At the end of the second lap around the spiral, we discussed kama, and built a theory of “non magical karma” which is based not on some mystic fairy who ensures balance in the world, or a universe that is designed to do good things for good people and bad to for bad people. Instead, our “karma” has a grounding in the evolution of social cooperation, game theory, the results of competitions playing an iterated prisoners dilemma, and the fact that the environment in which we each make our way in the world is built primary out of other people. Karma as a measure of how ‘nice’ your whole society is rather than some individual karma-bank for each person in it.
Our meditation focused on concentrating on and exaggerating the emotions provoked by doing good or bad things, the emotions and conscience which evolution gave you to keep up the karma of the society in which you live. By concentrating on them, reliving the moments, you doubly reinforced the growth and plain enjoyment of your ethical behaviours.
An understanding of how these emotions evolved, how they operate and how you can get the best from them helps you to feel the happiness and optimism which a good ethical system should engender, while also helping your community, and encouraging people to feel gratitude towards you. But how do these karmic emotions depend on the other skills in the spiral? Does it boost them in return?
It’s pretty obvious that without awareness of your perception, of the world, of your place in it, the world will be unable to evolve a karmic social system. As we mentioned, the study of game-theory suggests that each individual must be able to identify others, to know their past experience with them, indeed to remember their interactions together. The karmic emotional systems would not have evolved without memory, and awareness.
They depend, likewise, on being able to use the social signalling skills and to read social signalling clues from other people. On being able to communicate, in some form, and predict the behaviour of others.
The social skills are also built partly from the Karmic emotions, from being able to derive pleasure and happiness from another person’s happiness, on being able enjoy helping others. Improving those karmic emotions improves one’s social skills just as improving social skills feeds those emotions.
Building a good reputation with your peers, being generous and kind, builds up a credit of gratitude which is useful in influencing others, for your opinions and needs are worth more to those who feel that gratitude towards you.
Their help will also encourage your to build up your ability to program your own mind, your bio-programming skill, is enhanced by observing others, by allowing them to influence you, by learning how to behave and win by watching others do just that.
We’ll say this again, because it’s an important point. Since you spend your life around people, mostly the same people over and over again, you will need their help, support and kindness often. This is more likely to come if they feel gratitude towards you and your reputation is that of someone likely to not only repay favours but give away favours for nothing. All of the transcendence skills are reinforced and helped by watching and learning from those around you. They’re built this way in the first place, as you grew up, during your never-ending formative years. Having a good social reputation, in a society full of good karma, is essential to all of the transcendence skills. So train your ethical emotions, your karmic responses, and feed yourself with charitable acts and good will constantly. You will be happier, better adjusted, and have more and more valuable friends. These things are as important steps in the path to transcendence as self image, consciousness and attention. Pay attention to how good helping others makes you feel, and let that reinforcement encourage you.