The Karmic Challenge – Week 21. Does the universe care if you pick your nose?

You know how when you’re on a diet, you go past a chocolate shop and your mouth waters and sometimes you just can’t resist – you have to go in there and buy a family sized bar of Cadbury Dark Gold?

Well, for me, philosophising is like that.  I try not to do it, because most people start yawning and consulting their I-Phones – but then sometimes I just can’t resist that dark, all consuming temptation.  (It’s also great with chocolate, by the way).

So I guess what follows is a kind of guilty indulgence.  It may help some people to imagine me doing it in fishnets.

Professor of Metaphysics Preparing for Inaugural Lecture


Suppose you don’t believe in an absolute, universal standard of morality (I don’t).  But suppose you do believe in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ karma (I do).  How do you get these two concepts together? How do you make them snuggle up together in their ethical basket and not wake up growling and snapping in the night?


In the LEFT corner, we have, scowling and rude-fingering the crowd, Belief Number One.  And here it is!  The universe doesn’t CARE if I do good deeds or spread crap everywhere I go.  It doesn’t arrange ‘lessons’ for me.  There is no entity thinking, hmmm, Rose has done very well on her empathy exam, but she needs to sit Humility 101 again…I’ll stick her soul in an Indian peasant, send her through a few Bhopals and train riots, and she should do better next time around.  Any more than the position of stars I don’t even know the name of determines that all Aquarians are going to wear the wrong shoes with their evening dresses (which it does, in my case).

In the RIGHT corner, replete with gleaming toga and smug smile, Belief No Two!  If I don’t behave, I’ll cop it.  For instance, why is it that the ills inflicted on me by the Demon Ex, are very like the ills I myself inflicted on other exes over the years? KARMA. Why did I pick a man who in many ways echoed my vices?  (Not that I mean to drone on about the DE, he’s over and done with, but just as an example). KARMA.  Why do I find, in my life, that when I do things I’m ashamed of, they rebound on me? K-K-K-KARMA!

How can I reconcile these two philosophical welter-weights and have them eating nicely out of the same bowl?

Haven’t these people grown out of their rompers already??


By admitting – they’re both right.  Stuff affects us, and we affect stuff, because we live in a connected universe.  What divides ‘me’ from ‘not me’? Nothing, really.  Physically, I’m an arrangement of atoms and energy in a universe of atoms and energy.  ‘I’ am a definition, not an entity.  My locus of control spreads outwards in never-ending ripples.

How can we tell the direction of causation – what happens because of what – without knowing the direction of time?  But what if time has no direction?  What if time and causation flow all around us, like the ocean around a single plankton?  Then karma becomes a kind of bio-feedback loop – we cause and are caused, we do and are done by, we receive what we give, and the only person giving me ‘lessons’ is me.

So what have I thrown out into my ocean this week? Pretty much nothing – I’m struggling just to stay afloat. Unless you count taking my treasured eldest sister to Birthday Breakfast on Sunday – CAN we count that, Ms A?  Please?

What do you think? Does the universe care about us? Does somebody have a Plan for you?  Do they have one for the cat – and if not, why not?  Do you believe in the connectedness of all things?  Do you believe in reincarnation or is all this karma-counting for nothing?



  1. Oh, boy, this is a bit heavy for me this morning. I better go eat some chocolate first. And drink some caffeine. And I suspect the universe doesn’t care if I do either, although I suppose my waistline does. 😉

  2. Very good question, and I struggle with it a lot, adding to it the other dimension of forced-and-accepted spirituality of religion that I am still working through.
    I think you’re right about the sense of connection in the universe that is binding all those various concepts… we’re all part of the same energy, how amazing is that!

  3. I think your description is an excellent one, and love the analogy about the flow of time.
    I don’t really care what the universe thinks of me, as long as I’m doing my best to live in a way that I feel is “right”.

    But it would be nice to come back as an eagle or something…
    Maybe as something fast that also naps a lot…

  4. And how slack do I feel, I was so focused on other thoughts I forgot to do a Karmic post. But enjoyed this thought provoking post Rose, I’ll get out of my lethargy tomorrow. Hope you’ve had a good old suck by now (vacuum wise) maybe that’s my Karmic contribution for this week, I’ll leave that one hanging 🙂

    1. A certain person thought you meant I was having liposuction. For the record, not yet – I have an extremely expensive cream that makes you THINK you’re having liposuction – just as good, no?

  5. Five “no”s to your last 5 questions 🙂 Well, maybe there is an interconnectedness at the quantum level. but it is also unpredictable due to Heisenberg’s laws.

    1. Ok I have to admit I don’t know what Heisenberg’s laws are, but the connectedness of which I speak isn’t at the quantum level, it’s at the ordinary level. When you look at a drop in the ocean, you think, that’s part of the ocean – because it’s milling in the middle of a whole lot of other drops, which together make water. Well, what are we but a drop in the ocean, a collection of atoms amongst a vast conglomeration of other atoms? My mind moves my muscles, my muscles move my arm, my arm moves my shirt, my shirt moves the air, the displaced air moves other short, I can’t make a move without affecting the universe. And now I’m going to have to look up H’s laws.

  6. As always, thought provoking Rose 🙂

    As you know, I’m a believer in re-incarnation and karma… not that I’ve any proof, mind you, I just believe.

    Why? I suppose it’s that these concepts allow me to make sense of my world, without them, I think it all means nothing. Which gives rise to the question, does it all need to mean something? For me, the answer is yes.

    Are things preordained? I don’t believe in determinism, if that’s the right term. We all have free will to live our lives the way we choose (within the prevailing cultural/legal/moral/social boundaries – there is another can of worms right there) and we make choices that will effect our outcomes.

    Regarding the connectedness of all things, Salman Rushdie in his novel Midnight’s Children (1981) says it better than I ever could… ‘Who what am I? My answer: I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come.’

    In any case, I don’t know the answer to any of your questions, for sure… there can be no proof, only belief/faith/hope.. not that I’m religious… not that there is anything wrong with that.

    What I do know for sure is that if I strive to become the best person I can be (and that includes not messing with other people’s stuff (possessions/feelings), being respectful, being compassionate, helping those less fortunate than myself, showing humility, etc)… then my life will be good and the world will be a better place.

  7. Ahh the big questions of life. I can’t say I know. Sometimes I think there is a direction and other times it seems I’m bumping into everything. But the chocolate sounds good.

  8. The older I get, the less sure I am of everything. You put forward good points, though, Rose. In a nutshell I might say thinking positive and being fair make for a happy life. Negative thinking or criticism bring unhappiness and bad health.

    1. For a minute there I thought you said ‘bad breath’ rather than ‘bad health’ – it made me laugh (so true, too). I feel the same as you – the older I get, the less rigid (and more rigid, at the same time)

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