Karma Chameleons

Let’s pretend that you and I are standing on a street-corner having a congenial conversation. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I sucker-punch you right in the face.

How would you react? Would you just keep talking as if nothing had happened? Would you stop talking and try to analyze the situation? Or might you simply ask me why in the world had I done that?

If you say “yes” to any of those things, you are an exceptional human being. Perhaps a saint or an android or something.

Most people would hit me right back immediately without even thinking about it. This action would manifest before the will to do so could materialize. You would not decide to hit me and then do so. It would just happen all of a piece.

Okay, let’s jump ahead to our court date. After carefully listening to the testimonies of ourselves and witnesses, the Judge will pronounced me guilty of assault and some form punishment would be applied. You on the other hand, would not be found guilty of hitting me. Fair enough, right?

Society recognizes that you are innocent of striking me. Indeed, any injury I sustain from your returning blow would be considered “just deserts” and no sympathy would be directed my way.

As far as the laws of man and nature are concerned – I punched myself.

Karma in it’s purest form. Also known as The Golden Rule and as Newton’s Third Law. Do a Google search on the word “Justice”. Now hit the “Images” button. What do you see? Balance scales.

It all evens out in the end; What comes around, goes around; As you sow, so shall you reap. There is not a culture or caste that does not recognize this powerful spiritual law.

Not only does this principle operate automatically at all levels below the Monad, it also operates invisibly. In our opening scenario, I co-opted your will. I controlled your fist every bit as much as I controlled my own. And you were oblivious to it.

Be vigilant! The reactor is not always the actor.

I am not recommending a course of action here. I am merely alerting you to the fact that you have strings that can be pulled by others without you ever suspecting a thing. You will reckon those thoughts or actions to be your own and so you will be left alone to face Justitia. With her scales. And with her blindfold. And with her sword.

While the secret puppeteer dances away, laughing.

Triple Crown Device #13

Navigation and the Art of Anger Management

Part 1

Captain Norton, waving his hand at the unfurled chart on the table, informed his second-in-command that the ship would soon be sailing into unknown waters.
“Master Gladding, we need to start drawing up new charts as we go,” he said.
He dipped a pen in the inkwell, bent over and traced two circles on the blank area to the west. One to the northwest of their current position and another to the southwest.
“Captain Andrews of the frigate Hector reports that there are two small islands here; and here; pointing at the circles in turn. I intend to sail due west, passing between them.” He then drew a group of small triangles directly to the west, beyond the passage between the islands. “He also tells me that there are shoal waters in this area here.” He drew another circle around triangles. “After we clear the islands we shall change to a heading of three-one-five degrees and continue on for 10 to 12 miles before turning back due west to be sure we are clear of the rocks. This time of the year we can expect clear skies and a reliable trade-wind out of the southeast.”
The captain straightened back up, fixing a confident eye upon Gladding. “Understood?”
“Aye, captain. I’ll set a double watch and take a reef from sails at sunset.”
“Extra watches, yes. Reefs, no. I want all possible sail out. Skysails and moonrakers.”
“Aye, sir.”
“Very good. Dismissed Master Gladding.”
With another “Aye, sir” and a knuckle to his forehead, the ship-master turned on his heels and headed through the hatch out to the main-deck.

Part 2A

“Captain!” cried the Master, rapping loudly on the cabin door.
“What is it?” mumbled the Captain, opening the door and peering out, with sleep-bleary eyes.
“An island, sir! Watch reports a island dead ahead. What shall we do?”
Springing into action and still in his night-clothes, Captain Norton pushed past Gladding and dashed up the ladder onto the deck calling, “Follow me!”

Standing on the forecastle deck, the Captain lowered his glass, turned and shouted orders in his bullish voice for all to hear.
“Hard a-starboard, eighty degrees!  Drop sails, main and fore! Leave the mizzen!”
As his orders were carried out, the ship bled speed rapidly. The following wind pushed her stern to port as she came around smoothly and steadied onto the new course.
“So much for my chart!” chuckled the Captain. In a lower voice he turned and said, “Master Gladding, raise appropriate sail. Hold this course for 9 miles, then swing back west. Keep a close watch out. If I was wrong about that island, I could well be wrong about the shoals as well.”
“Aye, Captain. Will you be going back to your cabin then?”
“No. No point. It’s almost first dog-watch and it will be light soon. I shall remain on deck but you still have the reins, Master Gladding.”
“Aye, aye.”

