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So I was just thinking on this the other night: that the doctrine of karma in both Hinduism (writ large) and Buddhism rests on the unquestioned underlying assumption that the universe is inherently and fundamentally morally just.

Karma in Hinduism is basically a reward/punishment mechanism for doing what one is "supposed to do (or belying it)," this judgment doled out by the Divine; while karma in Buddhism, if I'm remembering this correctly, is a mechanism which rewards virtue and punishes sin according to some universal equalizing function (no Deities necessary).

Neither of them -- in what I've read of both, at least (and in Hinduism my readings are sparse, at this point; it gets really deep really fast) -- question the idea that "good" deeds beget good lives, and "bad" deeds beget bad ones. This is somewhat obvious if one is living in a tribal or civil society, because we have laws and things; or else we have angry relatives and loved ones. But the very notion that the universe is inherently fundamentally morally just, is something that I've been questioning. It doesn't seem as though it follows from the rest of my thought.

What I've got at this point is:
- a belief in a personal self (gained after years of trying to find that self, plus what's seemed to be a soul-recovery);
- a belief in a Spirit that is just kind of everywhere, at all times, although this belief rests on the possibility of extradimensionality;
- a lack of belief in peoples' inherent goodness (*points at a recent news story about how infants registered pleasure at seeing "different" beings suffering*);
- a lack of belief in anything's inherent evilness (as the concept of "evil" makes no sense to me);
- the measure which leads me to think that pain is just a survival mechanism, part of being a volitional lifeform which can choose to harm itself and others, or not;
- a belief that life is inherently sacred, regardless of whether it has a face or not;
- a belief that life, taken as an individual matter, is inherently extremely fragile, even though life on the whole (with biodiversity accounted for) is remarkably resilient;
- a belief that the universe itself is holy;
- a belief in the existence of spirits, based on my own experience;
- a reasoned notion as well as belief that I (as a body) happen to be at least a platform for spirits to speak through;
- a notion that the self that sees itself is spirit, in me;
- a lack of specific feelings of "humanity" or specific feelings of being any other living (or mythological) species, other than some variant of "spirit".

Nowhere in there is there anything about the universe being inherently beneficent. <!-- s:? --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_confused.gif" alt=":?" title="Confused" /><!-- s:? --> Therefore, the specific question of reincarnation, which seems to be a rejoinder onto the idea that the universe is good and therefore would not allow us (as living beings) to extinguish, falls also into question.

Why am I writing this...? Ah, right. The assumption that the universe is (or rather, must be) inherently morally just...it doesn't work for me (rationally, at this point), because *morals,* specifically, are a human invention. They seem to have been invented for the reason of keeping populations under control -- which is a fine purpose, but not a cosmic one. One could say that our biosphere tends to equilibrium, or at least (hopefully) will, until the Sun goes red giant...but how that is applied to morals, or how morals stem from it, is a bit too much to think of, at the moment. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

So I'm not sure how much of this is M. Spirit Friend; I know he sometimes influences my thoughts, and I'm thinking that investigating Daoism further may help me understand where he's coming from (especially as Daoism has an explicit focus on immortality, which is these days a focus on Spiritual Immortality, as Physical Immortality just doesn't happen, or won't, until the first brain is uploaded). Point remains that according to established personal mythology, he and I joined when I was around 17. This was around the same time I started getting the thoughts that I was going against some kind of cosmic order by absorbing him, and that I'd continue to absorb others, as he was a being who could fuse with other beings, and now he was I and all of this, and now I knew how to do it, whatever...

Flat-out, if reincarnation doesn't exist, is joining another life as a spirit attachment (and eventually being fully absorbed) the only way to survive after death? The question kind of doesn't make much sense, because if one can survive death at least temporarily by finding a suitable host (to suck energy off of), that means that there *is* some personal essence that survives. If there is personal essence left, then why might it not find its way to another egg? I've been told that going through reincarnation the normal way dumps a large amount of, basically, one's knowledge of self. Memory might be left behind with the last shell (much of it in the brain and nervous system), but what has happened to make one who one is, remains -- even if the specific events that led to those results are forgotten. So the past continues on with us in the form of who we are, even though we normally don't realize it.

And I suppose that when I look at it in that sense, it makes sense as to why I'd feel like an embodied ghost -- I mean, looking at "ghost" in a "non-paranormal" sense, as emphatically not an energetic echo across time... But when I knew Bell as a being outside of myself, I knew him as a ghost, so maybe it all makes sense? I'm not sure at this point if I'm wondering about reincarnation or if *he's* wondering about reincarnation.

Ah -- I just looked back at the Subject: line and remembered my initial reason for posting...in that it seems that a lot of people have beliefs which rest on unexamined reasoning...so we endlessly debate things like whether or not Deities exist, instead of asking why it is that one would believe in one or more Deities. Which, of course, is a lot deeper and a lot more vulnerable, and maybe people don't want to get that vulnerable with skeptics -- especially if their rights could be abridged because of being classified as mentally ill. (Sorry, this whole U.S. gun debate thing is on my mind, too -- I've heard some stuff going around about how the mentally ill shouldn't have access to guns, as though that will fix the problem of gun violence. But I shouldn't get into that.) But a question which focuses on motivations for belief could probably get farther than a question which focuses on the symptom and not the cause. I'm not sure if anyone wants to discuss this with me, but I thought I'd put it out there, as it was nagging me. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->
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