Any Karma In America Essay, Research Paper
The idea of justice is a prominent issue for all societies. Courts have been established to censor the actions of accused persons and it has long been a major theme to be dealt with in many societies throughout history. One of the first cultures to describe the issue of justice is ancient India. By 500 B. C., the Brahman ideas had changed from centering thought on prayer to the idea of justice and philosophy. This new way of thinking on justice and love for knowledge established the idea of karma, being considered as the good or bad consequences of an action. Without including the belief of reincarnation of the early Indian society, karma will be described in terms of an individual?s life before he or she dies rather than influencing the next life after death as the Indians believed. Therefore, karma will be described as an action of an individual influencing the future of that individual before his or her death. Today, the idea of karma can be considered in the life of every individual in American society, but the beliefs ancient Indians exulted cannot be seen in the consequences of actions when considering the society of today.
In first describing karma in ancient India, consequences in the future (or the next life in Indian beliefs) were based on the individual?s present actions, exemplifying a cause and effect relationship. Good deeds would lead to a better and more prosperous life, while bad deeds would lead to a less prosperous future life. Therefore, this Indian idea of justice is based on an individual getting what he or she deserved as the result of an action, a good result with virtuous actions and a bad result with fiendish actions. One of the shortcomings of early India?s idea of karma is the absence of reasoning accounting for good things happening to bad people and bad things to good people.
Another characteristic of early India?s idea of karma is that rewards and punishments work automatically and are not controlled by a supernatural being. As mentioned previously, the shift of culture to a more secular society had taken place. Ancient Indians believed that destiny in this impartial world was controlled at the level of the individual, with consequences being the result of actions of the individual. Because of this Indian idea of destiny, fate, which is the belief of a predestined path that is set for a person before he or she is born, was not considered in their culture. As a result, fate would be the antithesis of the popular belief that destiny is controlled by the individual.
Even though the actions resulted in consequences, a person could escape from his or her transgressions through two ways. The first being asceticism and the other is meditation. Asceticism is withdrawing from society by avoiding any pleasures in life, while mediation allowed one to think intensely one a subject. The first tortured the body, and thus the mind, while the second would erase the desire of a bad action through deep concentration, and and the absence of this desire thus illuminated the action altogether.
Even though karma was prominent belief in historic India, the idea of karma offered the greatest benefit for the lowest caste of society for two major reasons. The first reason was that they had the longest path in achieving the premier ranking in the Indian caste system. When an individual is in the grudges of society doing the entire load of the filthy labor, it takes only little motivation to improve the caste in the future. Next, life would become progressively better in the higher castes. As one would move farther up in the caste system, life would get progressively easier and an individual would then be less motivated to follow ideas of karma because he or she was satisfied with the present class, even though an individual could back fall into a previous caste. Therefore, the extent of following karma would be less as one moved up, doing only what was required rather than overachieving good deeds to assure improvement of life. Although the improvement of the caste cannot be directly related to today?s society, post-secondary education can be one example of a person?s passion to become more marketable to the future employees, resulting in being more prosperous and this improving his or her future lifestyle.
When first considering the idea of karma in conjunction of the today?s society, the ambiguous belief of right and wrong must first be noted. The actions that are considered bad to some may appear acceptable to others, while the same is true for good deeds. For example, some view drinking alcohol as destruction to society and being tied to most crimes in some way. Alcohol is also often considered as a gateway drug, which will lead to the use of other illicit and addicting drugs, with many users resorting to crime for assurance of more drugs. On the other hand, many people see alcohol as being a way of life and a good resort for stress relief and social interaction. This ambiguous relationship can be applied most actions, thus resulting in no distinct line between right and wrong, except in the case of criminal offenses.
In relating the idea of karma to our society, beliefs of the society should be first examined. American society has both commendable and vile beliefs, and, even though we exhibit some bad beliefs, America is one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations in the world. The virtuous beliefs coincide with the justice system, such as indicting criminals for actions such as robbery and murder, but inauspicious moral actions are also present and tolerated by the government. For example, abortion is easily seen by some as killing, just at a time before the fetus is considered alive. In addition to abortion, the killing of animals for research is seen to many as harming another form of life, but is upheld by the government because it seems to benefit humans by increasing knowledge of physiologic processes. Believers in karma, which would say that America should not be wealthy due to the toleration of bad deeds, is in conflict with the truth that America is indeed very prosperous.
Another flaw with the belief of karma in our society can be seen through no reasoning for bad things happening to good people and good things happening to bad people. For example, a good friend plays baseball at the collegiate level in North Dakota. He also seems to exhibit the skills necessary to play at the professional level. Many young athletes have hopes of one day playing at the professional level, making professional players prominent and popular role models. With the belief in karma in relation to these elite role models, it could be inferred that Indians consider this skillful collegiate athlete very righteous in his actions, and thus had been gifted with the ability due to virtue, although this is not the case. In fact, the same athlete and his female pregnant partner continued with an abortion, which can very easily be understood a diabolic and evil action to the fetus.
The next example deals with the opposite situation of unfortunate disasters in the lives of good people. A young couple, being married about 5 years, resides in the southwestern part of Georgia. They were prominent community citizens, being loyal members of a nearby church and giving to the less fortunate and helping in the community in many ways. The two married after college, both being in the middle twenties of age, and both establishing promising jobs. The two were blessed with a child, fulfilling the perfect story of two young prospering adults starting a family. In mid February of 2000, a devastating tornado stripped the family of everything they had, and now they must start again. This is only of the many examples of destruction in the lives of virtuous people. As one of the flaws, the belief of karma does not account for bad things happening to virtuous people.
The belief in karma would not be very strong in the society for several reasons. First, there is not set ideas of right and wrong and the ideas vary from person to person. Karma is unable to account for any reasoning behind America being wealthy and powerful with the toleration of many immoral practices upheld by the society. Karma neither establishes reasoning for benevolent consequences in the lives of corrupt people nor the contrary extreme. There are no definite rules setting the standard of those being fortunate and those less fortunate, and the only explanation is that fortune and misfortune is a way of life.