Many a Peer Have to Fall, But it's All In the Game (1.07.11)
Now, I know that Bob hates to sound like some kind of drug-addled hippy child of the '60s, even though many people will suspect him of being one in the final urinalysis. Yes, the idea of karma has become a kind of airy fairy subject. Nevertheless, as I mentioned a couple of posts back, the Bible is full of references to karma -- which is simply cause and effect on the moral plane -- to such an extent that the entire metaphysical system presented by the Bible breaks down if we eliminate it -- just as the physical world makes no sense in the absence of horizontal cause and effect, to the detriment of fatalistic Mohammedans everywhere.
However, causation on the moral plane can't be as simple and linear as it is on the material plane. This is easy to understand, because that's true of most everything above the level of matter. In the Primordial Tradition of which Raccoons are a nonlocal branch (although we retain our autonomy), there are always at least three degrees of being: the material, the psychological, and the spiritual worlds, corresponding to body, mind (or soul), and spirit (or intellect, i.e., the nous); in turn, these correspond to the three main ways of understanding the world, 1) empirical science (the "eye of the senses"), 2) philosophy (the eye of reason), and 3) theology and metaphysics (the contemplative eye of spirit, or pure intellection and understanding). (As I recall, Ken Wilber does a good job of explicating this in his Eye to Eye.)
Regarding the complexity of causality on the human plane, there is essentially no difference between the statements "I would like to make a fist with my hand," and "I would like to become president of the United States." Both of these are clearly teleonomic (i.e., top-down) exercises that exhaust any materialistic explanation. There is no materialistic explanation for how you can formulate the thought, "I am going to make a fist," and then do it, for no materialist knows what a thought is, much less how it can cause things to happen on the plane upon which it is supposedly wholly dependent. For a materialist, psychic causation must remain an absurdity and ultimately an illusion, equivalent to a rooster believing it causes the sun to rise.
Now, if someone says, "I would like to become president," and then becomes president, did they cause it to happen? Yes, to a certain extent. Of Aristotle's four causes -- material, formal, efficient, and final -- it is the latter which takes priority and tries to "organize" all of the lower forms of causation, similar to the way that higher levels must exploit the freedom left over by the boundary conditions of lower levels. But think of all the countless layers of causation that exist between "I want to be president" and "I am president." Finally seeing the effect of that thought might require one to "hold it" in mind for 30 or 40 years.
Now, reality is way too complex to ever have anything like complete control over our fate. However, according to Bolton, "By keeping increasingly free from certain states of mind for long enough, one may exhaust the negative reactions from the world which would need to connect with such corresponding inner states in order to be manifest. In this way, the 'cosmic debts' incurred by the use of negative energies can be dissipated."
It is probably somewhat useless to argue the point. Either you have noticed this pattern in your life or you haven't, and it actually reveals an underlying principle or it doesn't. The materialist will dismiss it a priori, as his conclusions are always buried in his premises. This is not to be confused with "thinking."
Partly because actions cannot be divorced from the state mind -- even the total being -- of the person engaging in them, there is no guarantee that the same action will redound to the same personal consequences. In short, we just don't know, which is all the more reason to be virtuous for its own sake, not for any immediate karmic "payoff." In turn, this is the benefit of understanding how the total system works, for, among other things, it gives us the patience to gracefully endure what we have coming to us and gratefully accept what we probably don't deserve anyway.
In Keys of Gnosis, Bolton points out that "it is mainly because of the wide variations among these time intervals that the succession of action and reaction passes unnoticed. A major factor here is the degree to which true values inform one's life.... The return of reactions rapidly enough for them to be recognized as such is a sign of closeness to the truth" (italics mine).
This is analogous to what I was saying the other day about how proximity to O effectively "thickens" time, so that we begin to take notice of the nonlocal web of causation that permeates our life. Indeed, it is difficult to ignore. Reminds me of a couple of tunes from Van Morrison's Poetic Champions Compose:
There are strange things happening every day / I hear music up above my head / Fill me up with your wonder / Give me my rapture today (Give Me My Rapture), and
I began to realize / the magic in my life / See it manifest in oh, so many ways / Every day is gettin' better and better / I wanna be daily walking close to you (Did Ye Get Healed?)
Conversely, "the long or indefinite delay of [reactions] is a sign that one has strayed too far from the truth to be able to atone for wrongs in this life." We want to believe we can instantaneously turn things around and realize the magic in one's life and "see it manifest in oh so many ways," but that can't possibly be true without overturning the logic of the whole system (but God knows best). Just as in science, many things are known to be true by virtue of the fact that if they weren't, then a multitude of other truths would be undermined as well, and the whole existentialada would lose coherence. It's no different on the metaphysical plane, where most things are known to be true because they must be. The karmic web of cause and effect is one such example.
This is why, unlike those new age frauds, Bob doesn't make the absurd claim that if you read his book you will somehow achieve "instant enlightenment." Rather, he makes the much more humble guarantee of eternal life while you wait.