Forget About It
Posted on June 21, 2008
Does karma really exist in this world? I, at least, am no believer. If it did exist, retribution would have come long ago, and things wouldn’t have dragged on this long. Both fate and efficiency have proved unreliable. If karma did exist, at the very least it would show itself to a certain extent, or let even a fraction of its spirit reveal itself, rather than allowing tens of millions of people within a few million square kilometers to descend collectively into sky-toppling desperation. It’s all too vague and imprecise, enough to add to the sinking faith of any skeptic.
It’s not a difficult conclusion to arrive at: we absolutely do not live in a world with karma. I’ve seen the light, my chest feels lighter, and so many things have become clear. Don’t even bring up events of days long past; just earlier this year was the enormous snowfall that forced tens of millions of people on the road home for the holidays into freezing, starving slavery; before the snow had even melted, Tibet rose in rebellion while people clustered around a flame they couldn’t even see as it traveled the world. If our North Korean brothers weren’t still around, it might seem as if the whole world was against us, and on top of that, everyone hurts our feelings so often.
The torch business never ceases to rub salt in our wounds, and rattle our world, and after that came the floods, and tumbling market shares ... and it’s only June, there are still a few more weeks before the Olympics. The heavens work in their own ways, and in a world with absolutely no karma, everything comes tragically and furiously, but leaves gracefully and unhurried.
You may be as unscrupulous and willful as you please, just clarify exactly what is socialism with special characteristics. A national airline can hold hostages on several airplanes like there’s nothing to it; the Ministry of Culture can use low-quality methods to control and monopolize the market in order to fabricate a false sense of cultural prosperity; and everyone plays the ass together. Though thousands of substandard schools crumbled to ruins, and thousands of students met with their untimely deaths, this fact has absolutely no relationship to the Department of Education; such are the unavoidable results of high-magnitude earthquakes. No need to reflect on this or to suspect why it might be so, for misery has long been an endless spiritual resource in “regenerating the nation.” Tears and “compulsory donations” over thousands of years of disasters have already been transformed into unprecedented “good fortune.” For years, deaths on such a vast and mighty scale have created “fortunate ghosts.” At least they will never have to experience another startling death.
Nothing that happens in this land is surprising. Nothing can be meaningful, and everything lacks cause-effect inevitability. The cause is the effect, and the effect is the cause; what karma is there to talk of? Who’s doling out retribution? Humans have always had the power to push the present and the future into the past; the future is uncertain, and the past can be altered at will. There are no difficulties that we heroic people cannot overcome.
Totalitarian crimes begin by denying individuals the value of their lives, avoiding reality, and refusing responsibility. This is tantamount to saying that life is petty and low, as worthless as it is hopeless.
But forget about it! Apart from your self and your not too long, not too short days, there’s no other future for you. This is your complete and consummate everything; there will be no better life. Whether this world is warm or frigid and cold, indifference lies at its very roots. This is the kind of world that you live in, where everyone’s life is too trivial to mention, and yet heroes surge forth. They arouse fervor through love, flatter with morality, and flaunt their shamelessness, all in order to maintain a legend. This is a false world without justice, partial to the ignorance and greed of the smallest minority, and reliant on trickery and unfair gains.
TRANSLATED BY LEE AMBROZY
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY MIT PRESS, 2011