“Do you see them as well, Sir?” asked Gladding, peering dead-ahead through his glass.
“I do indeed,” said the Captain, looking through his own glass at the wave-battered rocks looming in the distance. “Looks like I was wrong about the shoal’s position also. Make a heading to south-by-southwest to insure that this is as close as we shall get to them, Master Gladding.”
As he was giving the orders, something caught his eye far on the southwestern horizon. He raised his glass for a better look and was silent for a moment.
“There’s a blow out there. A great thumping storm.” He continued to peer at it for a few minutes more.
“Well! I feel like such an arse today, Gladding. It seems that my “clear skies” have become a bit less so. I can see that I shall never set myself up as an oracle,” he smiled. “That storm appears to be moving from southeast to northwest at perhaps 20 knots. When we are clear of the shoals, you will resume our previous heading but lower sail to slow us down so the blow can pass by before we get there”
“Aye, Captain.”
“And find my chart-book, will you? It’s time we plan for the next stretch of our voyage.
“Will do, Sir!”

Part 2B

“Captain!” cried the Lieutenant, rapping loudly on the cabin door.
“What is it?” mumbled the Captain, opening the door and peering out, with sleep-bleary eyes.
“An island, sir! Watch reports a island dead ahead. What shall we do?”
“What do you mean an island? There are no effing islands ahead of us! We are passing between them. Just follow the damn chart!”
“The chart is wrong sir!”
“The hell it is not! I drew it up myself!”
“Not one more word Master Gladding!”
Gladding brushed his forehead with his knuckle and left the cabin, his face twisted with despair. Arriving back on deck, he began bellowing orders to the crew. “All hand brace and prepare to run aground!”

Some weeks later, the ship was repaired and re-floated. The ship’s carpenter and his mates had labored watch-on-watch around the clock. The men were exhausted and sullen as the Captain had spent the entire time angrily berating and mocking them. They were also upset by the flogging of the Master ordered by Captain Norton as punishment for running the ship aground. Gladding was a loyal and steady hand who was quite popular among the crew.
As they sailed around the island to continue their voyage, the watch cried out from his perch on the mainmast.
“On deck there! Ahoy on deck!” All hands, including the Captain looked up expectantly. “Rocks ahoy! Shoal-water straight on the bow!”
Gladding turned to the Captain to speak but his tongue was frozen in his mouth by his superior’s angry glare.
“Keep it to yourself, Gladding. My chart shows clear waters ahead.”
Gladding’s shoulders slumped. All he could do was lower his head, shaking it in disbelief.
“Helm!” shouted the Captain. “Maintain course!”
“Aye, aye!” responded the sailor at the wheel with just a hint of doubt in his voice.

Five days later, the much-patched ship was pulled from the rocks by using the ship’s boats attached at the stern during the height of the tide. With every muscle straining, the sailors bent their backs into their oars until they felt their hearts must surely burst. As the ship slipped back into the waves, a ragged cheer rose from the remaining crew on deck.
“She swims! Huzzah! Huzzah!”
Soon all sails were raised and set. The ship was once again coursing west. The horizon ahead began to darken with swollen, angry black clouds. Captain Norton and Master Gladding stood side by side on the poop-deck.
“Shall we set storm-sails Captain?” asked Gladding in a resigned voice. “Change course to go around the cyclone?”
“What storm? I think you know my answer, Master Gladding,” growled the Captain. “My chart shows nothing ahead but clear skies and sunshine. Maintain course.
“Aye, aye,” sighed the Master.

It’s fine to plan ahead, but it is foolish to become frustrated and enraged when the future turns out to be different than you expected. To become attached to a future that is yet but a dream, is just poor seamanship.

Triple Crown Device #12

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