La Petite Mort, Sub Rosa’s in-house publication that PRINT Magazine referred to as having inspired a “cult following”, is back. For our seventh issue, we’ve delved into all things Karma. From ancient philosophies to modern dating technology, from declassifying a political manifesto to contemplating the karmic implications of a generational divide, the new issue is as vastly insightful as it is visually stunning.
“This issue of La Petite Mort has a wide assortment of interpretations of Karma — a topic that can be a bit controversial. Some believe deeply in cause and effect, others see patternless chaos in the world,” said the issue’s Design Director Michelle Ando. “The design of this issue reflects both ends of the spectrum, with bold typography that expresses irreverence, yet their arrangement indicates a causal relationship between the forms.”
In its simplest form, karma is defined purely as an action, work, or deed. But there is much more nuance and depth to this concept waiting for exploration. Many ancient traditions accept karma as a law of our existence — neither good nor bad — simply functioning in response to our own actions and reciprocating in kind. Karma in its essential state is neutral.
We as conscious beings, acting in time and space, rarely stay in a state of neutrality for long and therefore instead impress upon karma the need for causality. It is in this way that Westerners have colloquially come to thank karma for good fortune and blame it for adversity. Alas, karma has little to do with this on its own. It is derived from our deeds. In this very moment on our planet, karma is ripe for exploration — understanding how it plays out in nuanced and interdependent manifestations at every turn.
As we press further into the law of karma, it reveals to us a many-sided set of views on ethicization — questioning who or what deems actions to be good or bad. To which ends do all of this judgment and reciprocity serve? Believers in reincarnation would say that it serves us not only in this life but in the next life as well. For those among us who eschew the idea of rebirth, karma’s role in the here and now may seem less consequential, but over time, continues to exhibit a sense of force and agency upon our lives whether we desire it to do so or not.
Where does this take us? What sort of deeds have we done that are still swirling in a retribution rabbit-hole waiting to ensnare us? What generosities will return to us tenfold for our purity of intention? Do our collective actions as a society have collective ramifications?
There are no answers to these questions, but perhaps by simply asking we will urge a law of the universe to abide us with greater understanding.