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essays and commentary
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The basic idea of karma is that one’s actions have consequences. Good actions have good consequences, and bad actions have bad consequences. Also, the death of the physical body is not a barrier for karma. Some consequences may, in effect, be deferred until one’s next incarnation in a p-common body.
Given the computing-element reality model, one can dismiss any suggestion that karma is some universal law of the universe that operates in some impartial and perfect way. Instead, karma is personal and subjective. Negative karma (karma for bad actions) operates in two ways, both of which are highly subjective:
In general, if you harm someone else in a way that is judged unfair by that person (this recognition and judgment can be either consciously made or unconsciously made), then, in effect, that person, either during the current incarnation or during the next incarnation, may at some point try to pay you back and harm you in return. In a word, this is revenge.
This is a consequence of our structure: a single soliton (one’s awareness) ruling a large, cooperating population of bions (one’s mind). In effect, if one fails to be a good ruler, there may be a rebellion of the ruled.
Just as your awareness (the soliton) is a member in a larger society (the bions composing your mind), so is your person a member in a larger human society. Harming human society is analogous to harming your mind, and can encourage rebellion. Thus, to be a good ruler over one’s own mind:
Do things that tend to be socially constructive, and avoid doing things that tend to be socially destructive.
Note that this guideline does not necessarily mean that one should not attack or disrupt the society in which one lives, because not every society is just or fair, and even a good society can probably be improved. Also, construction sometimes requires a preceding destruction.
Note that one’s own family is the smallest and most immediate society in which one lives. And, as the saying goes: charity begins in the home.
As a worst-case example of how the rebellion can manifest itself in the next incarnation, consider the case of schizophrenics who are tormented by voices that accuse them in various ways. These voices are from the person’s own mind, and are independent but “low,” having an extremely limited mental range.,
Although some of the misfortunes that befall one may be the result of karma, one should avoid oversimplifying and assuming that all misfortunes are the result of karma.
We are finite, and our minds are limited. Real accidents do happen (although some apparent accidents may be unconsciously arranged by one’s own mind and/or other minds). Also, one may be caught in some larger social process which has nothing to do with one’s karma but has a negative effect on one’s life. And, of course, the experience of ill health touches all, and the misfortunes of old age befall everyone who lives long enough.
In general, because of our own complexity, life is complex, with many often-conflicting influences. Karma is only a part of what influences our lives. And, as the saying goes: you have to take the good with the bad.
 Just as all that one sees is a construction of one’s own mind (section 3.6), so is all that one hears a construction of one’s own mind. Thus, all voices that one may hear, are constructed by one’s own mind, regardless of whether the text (what the voice is saying) has an internal origin (from within one’s own mind) or an external origin (from one of the sensory sources: either one’s physical hearing or telepathic hearing).
A typical person is familiar with two kinds of voices: the voice of one’s own thoughts (this is the same as the voice one hears when reading), and voices heard thru one’s physical hearing (whether hearing oneself talk or hearing others talk). Apparently, given the unerring ease with which one distinguishes between hearing the voice of one’s own thoughts and hearing voices heard thru one’s physical hearing, and given the fact that both types of hearing can take place simultaneously without interference between them, it follows that there are two different non-overlapping allocations of awareness-particle input channels (section 9.6) for carrying the two kinds of hearing to the awareness: one allocation carries the voice of one’s own thoughts, and the other allocation carries all the sounds, including voices, heard thru one’s physical hearing.
As a rule, the text for the voice of one’s own thoughts has an internal origin, and this voice has a soft and unobtrusive sound. A person may also have experience with hearing voices in one’s dreams. In this case, the dream voices have the same sound quality as voices heard thru physical hearing. In other words, they sound like normal voices, instead of sounding like the voice of one’s own thoughts. These dream voices are probably carried to the awareness over the same allocation used for carrying the sounds heard thru one’s physical hearing.
