NY Times article has a unique spin on reincarnation and karma

This article by Michelle Alexander is the first mention of politics on this blog but is worthwhile because of its unique approach to the issue:

“The prospect of being reborn as a poor person in a world ravaged by climate change could lead us to very different political decisions.”


In other words, if you assume you’re coming back for another incarnation in a physical body on this planet, consider how we are treating this planet that we are coming back to, and that we may return as someone of a different sex, race or social status. Michelle addresses whether we switch from perpetrator to victim in succeeding lives:

“Would we fail to respond with care and compassion to the immigrant at the border today if we thought we might find ourselves homeless, fleeing war and poverty, in the next life?”

I haven’t talked about climate change and social issues here because I’m taking the broader, more spiritual perspective. But Michelle Alexander beautifully focuses on the personal intersecting with the political in examine the ideas of John Rawls and his idea of the “veil of ignorance”-

In his landmark 1971 book, “A Theory of Justice,” the political philosopher John Rawls urged his audience to imagine a wild scene: A group of people gathered to design their own future society behind “a veil of ignorance.” No one knows his or her place in society, class position or social status, “nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength and the like.” As Rawls put it, “If a man knew that he was wealthy, he might find it rational to advance the principle that various taxes for welfare measures be counted unjust; if he knew he was poor, he would most likely propose the contrary principle.” If denied basic information about one’s circumstances, Rawls predicted that important social goods, such as rights and liberties, power and opportunities, income and wealth, and conditions for self-respect would be “distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any or all of these values is to everyone’s advantage…

Rawls was right: True morality becomes possible only when we step outside the box of our perceived self-interest and care for others as much as we care for ourselves. But rather than imagining a scenario in which we’re entirely ignorant of what the future holds, perhaps we ought to imagine that we, personally, will be born again into the world that we are creating today through our collective and individual choices.

Yes, if we are going to be born again into this physical world, and that’s a big IF, consider the shape of the world that you left behind and how you might want to be treated the next time around.