Karma is a Rigged Game
The Sanskrit word karma simply means action, but more precisely, actuation, the way one action leads to another in a chain reaction, each act in the chain actuating the next one.
Hinduism and Buddhism refer to the "law of karma" is if it were a binding formula somehow enforced by cosmic authority, or perhaps due to a closed looping of energy exchanges in the universe.
By the usual definition, the law of karma assures that every act will eventually return to the doer in a equivalent way. Good will be returned with good; evil with evil. The law works through all events in the course of life, a seemingly iron-clad process of fate, and extends beyond the limits of mortality. Conditions suffered or enjoyed in this life are due to actions in a previous lifetime.
Reincarnation itself is a complicated subject. The veracity of karmic retribution depends on assuming that successive lives really do demonstrate a pattern of cause and effect. This premise may be impossible to verify, leaving the law of karma contingent upon something that remains unproven, if not improvable. However, there is a simple way to explain why reincarnation is invoked when the doctrine of karma is promulgated. In plain reality, karma is not demonstrable. It does not match the facts of reality. It is non-intuitive and non-evidential, unsupported by the facts of human experience. Karma defies common sense and run sharply against the obvious.
In human affairs, it is undeniable that people frequently do harm without having harm done to them in return, and good deeds go uncompensated, or as one cynic put it, "no good deed goes unpunished." Good folks suffer atrocious harm. Bad folks get away with murder. Deceit is rampant and most often never exposed. If exposed, not punished. Perpetrators are almost never brought to account. There is very little justice in human reality. This is a plain and brutal fact of life that must be ignored by a conscious act of denial.
The raw evidence of experience makes it obvious that karmic compensation is bullshit. People occasionally get their due, of course. And it is most satisfying when that happens. A great many Hollywood films base their appeal on this prospect. But as a rule, this is certainly not the case, and not something to count on. Horrible acts go down without the perpetrator being known or made accountable. Those known and proven to be guilty of heinous acts often walk free. They flaunt impunity. This situation is difficult to accept, but nevertheless the evidence is everywhere in the social order, in politics, in intimate and familial affairs. Those who commit bad deeds rarely get the same in return, although it can happen in specific situations of gang war or Mafia feuds. In such cases, though, it is hardly necessary to suppose a vast impersonal law of karma at work. People are taking revenge or exercising reciprocal violence. No cosmic law required there.
Hence the appeal to reincarnation: if I cannot show you how the hurtful action of a person is compensated by equivalent hurt done to that person, because it is not evident in the course of human affairs, then I will readily revert to the scenario of successive lives. So-and-so does not get his comeuppance in this life, okay, but it's coming later, be sure of that. Reincarnation, which cannot be proven, is called in to shore up a premise that is flatly disproved by the facts of life. This is an instance of what existentialists call mauvaise foi, bad faith: i.e., that is, believing or pretending to believe something you know is not true, for some ulterior motive, for consolation and a sense of justice, or simply out of sheer inability to accept the brutal truth.
Christianity and Islam are religions whose adherents do not usually consider or accept reincarnation. Yet the notion of karmic retribution is inherent to these belief-systems. If there is no reincarnational process to insure retribution, no problem, just leave it to the Creator. Hence, the belief in divine retribution that figures so markedly in those faiths. God will punish wrong-doers and reward the good behavior of the faithful, who tend to be downtrodden and abused. Divine judgment will prevail over every single person and even over the drama of history. Christians and Muslims alike cling to this conviction with vehement intensity.
Imagine how it would be to live without the assurance of retribution. To witness what happens in the world, the ongoing spectacle of injustice, and totally forgo the comfort of retribution. In the minds of the faithful, living with no retribution is not an option. It is a terrifically frightening prospect. It is intolerable in the extreme. It shatters the mind and anguishes the heart. And what's worse, it opens the gateway to moral chaos. After all, if there is no retribution, no punishment and reward system that operates upon human behavior, then everyone is free to do anything with no concern for consequences that may redound upon the doer. As long as there will be no undesired consequences for me, I can do as I damn please, acting to the harm or benefit of others, either way, free of reciprocal action on myself, either way.
Adherents to the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are called "people of the Book" because they rely on rules of behavior found in books attributed to divine authorship: the Torah, the Bible, the Koran. Such people universally agree that good, "moral" behavior is only possible among human beings by following prescribed rules. The argument for faith in God is closely linked to an argument for moral order authorized by a superhuman agency, and this assumes that such authority is the sole basis for morality. Without God-given rules, enforced by a reward and punishment system, why would anyone do anything but follow their own selfish impulses?
