– the lesser thief pays for the greater thief’s transgressions

Karma sometimes doesn’t seem fair, especially if you’re paying for something done in another life, or a fragment of another life, that you are not even aware of, but then it comes and hits you over the head.

Not me, but some others. I wonder sometimes if some people in my life end up having to pay the karma for others, for people they don’t even know. Similar situations. For example, if I knew someone with sticky fingers who never got caught, the master of shoplifting, and he stole something from me and for whatever reason, I couldn’t call him out. Of course my resentment grows – well, it doesn’t have to – but you know, a curiosity if ‘what goes around comes around’ ever really gets applied.

And then I meet someone who maybe has the same habit but in much smaller doses. Maybe in the span of their life they have shoplifted something three times, but if they do it a fourth, they know the consequences will be dire. Unlike the master shoplifter, they have been caught in the past, and unlike the master shoplifter, they are also aware of the wrongness of their actions, to a degree, everything being slightly blurred and grey, and they have vowed to never steal again, and they have put measures in place so that it does not occur.

But one day they see something they desire and they pick it up and cradle it in the palm of their hand. It is so glittery and precious and reflects and absorbs all of the light in the world. It’s such an easy move to just put it in their pocket, and it is just this once, and haven’t they been honest for a good many years?


But they get caught, and they lose severely, everything that they hold dear and close. Is it that they pay the price for someone else’s crime? Is it that my wish for some form of vindication for the first person echoes, rebounds and ricochets out into the big wide world and strikes down one not nearly so deserving of getting walloped over the head with the karma mallet? Of course, that is reasonably solipsistic, but I also think forms of reincarnation and karma work at both a solipsistic and universal level. I have been or will be everyone at some stage of my lives – so maybe it was my own sticky fingers at one stage which picked up handfuls of rubies which didn’t belong to me, which stole a pastry from a bakery for no other reason than that I wanted it. Maybe it is the first guy’s karma to never ever get caught.

Still, awareness is always encouraged, but to be born so lacking in awareness of past transgressions and then to be made responsible for them through apparently random acts means a) when does it all end? and b) is it really fair? but then again, maybe, what does fairness have to do with it?

I don’t necessarily believe everything that I wrote above, but the thought(s) crosses my mind from time to time.

The lesser thief pays for the greater thief’s transgressions. Or, maybe they are just two entirely different, separate, disparate, discrete possible retributions which have come about in response to entirely different, separate, disparate and discrete situations.

Explore posts in the same categories: musings

3 Comments on “– the lesser thief pays for the greater thief’s transgressions”

  1. Infanttyrone Says:


    Noticed this post of yours showing up on my MBL page.

    Coupla thoughts:

    A1)In one of Carlin’s later (when he was older)HBO specials he (cosmological speculator that he was from time to time) said something to the effect that he called the Universe (or what’s behind it) “The Big Electron” (or something very close to that).

    A2) Can’t give you a citation as to when/where I heard this but reportedly (I’m reporting it to you anyway) Richard Feynman once hypothesized that there might be only a single electron in the Universe and that it changes location much more quickly than our instruments can detect. Supposedly this was said tongue in cheek, but it was also supposedly (the way I heard it) said in response to a question about why, when we measure the mass and other properties of “electrons” do the results always agree to xx number of decimal places… I’m pretty sure he was joking, but I know enough about his life and mind to wonder if he didn’t also consider it only as a highly unlikely, but not disprovable, scenario.

    B) One of Beckett’s favorite sayings (Godot, etc.).
    I read a bunch of his stuff for Said’s class and others long ago. I don’t think I’d ever go to a stage production of one of his plays, but they read well on paper (for me, because I could put it down and think about it or research it if needed). I also saw Jack McGowran (sp?) doing some of his (B’S) stage stuff on a TV show. I think video would also be good as long as there’s a stop or pause capability.

    Do not despair: one of the thieves was saved; do not presume: one of the thieves was damned.

    I believe Beckett credited St. Augustine with authoring that beauty.

    How cool is that anyway?

    I mean, hello, first a Nobel Prize winning author quotes your ass and then…little Bobby Dylan writes a song about you. The only thing possibly better would be to get 100+ thumbs on PAN…

    C) noticed a couple songs on YT that reminded me of Austin, where I’ll be for a week visiting family.
    Sent a message to current Austinite Pony Girl with links. You might like them. No real tie in to Japan, but maybe the Australian frontier/rural life?

    Ciao from Costa Rica

    • lizardrinking Says:

      Thanks, Ty. I think there are probably a few things cooler than getting thumbed a hundred times on PAN, but it would still make you feel good. 🙂

      I’ll check out the links when I have a bit of time. Thanks for the comments. I think (quantum) physics and Buddhist thought have a lot in common, not that I’ve gone into either too deeply.

      The Beckett/St Thomas quote is very elegant, and of course, let’s you have a bet each way.

      Enjoy the visit.

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