In the interest of full disclosure, I sit comfortably in today's archetype of a millennial. My smartphone is an appendage, my closet is littered with childhood participatory ribbons, and I vacillate between online news and the nefarious beast of reality television.
The Pew Research Centre is optimistic about Generation Y, exclaiming that we are on track to become a group of progressive thinkers; free from the bounds of religious dogma and yes, the most educated generation yet.
But can we really pride ourselves on being free thinkers if we cannot emerge unscathed from Facebook, Twitter, or cable television without someone paying respects to the omnipotence of karma.
Justin Timberlake told me "What Goes Around Comes Around," Beyonce warns of impending doom in "Best Thing I Never Had;" Kelly Clarkson is a jilted mentalist in the video for "Never Again," and even Lennon haunts from the underworld with a more expedited viewpoint in "Instant Karma." Even Hollywood's demigod Sharon Stone blamed China's "karmic" earthquake on their mistreatment of the Tibetans.
Karma, the law of moral causation, believes that a celestial being is an active watchdog ready to "cosmic slap" those who step out of line. This is often including and not limited to stealing, breaking trust, breaking hearts or, if I am the subjective guardian, wearing Crocs.
And we want it as close to instantaneously as possible, a far cry from its Buddhist roots that unsatisfactorily says results may take a lifetime. Give us a break here. If we can't wait for our smartphone signal to travel to space, how can we be expected to wait for our ex-girlfriends and boyfriends to bald and bloat?
It's no wonder millennials have such an obsession with karma. Our childhood is well-documented to be a sheltered one in which our parents pondered if a simple game of tag could damage our swollen self-esteem. Thus, we gravitate towards a theory to right the uncomfortable wrongs in our lives.
Conveniently, our narcissism asks karma for a temporary pass when we're the antagonist. We can't have a governing principle that allows masochism, can we now? This is the caveat in karma today, its convenient application.
To be fair, we need to note a distinction between the after effects of being a "good person" and casual events. Burn enough bridges in life and you will no doubt have a tougher time crossing the river. However, that time your iron-fisted principal slipped in the parking lot was more than likely just an inner-ear problem.
Karma's circular regulations are infinite. If I wish ill upon you for breaking my heart, I should then be the recipient of karmic retribution as well. Karma gives me a headache.
The absence of karma has the potential to be a liberating experience, one in which our indiscretions don't weigh us down with the anchor of guilt. Conversely, without karma, or any belief system for that matter, we are at the mercy of our life choices, environment and most of all lady luck, which is an inconceivable existence for many.
Life is the accumulation of both unrelated and related events. As Forrest Gump famously said, "shit happens."
So maybe this time, when it comes time to wipe, you will finally find a use for that karmic astrological chart.