Obviously, bad faith in karmic retribution (implemented by god or by impersonal cosmic law, no difference) has a huge controlling effect on human behavior, keeping people in line. With no retribution, there would be total moral anarchy. But perhaps it would be worth considering what "moral anarchy" might actually look like. I'll save that topic for the close of the essay.
The Apocryphon of John is a long cosmological text that appears in three versions in the Nag Hammadi Codices, and independently in another Coptic text, the Berlin Codex. It is a treasure trove of dazzling obscurities and arcane theological raving. In the mixed bag of Gnostic Coptic writings, this text is unique because it contains two features not found elsewhere in the otherwise redundant literature. As it happens, these two features concern two key questions that frequently arise in discussion of the archons, the malicious tricksters of Gnosticism. These questions are:
Needless to say, these are pretty large questions. I have to advise that The Apocryhon of John does not provide anything like clear and adequate answers to either question. Sorry about that. It does, however, presents a tentative basis for such answers, if inference and extrapolation be allowed. Objectionable as this method may be to some minds, inference and extrapolation are the exercises to follow, with sobriety and rigor, to get anything viable out of Gnostic literature. To those who object to my well-known technique in this regard, I say, sue me. To those who follow my drift, I must warn that the answers that may be developed from this material are not simple. On the other hand, although the explanations required for both answers are complicated, the outcome of these explanations may be surprisingly simple. In this essay I will only address the second question.
By exposing the origin, motives, and methods of the archon mind-parasites, Gnostic writings confront us with the daunting question of their influence on humanity. This influence may be characterized as having several vectors. First, archons affect humans by subconscious or subliminal insinuation. In this respect, they operate through a telepathic link to humankind—to us, their cosmic cousins, so Gnostic cosmology informs us. Not all that happens in the human mind originates there. The specific insinuation of the archons is evident in religious and spiritual thinking, especially in the mental virus of salvationism and the messiah complex. Gnostics warned explicitly that archons infect human thinking with false religious ideas, including the belief in a male mastermind or paternal overlord, the off-planet father god.
The Gnostic expose of archontic influence is a double whammy: the overlord of the archon hive, the Demiurge, is that very entity who would be recognized as the sole and supreme and creator god, if the religious delusion insinuated by the archons works. The Demiurge himself is insanely deluded, believing he is the sole cosmic deity responsible for the heavens and the earth, and the creation of the human race to boot. The God of Abrahamic faith exists, for sure, but he is an insane alien predator bent on deceiving and enslaving humanity—such is the bizarre warning from Gnostic seers in the Mysteries.
But how actually do archons affect humankind apart from the nefarious delusions they can engender in our minds? By another vector of influence, they use fakery and simulation to divert our attention from the reality of human potential, the gifts of our species such as rational thinking and imagination, and distract us from the presence of nature and the supernatural power within nature. I have discussed this tactic of counter-mimicry at length in Not in His Image. Ialdabaoth, the Gnostic name for Jehovah, is called the counterfeiting spirit. The Coptic word for simulation, HAL, denotes the signature of the archons who can imitate but not create. They are a mimic species. They imitate our faculties to substitute their mind set for our own, hence living vicariously through us. As Castaneda said, they function as a "foreign installation" in our own minds.
Both on psychological and parapsychological terms, the Gnostic archon profile is truly sophisticated and warrants careful and respectful consideration. It is without doubt the most lucid descriptive paradigm of subliminal mind control produced by the human mind. Dismiss it at your peril.
All this dia-Gnostic stuff is instructive, but we really want to know how archons may actually distort and deviate human behavior, if they can do so in some manner apart from, and going beyond, subconscious insinuation. The Apocryphon of John has some startling and perplexing information on this issue. I will concentrate on one key passage.
The Coptic Gnostic Library in five volumes lays out the four versions of this text in columns spread across facing pages. The top of the columns gives the Coptic text and below, the translations. You can read all four versions in parallel. The damned thing goes on for 95 pages. The most complete text of the four versions, NHC II, 2, has thirty-two passages. A little more than two-thirds of the way through this opus, at 27, we are presented with a remarkable event:
This cogent description of a system of karmic binding with "fetters" recalls the Buddhist chain of reincarnational links, nidanas, pictured round the periphery of the Wheel of Life (above). I believe that this passage presents the Gnostic equivalent to Buddhist doctrine of karma, but the Gnostic teaching ought not to be identified point by point with Buddhist doctrine. It has perhaps a different lesson to teach about moral cause and effect.
