He was not vengeful.

Whatever your personal belief is about Karma and living “The Golden Rule” it can be both comforting and frightening to think that every action you take will either come back to pat you on the back or to kick you in the arse! Certainly when someone seems to go out of their way to do you harm it is a comfort to think of that individual getting their so-called just desserts.

Personally I believe that I have seen Karma come into play many times. If I have been unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of someone’s harmful actions, I have honestly felt, and in my opinion actually seen, the individual receive payback. I truly don’t wish for anyone to suffer harm (okay, brief moments of anger… maybe), but one of my thoughts about everyone doing good or bad is “May you receive three times what you put into this world”. It may not happen instantly, but I’ve often felt the satisfaction (and belief) of seeing it happen.

As an author I get personal satisfaction when I write about a villain “getting his/hers”. In my novel Bartlett’sRule the villain dies in an ACCIDENT where the hero is involved, while he does try (unsuccessfully) to save the villain the hero feels no true remorse over the man’s death. A few readers questioned my tactics. The villain really was a terrible person who had caused irreparable harm to someone that the hero loved. It was suggested that maybe I should have just sent the villain to prison and then, much to my surprise, they spoke of the atrocities the villain might suffer in prison as payback! (My gosh some of the things…)

In Judaism (the faith I practice) every year on Yom Kippur we ask for forgiveness from those who we’ve wronged and we forgive those who have wronged us… ideally you should actually be repentant and gracious and you should try not to repeat your misdeeds. Whether it is because of your religious belief or just a case of good conscience, I kind of like a world where we own what we do and try to be better.

And you never know, maybe Karma is a real thing.

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