• patrickcarpenter199

Does Anything Matter? Karma and Significance

Have you ever woken up in the morning, just stopped in the middle of what you are doing, or otherwise found yourself entranced, wondering, what is the point of anything? Is anything real, or not? Why am I ME, and not someone else?

I used to ask myself these questions all the time. In fact, I still do, quite often. The difference between then and now is that now I have come to accept that some things I may never know. I feel that this is a liberating realization that should all experience. One of the reasons that I am starting this blog and that I am such an avid writer is that it is sort of my way of exploring and reconciling these concepts that are not likely to ever be defined.

Here is a great example:

Do my actions bear greater significance, like, in a karmic way? There really isn't any way of knowing. Some people might say it is self-evident (the golden rule), that if we consistently put positive energy into the universe than it is what we will receive. The problem with referring to abstract concepts of fate and karma as effects of our actions is that it becomes a confirmation bias. Anytime something bad happens to people we deem as unsavory, it must be karma, right? Similarly, people who work hard that get promoted must have earned it, right? Maybe, but also, maybe not. Bad things happen to good people for no reason, and bad people skirt the system for years before falling from grace. Can we really argue that the grind between hard work and payoff or the benefits gained from deception prior to the fall are truly counterbalancing forces? I kinda doubt it.

This isn't me being bitter. After all, I have a beautiful family, a great job, and am on my way to publishing my first book. I get to have weekends off and play Call of Duty. by no means am I unlucky, but I also don't think that reflects on my work ethic (good as it is). I think it has some effect, but I also think that time and context have played a much larger role. For example, my first big success was a promotion at the restaurant I worked at, which happened after I graduated culinary school, but there were also no other candidates in the running with culinary degrees. I worked my butt off for them, but I got ripped off, ended up in debt, asked to move several times for the company for little to no compensation, and eventually given a poor performance review and no raise. Even after years of grinding, never calling out, and always doing my best, I got the raw end. I wouldn't say that was karmic, because again, that would generate a different result if it were true, I think this was just something that happened.

At my next job, I tried the opposite and did the bear minimum (without being unethical). This time, I ended up with a supervisor who was pretty laid back, who passed me sales, gave me preferential scheduling, and covered my butt when I messed up. I had it good there. Literally, I did NOTHING to warrant this treatment, it was just something that happened.

So, the question remains, is it all connected, or the universe just random?

Let me know what you think!

Patrick Carpenter

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