To paraphrase freely in mythological jargon: The Divine Sophia cuts a deal with the archon overlord, allowing him to have his minions bind human actions by fetters of some kind. These are the fetters of hiermarmene, the workings of fate, or, translated more fully, the entrainment of blind compulsion, one act compelling the next. When the archons commit adultery with Sophia, the goddess allows something in the natural make-up of humanity to be adulterated by the archontic influence. For adultery, read: adulteration, the inclusion of a foreign or extraneous element, as corn syrup can be used to adulterate honey. The result is that archons put an entropic bias into behavior that would otherwise be free to exercise self-correction and self-regeneration. Just as the corn syrup additive spins the natural chemistry and nutritional value of honey.
Previous passages going all the way back to 19 establish the superiority of humanity over the archons. Through nous, divine intelligence, and the luminous epinoia, imagination, humans can correct themselves and keep their behavior in line with all that is good and productive and consistent with the ultimate designs of life. Humans have a huge advantage over the archontic horde, so the text repeatedly says. Even the archons know this:
Archons cannot compete with human imagination, the very faculty endowed in humanity for the detection and defeat of those mind-parasites. But the text says that the archon overlord commands a certain power: "he brought a trance over Adam," but not like the trance put on Moses, a stupor of sleep, rather "it was in his perception (aisthesis)" (ibid). Meaning, the archons can actually fog and skew our perception, which they do mainly through HAL, simulation. But it must be added that we perform the simulations, acts of modeling and imitation, by which they cloud our perception. Even at its best, archontic power over the human mind is borrowed from the mind.
Now here's the rub. Although we humans are vastly superior to archons, we do not automatically exercise our advantage: rather, we need a test or challenge to activate it. Just as other animals in nature need a signal from the environment to trigger their instinctual programs—beavers respond to seasonal cues by constructing dams, for example—so humans benefit from the triggering of their unique endowment, the luminous epinoia, the power of imagination. So Sophia, who endowed these superior capacities in the human race in the first place, gives the archons an edge in their game against humanity by allowing them to provide the trigger signals. Facing these tricksters, humankind is challenged to use its imagination for its very survival. Archons are both the agents and expressions of the power of deception in the human mind, and not just in a general way: with us they co-effectuate the self-deceptive capacity of the entire human species.
To realize that we are not alone in deceiving ourselves, but always involved in a cosmic orchestration, a rigged game, is the great truth for liberation of humankind from all forms of deceit, manipulation, and enslavement.
Clear enough, perhaps, but how does archontic input "adulterate" human potential? The additive (equivalent to corn syrup in honey) is a tendency to trance, to self-hypnosis or auto-suggestion, as the text clearly indicates. That tendency is purely archontic. In effect, Sophia allows the archons to induce a trancing factor into human minds, as if you would handicap the mechanism of the inner ear to keep someone slightly dizzy, off-balance. What is handicapped is perception, due to the blurring of suggestion: merely suggest that something be seen in a certain way, and humans will tend to see it that way. Hence, the magic of advertising. Hence, the impact of psi-ops using simulation technology. Sophia does so, so that, by detecting the spin of auto-suggestion, we can arrest delusion at its root and rise to our true potential, using imagination to merge into the sublime reality of terrestrial designs, rather than for fantasy and evasion.
Fine, so far. This is halfway to the full exegesis of the passage on hiemarmene. The Apocryphon of John suggests that the delusional bias is not merely left to operate as a mental disposition, but is actually, functionally "installed" in the mechanism of human behavior, corporeally active. The blind compulsion of fate is due to the way behavior repeats itself through imprinting itself on the human organism, NLP-style Our bondage to karma resides in this: behaviorally, we imitate ourselves.
Now, I realize that mixing mythological language with psychological analysis will not go over well with some people. But there is simply no other way to frame the diagnosis here. The mythological metaphor, "Sophia cuts a deal with the archons, allowing them to bind human behavior functionally into patterns of blind compulsion," describes physically lived psychological reality. Compulsive activity imprints the human organism so as to reproduce itself in ever-repeating patterns (interchangeable fetters), but is then enacted through different, one-time-only actions (changeable fetters). For instance, the drunk who beats the wife who is the enabler of his addiction, repeats a compulsive pattern of abuse, and she repeats her involvement in that pattern, but each time it happens, they are two people performing distinct actions at that moment in time. Each time he hits her in the face is a unique instance of physical abuse, even though his act exhibits a repeating pattern of abuse.
