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The Path of Roughest Descent

I was watching the Senate hearings the other day, and was struck by the faulty approximate way in which the universe tries to right itself in a series of steps that are all themselves faulty and overshoot or undershoot their mark.

There is a determinism to the workings of the universe, but it’s a rough sort of determinism. It tries to improve things by banging everyone together and thereby polishing them in a rough grained sort of way, their protrusions being slowly ground down by interaction with other people’s protrusions. The universe doesn’t use a high-speed diamond drill to clean out your cavities; it uses stone-age implements which results in fillings that are often too high and must be smoothed by grinding your teeth.

After a while I realized the whole thing was a perfect illustration of karma, which I just looked up again on wikipedia:

“Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. Karma … names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction that governs all life. The effects experienced are also able to be mitigated by actions and are not necessarily fated … it is not a simple, one-to-one correspondence of reward or punishment. Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will creating their own destiny … The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate response.”

In a way, karma is the low-tech version of Longfellow’s

Though the mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stands waiting, With exactness grinds he all.

Congress is not involved in the conquest of karma. Few people are.

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