Why Is Climate Change Not Like Being Mauled by Wild Lions?

Whoopi Goldberg had a lot on her mind when she met the star of PBS’ “The Brain” at the Rubin Museum in New York City a few weeks ago. “What makes me me?” she demanded. Well, other folks make you you came the answer: “A lot of brain activity is in relation to other brains,” replied Dr. David Eagleman. This was one of 22 onstage conversations the Rubin is mounting this fall to explore the nature of Karma - the thing that almost everyone seems to think is either about retribution, what you come back as in your next life, or a nifty T-shirt slogan.

Ripples in a pool

You won’t find that sort of T-shirt at the Rubin shop; but head up the museum’s signature spiral staircase and you will find that every other work on its walls is from the Tibetan Himalayas, karma central. The simple translation from the Sanskrit of karma is ‘action’. Yet, to the Buddha, karma is not the linear ‘do good and good things come back to you’. Individual actions do not necessarily lead to a corresponding reward or punishment. Instead actions are more like a stone dropped in water–the ripples extend out 360 degrees. And the ripples created by other dropped stones in the same pool intersect in such a way as to create unfathomably complex and unanticipated patterns. A full awareness of these rich intersections, and how we are connected to and responsible for all past, present, and future events, that is karma.

The brain is a cosmos
The brain is also full of such unfathomable intersections. Our perceptive tools – sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch – interact with our consciousness with such complexity that the brain is often hailed as the most elaborate organism on earth. —> Read More