The corporeal power of repetition compulsion binds humankind to fate "harder and stronger than she with whom the gods united and the angels and the demons and all the generations until this day." Sophia really takes a chance with us by allowing karma to function corporeally and not merely as a mental process. I would venture to say that she does so because our divine endowment of epinoia is also corporeal, and it takes one to match and master the other.
(On this point, see Not in His Image, ch. 22, Divine Imagination: "Epinoia is the directive power of imagination, the true saving factor in Gnosis. The Apocryphon of John tells how the Divine Sophia, when she realized the problem that humanity would face with the Archons, invested “the luminous Epinoia” in Zoe, the life force, so that in our biological makeup we would carry an imaginal capacity.")
The essence of karma in the Gnostic model is not reward and punishment, as seen in the Abrahamic creed of divine retribution and, in another way, in the Hindu-Buddhist doctrine of rebirth. Rather, it is pure compulsivity that feeds on itself and gets rutted in patterned repetition. The deal with the archons binds every human act to corporal entrainment, so that an act done automatically tends to produce a similar act or an opposite, compensating act, by the same person. The key idea here is entrainment, which is what hiemarmene means. The chain of karmic bondage does not cause a kind deed to generate another kind deed, nor does it cause an evil deed to generate another evil deed, qualitatively speaking. It just causes any kind of deed to become repetitive and take on a life of its own. This being so, someone who harms others is condemned by their own actions to continue doing so until they self-correct—or until someone else corrects them, or stops them, dead cold. Repetition compulsion forces the doer toward self-correction, or else the sheer physical entropy of repetition will eventually undo the doer.
This is how Sophia sets up human karma: without a reward and punishment system, except for the reward or punishment that one inflicts on oneself by blind, compulsive action. A genuinely free act has no merit or detriment, no mechanically derived consequence for the doer. Repeat: liberated action has no external or extraneous consequences for the actor. Its consequences, if any, inhere in the sheer pleasure of its performance, the gesture in perfect transience.
The common sense conclusion of this arcane behavioral diagnostic is: those who do harm will continue to do it and never attract punishment from the cosmic order, for there is no such system of retribution. Then they will either see what they are doing and self-correct, or just do it to the end when they wear themselves out, or self-destruct in a violent blow-out—if they are not stopped by someone else first. The option of self-correction means that there is no accountability from outside the sovereign will of each solitary individual. There is no cosmic system of moral compensation. There is no ordained justice in the universe, although justice can occasionally be attained by human initiative in certain situations. The evil-doer who harms and deceives others, and who cannot self-correct, can only be stopped by another individual, in direct and first-hand interaction. How many Hollywood films demonstrate that obvious truth?
Anarchy at Last
Karma as moral compensation is a lie, but the behavioral game of hiemarmene works exactly as it is intended to work. The game is rigged by the archontic bias that Sophia allows: the trancing factor or power of suggestion. The mechanism of moral entropy operates in the human body, in the physiological and neurological circuits that sustain behavior and retain behavioral patterns. If Sophia did not allow it to happen this way, we would experience total resilience of mind and body, bounding from one moment of peak expression to the next, correcting and improving ourselves in every single action taken. But we would never fool ourselves and become that much wiser by catching the act. Due to compulsion, we run down and wear out, behaviorally speaking. But overcoming compulsion gives us a lift, a special elan, that does not arise in the constant unhindered thrust of our potential. Archons provide the resistance against which we generate a an ever-higher release of potential. From Sophia's view, it's a fair trade-off: without that challenge to our potential, we would not go for the optimal scope of our species. With the challenge, the archons get to play their game. But self-correction can be realized in each and every situation where they intrude.
Above I noted that a good deed does not seek compensation. Or it if does, prudential morality is at work. "In The Faith of a Heretic Kaufmann argues that Judeo-Christian morality 'does not know the value of a deed done for its own sake,' without expectation of reward (or punishment). 'The ethic of the Old Testament is an ethic of prudence and rewards, as if the point were that it pays to be good' "(Not in His Image). It don't pay to do good, that is just a brutal fact. It can, but not necessarily. But in the expression of innate goodness, no payoff is sought. Or needed.
It is worth noting that there is often more vigor involved in doing harm than doing good. Evil, malicious people can be possessed of truly demonic determination. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity" (Yeats, The Second Coming). Why? Because to persist in doing harm you have to work vigorously against the natural order of things, and the benign disposition of the human animal, but the archontic entropy that informs blind compulsion increases as you resist it. To overcome that entropic bias requires continually hyping your system, ratcheting up your forces. This goes some way to explaining the success of Starbucks, doesn't it?
