Bombs & Karma

Picture: Richard Adams (CC)

Picture: Richard Adams (CC)

Ever since the tragedy at the Boston Marathon on Monday, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of karma. Several posts have called out the irony (or Orwellian Doublethink) of the US licking its wounds, while it inflicts similar wounds on innocent bystanders worldwide. Clusterbombs, murdered Afghan and Pakistani wedding parties, “collateral damage” to the civilian population in Iraq, to name a few. I am trying to resist the reductionist conditioning of my western brain that wants to distill the vast cultural complexities of “karma” into a dualist cause & effect dynamic. However, there seems to be something darkly significant to the recent trend of our own innocents being killed by our own citizens. Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, possibly Boston, etc. Anyway, this train of thought led me back to an old classic essay on karma from Robert Anton Wilson. Deepleaf Productions hosts a nice collection of RAW audio & text, and here is an excerpt from Cosmic Trigger:

A Lesson in Karma

Robert Anton Wilson
from Cosmic Trigger – The Final Secret of the Illuminati

Lao-Tse says (at least in Leary’s translation) that the Great Tao is most often found with parents who are willing to learn from their children. This remark was to cause me considerable mental strain and dilation around this time in our narrative, because my children had become very self-directed adolescents and were getting into occultism with much more enthusiasm and much less skepticism than I thought judicious.

For a few years, we could not discuss these subjects without arguing, despite my attempts to remember good old Lao-Tse and really listen to the kids. They believed in astrology, which I was still convinced was bosh; in reincarnation, which I considered an extravagant metaphor one shouldn’t take literally; and in that form of the doctrine of Karma which holds, optimistically, that the evil really are punished and the good really are rewarded, which I considered a wishful fantasy no more likely than the Christian idea of Heaven and Hell. Worst of all, they had a huge appetite for various Oriental “Masters” whom I regarded as total charlatans, and an enormous disdain for all the scientific methodology of the West.

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28 Comments on "Bombs & Karma"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Apr 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm |

    having lived in Asia for 6 years now, I’ve observed that
    Asia is the land of karma and
    all social interactions in Asia are shaped by it
    even the Japanese know they’re paying down a karmic debt
    what goes around comes around

    America’s karmic debt is significantly higher than its National Debt
    American’s non-stop genocidal, expansionist wars
    will eventually come back to bite it in the ass
    just as it has for every evil empire

    I hope I’m living somewhere else when that day finally arrives

  2. Not sure I like the idea of Karma
    as a blind machine that strikes whenever;
    I prefer my Karma to have all the time in the world
    and a sense of humor that doesn’t shy away
    from the macabre, when it makes sense.
    A Karma with intelligence, if you will
    (even if it’s in no way Buddhist).

  3. kaos, not karma.

  4. Bruteloop | Apr 20, 2013 at 9:32 am |

    When I read about Boston I immediately thought karma because of all the money raised there for IRA bombings. But whatever it is…people died for no good reason. Is there ever one? Just heard today of a friend’s death. Life is a bugger but very precious.

  5. I really wish RAW was around to see and comment on some of the events of the last few years. We are truly living in a wilsonian era of identity politics, dogmatic religion and scientism, conspiracy, and information overload.

    His genius intellect and absurdist humor are something lacking in mainstream thought lately.

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