Monday, October 10, 2011

Roll The Bones: Karma and Probability

Posted on October 1, 2010 by theobjectivistobserver

Probability and randomness are tough things to wrap your head around.We are used to logic and order in the physical world.If you throw a stone from some height, the only direction it is going is down (unless you are in a Zero-G chamber or really really drunk). That’s order in the universe for you-things are predictable like that.We don’t have to worry about probability with things like this-because we assume it will always happen.
It will always happen-until it doesn’t.The black swan is a case in point.But that is a topic for another day.We can more or less assume the predictability of the physical world that we live in for all practical purposes
When everything seems to make sense in the physical world, we try to extend the same to our actions and the things that happen to us as a result. But it gets really dicey there. You do good. Because of your inherent love for symmetry and what you have been taught all your life,the only thing you expect to happen to you in return is “good”. The theory of Karma.

But wait. How can you expect immediate returns from the universe? So,you believe it will come back to you. You do good, the universe will reward you for it. You do bad and the universe will get you for it.If not now,in the future. So far,so good.Nice enough theory.But then you ask:what about the people who are born with deformities. People who are born into poverty. How does your theory explain this. Bad happened out of nothing. What now?Hmmmmm. We have to get this to work somehow. We can’t leave our lives unexplained. All right, they didn’t do bad in this life, they did bad in their previous birth. Enter reincarnation. Awesome. It’s not enough to be born with a disability.You also now have to carry guilt from some other life.

Does this really make sense? But it happens. This is because the philosophy that most people follow in their day to day life is in most cases derived from religion. The problem is that religion thrives on uncertainty. If you take the unknown out of the equation,religion ceases to exist.Religion takes advantage of this uncertainty and wields its power over people by giving them answers-something to hold on to.The problem is that those answers do not have a shred of logic in them-yet most of the population falls for them. In trying to tie up all the loose ends in our life,we delve into theories that rely on faith and mysticism as opposed to logic.The only reason why people believe in karma is because it is comforting-it is comforting to feel that there is some sense-some order.That the forces of the universe are not random but respond to your actions.

It’s comforting-but it’s also complete bullshit. When we believe in Karma, we are essentially questioning the very lives we are living.

The only thing that is true is the way things happen is randomness.The only defense that one has against what happens is to play the probability of things happening-to minimize the probability of bad happening and to maximize your exposure to good things happening by serendipity.
Objective reality should guide a person’s beliefs about life and the universe.That is not to say that one should not do good ,thinking that if the theory of Karma is not true, doing good is pointless. Whatever action one takes should be a product of the values that one believes in and the principles of the fundamental philosophy which one follows in their life.Do good because it is what you believe in and it is what is right by your beliefs and principles-not because of things what the thoroughly corrupting “The Secret” and “The Alchemist” teach you.
Only accept the cause-effect that is rational and logical and thus real.

Randomness is real.Enjoy it.