Of Nature, Man And Karma
Though science wishes to be unbiased and objective, the contrary is the case. Our views about nature are much influenced by our views of ourselves. Because we are, at least in the worst part of our nature, competitive with each other, we explain the whole of the workings of nature in terms of competition. Because sex is a very important item in our minds, we divide nature into ‘living’, that which procreates, and ‘nonliving’, that which does not procreate. Stones do not procreate, but does that say anything about the inner spiritual core of the stone? Does that say that there is no consciousness? Does it say that minerals are essentially separate in character from other forms of manifestation of nature? Why is the distance between a rock and a plant larger than between a plant and an animal? From a karmic point of view, all that exists is the manifestation of consciousness.
Because karma is universal, nature is analogical. Instead of being anthropomorphic, all that we find in man can analogically be found in nature. Nature is made of the same principles as is man. Nature is full of consciousness and intelligence, and the same laws of mind work in man as in nature.
The mind is motivated by many things besides competition. The mind may be creative, artistic, serious, playful, clumsy, evil, selfish, unselfish, cooperative, mean etc. All these aspects of consciousness have their own karmic effects. It is, therefore, no wonder that all these aspects are available in the forms of nature.
There are so many thriving species in nature that are not especially competitive.
Many birds have tail feathers that seem an impediment to flying. Many creatures have gadgets that are beautiful or at least eye-catching that seem to serve no competitive function. The one-celled Radiolaria show a tremendous variety of beautiful spikes, but in terms of competition, one might expect that one of them — and probably not the most extreme form — would do better than all others and outrun them through the processes of evolution.
Karma, therefore, expels anthropomorphism under the veil of objectivity but introduces analogy throughout nature.
Affecting one being means affecting the whole, including oneself. Karma as a universal law is especially important in relation to human ethics — which is the recognition of and choice for a nobler or a lower type of life.
The highest expressions of ethics found in the subtlest philosophy — religions available on earth are always non-violence and directing all one’s mental and physical activities toward the well-being of all living beings.
If science harmonises with the ethics which necessarily flows from the idea of karma, no scientist will inflict cruelty on laboratory animals, or kill them or even put them under psychological stress. Even if the interests of human health are at stake, he will realise that in a broader picture suffering can never be eliminated by creating suffering.
All his efforts will be directed towards heartfelt and respectful understanding for the good of those who are the subject of the investigation.
Today, we find this reflected in the attitude of nature conservationists and many ecologists, who try to understand nature in its wholeness without isolating creatures from their environment in a laboratory and with the aim of preserving natural conditions, species and individuals. Karma makes forces turn back on their masters: cruel or indifferent scientists will one day experience the result of the suffering inflicted on others; compassionate scientists will be helped by nature herself.