Welcome to the Karma Café: there are no menus. You’ll get served what you deserve. Or do you?
BY THE WAY: while the pun still stands please note that the proper way to say caramel is not CAR-mull. It is care-ah-mel—there is a second a in that word. Care-Ah-Mel. GOT IT? </pet peeve rant>
Okay so Karma is actually a more complicated eastern philosophy than we typically reduce it to in our Western daily vernacular. I must confess I don’t know much past the general concept which we all rely on: you get what you give. **Cue the musical interlude to play New Radicals** So you know, often times I’ll compliment someone who does a good deed by acknowledging that they’ve racked up some serious karma points. We’ll console a friend that’s been hurt by another by pointing out that “karma is a bitch” but…does it really work out that way? I don’t have faith that there’s actually a cosmic force working to balance out the forces of good and evil—though if I’m wrong, I’m super bummed because I think I’ve aged out too far to get chosen to be the next Slayer.
I do think that when you repeatedly do bad things they catch up to you. The law of averages, or chaos, or something ensures that eventually you will pull that shit on the wrong person or institution. Shoplifting? Eventually SOMEONE is going to notice and you will get punished. Cut people off in traffic routinely? Eventually SOMEONE is going to be too slow and you’ll be getting rear-ended. I definitely think that for the majority of cases where karmic retribution is desirable, most people reap what they sow. I know that there are times where I do something (like spit out my gum where I know I shouldn’t) and later when I stupidly forget I did that and step in it well—I deserved that. Trouble is that this eventuality doesn’t always seem to work out as well for the good guys. I don’t think the karmic payoff happens nearly as often.
Bad people happen. Bad things happen to good people. The desire to find some meaning, some balance to these circumstances is fully understandable and that’s where I think the strong pull to believe in a force like Karma comes in. It’s hard to accept that sometimes life knocks the good guys down and they don’t get back up again. It’s really hard to accept that sometimes the bad guys win.
Buffy: Does it ever get easy?
Giles: You mean life?
Buffy: Yeah, does it get easy?
Giles: What do you want me to say?
Buffy: Lie to me.
Giles: Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and… everybody lives happily ever after.
We have art forms (comics, film, television, books) that provide an escape from this reality…well, sometimes. If you are a fan of GRRM for example you are all too familiar with the fact that the good guys often get the shaft. The really bad ones do too…I have this whole theory about how GRRM’s books basically create a world of grey and characters that are white or black are equally doomed because they stick out but that’s a whole other discussion full of SPOILERS someday. Anyway my general musing here, because I’m not sure this post has a point except that I’m thinking about Syria a lot right now is this: there are no promises the good guy will ever get it all worked out by the end of his story. The villains do get their end eventually as well but it just isn’t always as dramatic or satisfying to our blood lust for vengeance as we want it to be. I guess my question is this: when dealing in matters of karma it seems like I find myself craving far more to know that someone gets their comeuppance than their accolades. Do you feel like that’s generally the case for you? If you were given the opportunity in your life to choose to reward one person who truly deserved it or punish someone who truly deserved it—and you could only do one or the other: which would you choose? It’s kind of like choosing what kind of superhero you would be: Batman or Rorschach? I feel like I know what the answer should be versus what my instinct would be to do. We should focus on the positive and leave the negative out of it—especially since death is kind of the finale whether we like it or not. Whether there is divine punishment or nothing after…well that’s something I can’t answer until I’m physiologically not capable of answering it. At least not without Whoopi Goldberg and a theme song Oh, my love, my darling – I’ve hungered, hungered for your touch — A long, lonely time….
In the meantime you can at least reward yourself when you really deserve it, in little ways, with treats that make you feel good about eating them. I love creamy caramels but since I only but sustainable, responsibly farmed animal products it can get expensive so I like having vegan recipes to balance out those costs. I wanted to see if coconut cream would work as a dairy substitute for making caramels and it totally does. True it results in a slight coconut flavor but it doesn’t bother me. I bet if you bake them into something you won’t even notice. Another point in my karma jar for one fewer cow subjected to factory farm nonsense for something as trivial as candy. Plus it makes them parve so you can have these with any kosher meal you desire.
Vegan Coconut Caramel Crèmes
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