Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Everybody wants to go to heaven

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What’s with this word Karma? It seems to be getting frequent usage. Hekia Parata once used it, apparently suggesting that the Novapay debacle was “karma” for the teachers daring to challenge her and her ministry whenever they tried to institute change.

According to my trusty Chambers dictionary karma is a Buddhist and/or Hindu based word used to describe a transcendental retribution for something done that perhaps ought not to have been done; the theory of inevitable consequence generally.

Somehow in the increasingly secular world it has replaced the age-old belief that a mystical out-of-world figure, believed by many to be God, punishes you for any wrongdoing. This doctrine leads to that oft-heard exclamation: “What have I done to deserve this?” Why we have suddenly decided to apply eastern mysticism to what was once comprehended in plain English is anybody’s guess.

Although action and reaction is a scientifically proven concept I doubt that it extends to our personal misfortunes. I guess it’s not uncommon for someone who discovers they have a terminal illness to ask “why me?” but unless their diet or lifestyle has contributed in some way then surely it’s just the luck of the draw rather than retribution from a deity.

I recall when our contemplations of this complex ideology were sharpened by an in-depth evaluation of the life and times of broadcaster Paul Holmes just prior to his untimely demise. In a soul-searching interview Janet McIntyre wanted to know did he believe in the afterlife and did he think he was going there. Paul said he hoped he had done enough, though he conceded that he was scared.

Later in a radio interview Pam Corkery let slip that Paul was a serial philanderer, though she herself had not succumbed. Not a good look for entry into the realm of angels. And yet on the other side of the coin he brought heart-rending stories to our attention on a nightly basis, not the least being the plight of young Eve van Grafhorst who had been pilloried in Australia for having aids. Paul’s response was to bring her to our screens, show genuine love for the little girl and expose to all of us that HIV was not a transferable disease at a time when we needed to know.

And Paul certainly reached a sainthood of sorts in the various embellished Television One accolades for his contribution to their ratings; the channel conveniently forgetting that at the peak of his popularity he had left One to launch Prime, expecting further fame and a bigger fortune. Somewhat surprisingly his audience stayed with One, and Prime had to outlay a large amount of money to release him from their contract.

Further homage was paid to him when he was knighted and arose to become Sir Paul.

I met him once at a book signing at Solway Park Copthorne. Later on in the evening I spoke to him briefly and found him to be a thoroughly nice man. His claim that he “loved people” was born out when he was prepared to talk to me, a complete stranger, and genuinely show interest.

That book, his autobiography, was a best seller, but I’m not sure some of the revelations were the kind of experiences that ought to have been aired in public. Certainly in his initial courtship of Fleur Revell a dinner date was graphically described, allowing too much information and must have embarrassed the young lady unfairly. He came across as a complete cur.

I bought his next book, the award winning Daughters of Erebus, and all the time while reading it I had to stop and wonder how this man could have written such a brilliant tome.

In my view this book alone qualified him for a Knighthood.

From cur to Sir is a giant leap for mankind.

Just who is eligible for entry into the afterlife is a moot point. Certainly it would be hard for a mortal man to pass the litmus test the Bible details for admittance. However Eve’s mother reckons her daughter will be at the Pearly Gates to receive Paul and show him around.

I guess that’s karma, in the nicest possible way.

(First published on the 13th of February 2013)

“Fame is a powerful aphrodisiac.” – Graham Greene 


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