The Meaning And Interpretation Of Karma

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Table of contents

  1. What is Karma?
  2. Are my actions determined by something else?
  3. Interpretation

The saying 'what goes around, comes around,' is the first thing that enters my mind when karma's mentioned. By definition, karma is an action; good or bad, fate, or destined. Karma might be used to explain the meaning of why certain things occur; e.g., I good luck or bad luck, that may be attributed to my karma. Most conventional religions teach about the consequences of our actions; that by doing good deeds, you will not face the results of your actions. Loosely saying, 'what goes around, comes around'…karma.

This essay will explain how karma has affected my life and why I base many of my actions around karma. It will also show that karma is an influential force and how it has the power to affect a human being positively. Karma has the ability to change a human's behavior, but when the beliefs of karma and irrationality are intertwined, the results can be amplified.

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What is Karma?

Although karma can be a powerful influence on people, it is only influential when one has given karma power. I believe the value of my past actions has decided my fate for the future; this belief may be artificial; nonetheless, it has affected my ethical thinking. I have always believed in an extraordinary power, but I am uncertain of who or what that significant power is. Karma allows me to settle on a remarkable influence without knowing entirely what my belief is. Karma has taught me that generosity and kindness, truth, and honesty are possessions that are equally rewarded. It has also taught me that if I was to become immoral, those actions may come back and haunt me. Karma has the significance of influencing the way I think and act, and its effect on my moral characters ultimately inspires me to do the same.

Are my actions determined by something else?

Determinism is probably the most crucial topic in philosophy and physical science. Most people, including scientists, do not believe actions are determined. A belief in my worldview would cause some people to debate against me regarding the philosophical question, 'Are our actions free or determined?' Although free will asserts that we have power over our behaviors, our viewed actions are the result of reflection and decision, not internal or external forces. Determined denies free will and maintains that everything in nature, including human behavior, happens as a result of cause and effect. If every effect already has a cause, then my actions and my choices are simply the results of some preexisting reasons that produced them, and they were not freely arrived at (58).

In the last few weeks, I have used an example of my horrible car buying experience to explain how that situation has crossed over or related to concepts of philosophical thinking. This experience has influenced how I analytically, critically, and effectively think about circumstances. Furthermore, for me to understand what or why things had happened; were these situations determined? As a result of cause and effect, I feel that my actions were determined. My actions were determined by something other than my unbiased assessment of the situation and my free choice among possible options (60).

When I was buying a car for my son a few years ago, I felt good about the situation. I thought that I had done the homework to buy a safe vehicle from a reliable source. I did not have the mindset that I was going to regret buying this vehicle; I just thought that this is the right step of independence for my teenage son. Although, as a mother, I had to ask the nagging questions: Is he ready? Am I ready? Is this the right car? Should we wait and look elsewhere? Barely able to contain his excitement, my son convinced me that this was the car for him.

When we test drove the car, nothing significantly noticeable made us believe that there were issues with the vehicle. The salesperson and I agreed with the purchasing price, and all that needed to be done was to sign the papers. I went through reading and signing the documents; I handed the papers back along with my bank card, and in return, she gave me copies of the paperwork and the keys. The first few days, he was thrilled; he loved his new independence. However, that did not last long; the car started to have electrical issues. By replacing the battery and alternator, my son had his freedom back. Things were great for another week; however, a week later, the car had a 'wobble' after reaching a certain speed, so I put the car back into the shop. The auto technician called and said that the driveline was about to fall out. Although I was upset about the added expense, I was more relieved that the car did not drop the driveline while my son was driving, resulting in a severe accident.

While the car sat in the shop waiting for parts to arrive, I had to figure the extra expense into my monthly budget. While reconciling my bank account, I noticed that the car lot had not charged me for my son's car. After realizing the mistake, it was evident that I needed to call the car lot and correct the error. Almost at once, the auto shop called to tell me that the estimate that they quoted was going to be a couple of hundred dollars more. Knowing it was not the shop's fault for all the issues that the car was having, I was still quite upset. I was upset with the car lot because I felt that they had scammed me. Then I remembered that they had not charged my bank. So, then, I felt slightly redeemed. I sat on the car lot's mistake for about a week. The car was out of the shop, my son was back to driving himself to school, and I was not too stressed over the added expense. Even though I contemplated not contacting the car lot, because I did feel justified; I did call to correct the error. I left a voicemail with the person that I signed the paperwork with, and to no avail, she never returned my call.

After a few days of me calling the car lot, my son was leaving for school and returned almost immediately; there was a Marion County Sheriff's business card on the windshield of the car asking to give them a call. Calling Marion County, I learned that the car lot was suing me for the money that they neglected to charge my bank account, and the sheriff's office needed to serve me the summons. At that moment, I had a few choice words and feelings. Nonetheless, I was served the summons later that day and internally felt like a thief. After finally getting an approval code from the charge card, I had many thoughts swimming around in my head, karma being the biggest one. I felt karma was getting me back for not calling immediately and had even considered in not calling them because I thought that they sold us a lemon. Ultimately, I was relieved that it was all said and done, and I would never have to deal with them again. Marginally, I felt that it came down to the question of responsibility, theirs, and mine?


Why this situation matters to me so much is based on my ethical and moral values. When I was a child, I was always preached to by parents, teachers, and pastors the Golden Rule 'do unto others as you would have done unto you' (Matthew 7:12, KJV). I wholeheartedly believe based on cause and effect that this experience's outcome was determined. The result had negative consequences because of my actions. Although I feel that my actions were determined by the constraint of feelings, possibly even irrational, however, I still felt justified in not calling at once due to all the issues the car was having (59). I could not foresee the consequences; therefore, I did not know the car lot's response.

I've tried to compare my experience to B.F. Skinner's explanation of human behavior: A scientific analysis of behavior must assume that a person's behavior is controlled by his genetic and environmental histories rather than by the person himself…There is no place in the scientific position for a self as a true originator or initiator of action. (68)

However, it makes me feel as if I am placing blame on others rather than myself. I interrupt this experience as: Realizing the clerical error, I should have called at once. The cause (stimulus) of me not calling was the issues with the car. The effect (response) was negative, because it resulted in a lawsuit with damaged credit history, and the scarred feeling of a thief. It ended with the sole responsibility of negative results on my shoulders, because of all the wrong unjustified steps that I took. This reinforces Skinner's belief of behaviors decreasing by way of negative reinforcement (67); I will never follow through with corrupt actions that result in negative consequences again. As the old saying goes, 'what comes around, goes around.'

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The Meaning And Interpretation Of Karma. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from
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