MY SECOND NOVEL BLOG #9.

            THEORY OF KARMA

 AS A BEHAVIORAL PARADIGM.

           


             My second novel is going to be on the topic of reincarnation. I have been writing blogs on the reasons why a writer finds this topic a rich source for fictionalization. In my previous blog , I had discussed the relationship between the theory of karma and reincarnation. I had suggested that the theme of reincarnation is , in reality , a fictionalization of the theory of karma. It is our emotional need that forces us to believe in reincarnation and therefore in the theory of karma. It does not mean that just because our belief in reincarnation or in the theory of karma is based on emotional needs , that the idea of reincarnation or the theory of karma are invalid. It is just that our belief in these ideas is not based on the facts but on our own emotional need to believe in them. As to the question whether the the theory of karma and therefore the idea of reincarnation are true , I think we have no way of knowing it.

             In this blog , I would take these ideas as true , in the psychological sense. In other words , the fact ,that we believe in them , makes them true because they shape our attitudes and behaviors. Therefore if one wants to understand our behavior, then that person has to accept that these ideas are true because we behave  as if they were true. Therefore our behavior can  make sense  only if one factors into our beliefs in the theory of karma and reincarnation.

              As a writer , I have always wondered how much of our behavior is governed by the theory of karma. More importantly , I have wondered whether this influence has been beneficial or harmful. In this blog I would discuss the nature of influence that the theory of karma has had on our behavior. Whether this influence is good or bad is a matter of personal opinion and I would refrain from putting  my personal opinion in public domain. In this blog , I would discuss how we face our lives and how we respond to changes in our lives.

              The theory of karma , as I would discuss in my future blogs , is a fairly complex system of beliefs. However , there are certain broad inferences that are widely perceived to be true. I would use these generalizations to show how our behavior is shaped by them. For this purpose , I have selected three generalizations. They are accepting inevitability of the consequences of one’s actions  , absolving oneself from the consequences and fatalism. To be candid , the first two generalizations are contradictory. This contradiction finds its resolution in the third generalization. 

              As a writer , what appeals to me is the fact this contradiction and it’s resolution represents the way our mind works. Our mind is capable of believing in two contradictory assertions at the same time. Our mind does this because it operates in different modules simultaneously. Therefore  our mind is capable of handling contradictions which , incidentally computer is incapable of.  This modularity of mind is the source of most of the psychopathologies. On one hand , this ability to handle contradictions gives rise to mental illness , on the other hand , it gives an opportunity to our mind to cope with complex situations. In other words , our mind is capable of turning us into either a genius or a crazy person ( in some rare cases it happens simultaneously).

                  The beautiful aspect of our mind is not that it can handle such contradictions , but that it tries to create a third interpretation that accommodates the two contradictory assertions. It is possible to take a pessimistic view and focus on the mind’s ability to create mental illnesses. Similarly, it is possible to take an optimistic view and focus on the mind’s ability to find meaning from these apparent contradictions. However , as a writer , I am more interested in totality of mind. This is because most of us are required to live in twilight of genius and insanity. There are moments in our lives when we might do insane things , but there are moments in our lives when we can perceive the wisdom that only a genius can perceive. It is this swinging between the wisdom and the madness that sums up our lives. As a writer , I aspire to capture this transience of our lives.

                 On returning to the three generalizations , that I plan to discuss , there is another deeper relationship between them. The perceptive readers may wonder that if the reasoning given above is true , then all the truths are subjective. For instance , if the contradictory assertions are capable of being reinterpreted into more fundamental wisdom , then their contradiction is false in some sense. Similarly ,if the third assertion were to be by-product of the reinterpretation of two contradictory assertions then the third assertion is a derivative of the first two assertions. If that is true then how can the third assertion be a fundamentally true. At best, it can only a supplementary truth. In other words , all truths are subjective. This doubt about our mind’s ability to perceive truths is legitimate. Surprisingly , this doubt is answered by the theory of karma. The theory of karma is not merely a method of keeping accounts of one’s actions. It is a theory of providing definition of truth , it’s relationship with individual soul and how to make individual soul to arrive at the fundamental truth as defined by the theory of karma.  Thus the theory of karma works at two levels. At a quantitative level , it gives a way of measuring and at a qualitative level it gives a way of understanding.It is in this sense that the theory of karma provides us a behavioral paradigm.

          In my next blog , I would discuss the three generalizations of the theory of karma in some details. I would deconstruct the three  generalizations mentioned above and show how they have shaped our behavior.


I would like to share a good news about my writing. My website is now operational and can be accessed through the following link. I would like to thank my publisher CinnamonTeal Publishing for creating this website.  

     http://vaachakmitra.com/.    

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