Amoral Karma

I have a very simple policy towards other people’s religions, which is much the same as the policy that I have towards other people’s sex lives: that is to say that I regard them as being deeply personal, and so I will never go out of my way to criticize them.

There is, however, one exception to this rule: I will not hesitate to criticize a religious belief (or a sexual practice) when it is used in service of oppressing another Human Being.

Case in point, I must confess that I’ve got a bit of an burning loathing of the concept of notions of “Karma,” at least as it is practiced in Western “New Age” belief systems*. Or rather, I have a burning loathing of Karma to the extent that it is used as a glorious banner of victim-blaming.

Case in point, this sniveling little idiot by the name of Audrey Kitching, who (according to Wikipedia) is “an American fashion blogger, model and fashion designer,” who was “discovered at the age of fourteen.**” Apparently, she has a twitter feed:

In case the picture doesn’t appear, the text reads: >I believe everything happens for a reason. I wanna know your take on rape? please< Maybe the person raped had done something of the sort to someone else in another life time…. Just food for thought 🙂

Now there’s as shameless a bit of victim-blaming as any I’ve ever had the misfortune to read! I mean, damn! At least when some knuckle-dragger blames the victim for what she was wearing, that’s at least a falsifiable statement. This, by contrast, is a universal way to blame any victim all of the time with no one ever being able to prove you wrong.

I mean, imagine some poor child who gets tortured to death by their parents before they even turn five years oldApparently this is peachy-keen-neat-o-riffic by Audrey Kitching’s “reasoning” because they were probably a concentration camp guard in a past life. In fact, every poor person everywhere was probably guilty of something in a past life so you shouldn’t waste time feeling sorry for them, or anything like that. Hell, if they play their cards right, maybe they’ll get to be reincarnated as a rich, white, first-world fashion models!

All that I can say to close-off this rant is that if Audrey Kitching genuinely considers this little turd to be “food for thought,” then it is a true wonder that her mind hasn’t starved to death yet.

Come to think of it, maybe it has…


*I’m not precisely certain how faithfully New Age belief systems recapitulate Karma as it is actually understood in the religions from which they appropriate it, but my understanding (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) is that the basic idea is essentially the same: people are rewarded/punished in new lives for good/evil acts performed in past lives.

**One wonders where she was before that.

About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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5 Responses to Amoral Karma

  1. incentiveforpi says:

    Reblogged this on Incentive For Pi.

  2. I like this a lot. Recently, I was learning a meditative practice that is basically based on breathing in the suffering of others and yourself, and breathing out peace. It’s against a lot of ‘karmic’ stuff because you aren’t just relishing in your own ability to enjoy goodness and expel your badness. Some of the students had concerns with this, and in response, one of the instructors mentioned a cool quote from some Buddhist person that was something like: “A student asked the teacher, ‘what if when I take in this person’s sickness and suffering, I actually take it into myself?’ and the teacher said, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could?’ ” and it really sort of affected the group because the classic new age thing is to be like “breathe out the bad, breathe in the good! and have compassion!”
    I have a big problem with karma too. I think it’s a concept that arose out of a specific political and economic situation, and that many people in modern society do not have an accurate basis from which to understand it fully. They more often than not use it to justify staying numb, avoidant, and ignorant of the process of actual empathy. Just my opinion though. Thanks for putting this out there.

    • See the thing is I can actually understand how karma, as a moral system, can be used to encourage people to behave like decent human beings. However, it can just be corrupted into supporting arbitrary hierarchies and blaming victims for their suffering so bloody easily.

  3. Leah Jane says:

    I can assure you that Karma as it’s understood by stupid new-agers has very, very little to do with how it his practised in an East Asian tradition. New Age Karma is to Karma in Hinduism/Jainism/Buddhism/What have you as Fake-ass sweat lodges where people suffocate because of the smoke and toxic chemicals are to real sweat lodges supervised by an elder in a traditional setting.

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