On the other hand, it is natural to act in goodness and go with the flow of the universe, co-operating with the beauty and elegant functionality of life. One never tires from doing good and so one doesn't have to make a super-effort to persist in that behavior—to which we are naturally disposed, as Pagan ethics affirms. But perpetrators can thrive on the amplification of vital force required to persist in abusive and controlling behavior. Another brutal truth of the way things are in the human condition.
There is no karma as it's been pitched to us. No one has the authority to hold you accountable for what you do, not even God. Not even Sophia, the planetary mother animal. Only you can do that for yourself. An-archy is composed of the root arch, found in archon. An-archy is the condition of being "not- or un-archonic." Anarchy is against all authority except that which resides in the sovereign will of an individual person. There is no such thing as karma considered as a system of reward and punishment. That is a bald fabrication of old men for intimidating children. You are free to do whatever you like in life, and treat people just as you wish with no prescribed moral regulation of any kind. "Do as thou wilt," as Crowley notoriously advised. That adage is just a little under half of an essential truth, and a most dangerous half-truth, indeed. The other half is, whatever you do happens in a pattern of blind compulsion, unless you see that pattern and break through it. Then you are really free to do as you will; but unfree of compulsion, you can't realize what free will actually is. Freedom depends not merely on the liberty and capacity to act, but on action free of patterned repetition, blind compulsion, archontic entropy, heimarmene.
Karma is a rigged game. Liberation from karma comes first with seeing how it is rigged, how the archontic spin induces auto-suggestion and clouds perception, and then by simply choosing not to play that game. In a liberated view, there is no karmic law by which you may gauge the cause and effect of your actions. Imagine how that kind of freedom feels.
At this late date in human history, it may well be time to admit how human compulsion is rigged by an adulterating force in the mind. Everyone is equally subject to the trancing factor, but not all people succumb to it to the same degree. Some human specimens are entirely consumed by it. They become totally archontified. They shop and kill with equal abandon. There are plenty of them running around these days. So we find a cabal of psychopathic control-freaks managing human affairs. Big surprise. Orchestrations of archontic behavior are by now so painfully obvious on the global scale that Sophia may be looking us over with a keen eye to the test she set for us, checking on the results. Every single problem in the world at large is rigged, orchestrated, deliberately instigated and deceitfully implemented and managed: the food crisis is rigged, the financial meltdown is rigged, mass media are rigged, entertainment is rigged, democratic elections are rigged, statistics are rigged, education is rigged, epidemics are rigged, vaccines for epidemics are rigged, Google is rigged, the immanent UFO invasion is rigged, anthropic global warming is rigged, WW III is rigged, terrorism is rigged. How much rigging does it take before we snap to the way karma works and see through the blind collusion of a self-deluded species?
The single decisive factor in the much-heralded "planetary shift" may be, not a massive spiritual awakening across the globe with everyone suddenly vibrating to the higher freauencies of their light-bodies, but some agreement on this elementary perception: the only problems of human society that cannot be solved in a relatively happy and productive fashion are deliberately created ones. Were it not for those problems, we might all be working things out quite well. But you cannot win a game rigged for you to lose.
But there is good news, too, in this excruciating diagnostic that now grinds to an end. Seeing how the game of karma is rigged brings liberation on Kali's terms, that is, according to the metaphor of gaming which resolves all forms of human behavior in Kali Yuga. (Translation: In Kali Yuga, any situation can be mastered by putting it into the metaphor of gaming.) It could be said that Sophia cut the deal with the archons, but Kali sees out the deal. She oversees human enmeshment with demonic powers of deceit and manipulation. She is called Durga, "invincible," because no archontic or demonic impulse in the universe can defeat her. Kali liberates humankind from all illusions, including the illusion of compassion.
Like Kali, Sophia loves to gamble, to play the odds. This is evident all through nature in the way Sophia throws the evolutionary dice lavishly for a minutely selective win. The planetary animal mother is indeed teleological, goal-oriented, but she plays wildly with chance and novelty to keep the margins of her world open and fluid. She loves running through the odds like an autistic child conjugating square roots to 50 decimal points. The Gnostic scenario of hiemarmene shows how Gaia-Sophia has set up a precarious gamble pitting humankind against itself with the archons for leverage. Kali oversees the game for a particular purpose, because admission to Kali's Game becomes an option upon getting out of the rigged game. You do not beat that archontic game, you just get off it. There is no karma to master or overcome. The act performed for its own beauty and pleasure is already a Kalika initiation.
jll : 18 October 2010 Andalucia
Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2017 by John Lash.