Tag Archives: bad karma

Karma Points


Karma Points

Minor Genre:

Superstition; Ritual


“I believe in karma. Even if someone is justified in stealing or doing horrible stuff, I could never do it because I am superstitious of the idea of karma. Even though I see so much cruelty in how people act, whether that’s on the news or politically or whatever, I still can’t bring myself to do anything horrible on purpose because I believe in it coming back to me in some sense.

“As part of my belief in karma, I believe also in ‘karma points.’ Every time I see a piece of trash I pick it up now. I got used to feeling like it’s bad karma if I lock eyes with a piece of trash on the floor and don’t pick it up and just walk by it. Every time I look at one and register it in my mind as a piece of trash, I have to go grab it and throw it away in the trash can, which gives me a positive karma point. This superstition started in the beginning of 2024. I don’t know exactly why it happened, I just picked up the trash and it transformed into the superstition it is now.”


It is interesting to consider how the larger concept of karma translates into every-day actions in the informant’s life, and what that says about the idea of karma as a whole. If, for example, a person convicted of murder was considered to have a low level of karma, by the informant’s logic, they could work to restore their karma by picking up pieces of trash. This is an extreme example, but it goes to show that superstitious rituals often defy logic; routinely picking up trash would not make a serial killer a “good person,” but it may have a greater positive impact on an average person. The next logical question in such a perspective is then: at what point is someone’s poor karma irredeemable by small actions?

The idea of “karma points” therefore poses interesting philosophical considerations, but it can also be examined in a psychological context. The compulsion for the informant to pick up a piece of trash every time they lock eyes on it may be suggestive of a disorder such as OCD. While the inability to suppress an obsessive urge is a symptom of OCD, it is also a common experience for people who consider themselves superstitious; they will go to great lengths to avoid taking an action that they believe will bring about a negative outcome in their life. Ritualistic superstitious actions “dig the hole deeper” for the person who engages with them; as one gets in the habit of taking a specific set of actions, they assign more emotional significance to it and therefore become less likely to disengage with the superstition.