In the case of psychics who claim to hear normal voices, which they believe are telepathic communications from other minds (typically from the dead), such telepathic communication is certainly possible. However, alternatively, in at least some cases, the text may have an internal origin or a mixed origin. In either case, if the voice sounds normal (in other words, the voice sounds like voices heard thru one’s physical hearing) then that heard voice is probably carried to the awareness over the same allocation used for carrying the sounds heard thru one’s physical hearing.
Apparently for some people—typically women—who take their religious beliefs too seriously about submitting their will to God, Jesus, or whatever, they may find themselves being ordered about by their own unconscious mind masquerading behind a normal-sounding voice. In effect, they abdicate the natural right of their awareness as ruler, and give that right to their unconscious mind, imagining that the voice they hear is the voice of God, Jesus, or whatever.
Schizophrenics who are tormented by accusatory voices claim to hear those voices as normal voices. But it should be clear that the text of the voices, regardless of how they sound and regardless of which allocation is carrying those voices, has an internal origin, given such reported characteristics as the extreme monotony and repetition of the text. For these schizophrenics, the rebellion that they caused in their own mind has a voice (this rebellion, typically, is a consequence of actions in their previous incarnation).
 Although it appears that schizophrenics tormented by accusing voices are, in at least the typical case, suffering karmic consequences, one should not conclude that every serious mental malady is karmic.
As a specific example of a non-karmic mental malady, consider the case of mongoloid idiots (aka Down Syndrome). Martha Beck tells the story of her Down-Syndrome child, Adam (Beck, Martha. Expecting Adam. Times Books, New York, 1999):
I started dreaming about dolphins when Adam was about two, right after his younger sister was born. It was always the same dream. It began with me standing on the shore of a glassy-clam sea, watching the sun rise. Then suddenly (and no matter how many times I dreamt it, this always startled me), a dolphin broke the surface of the water in front of me, throwing itself skyward. Drops of water scattered from its fins and flanks like a shower of diamonds in the slanting light. The dolphin seemed to hang in the air for a moment, then arced downward and disappeared into the sea again.
Then I would always look up again, out at the sea, and notice that Adam was in the water as well. He would be playing with the dolphin, his bright blond head shining like flax just above the waves. I could hear the two of them talking to each other, a strange, squealing, clicking chatter that meant nothing to me.
This [dream] went on for a couple of years. Every time it happened, I’d spend hours trying to figure out what it meant. … In the end, I always came back to the same conclusion: the dolphins in my dream represented … dolphins. …
One day, when Adam was four, a neighbor of ours dropped by for a visit. When she saw Adam, she said, “I just read the most interesting article about a little boy with Down syndrome. After he was born, his mother started dreaming about dolphins. Couldn’t get them off her mind.”[Ibid., pp. 319–320]
This connection between Down-Syndrome children and dolphins is apparently real, and is not limited to Martha Beck’s experience. The explanation for Down Syndrome, given both the apparent evidence and the computing-element reality model, is that a Down-Syndrome child, in at least the typical case, was a dolphin in his previous incarnation. (Note that this explanation implicitly rejects the explanation that Down Syndrome is caused by trisomy 21. Although trisomy 21 strongly correlates with Down Syndrome, correlation by itself is not causation. Instead of being the cause, trisomy 21 can be just one of the effects of a different cause, as is suggested here.)
The reason such a child has the kind of mental retardation characteristic of Down Syndrome, is because the jump from being a dolphin to being a normal human in one incarnation is too big a jump to make. In effect, there is too much that is different in terms of all the learned programs involved and the integration that needs to be done to produce a normal child. The part of the dolphin that incarnates is not able to do everything needed to produce a normal child. The end result is the characteristics of Down Syndrome. Thus, the transition from being a dolphin to being a normal human takes more than a single incarnation. However, considering how much is accomplished in that first incarnation, my guess is that by the second incarnation that new human is either normal or nearly normal.