Anchor for this item posted by Bernard Tremblay at Monday, March 25, 2002; Monday, March 25, 2002

* With someone for whom the word "karma" has a resonance, the idea that how something is done affects the results is not outrageous, or even strange, and so consideration of process and means is only sensible. This isn't always the case. For the materialist who has not truly realized the implication of dialectics (Marx supposedly said that he would rather an intelligent idealist than a stupid materialist, and it is that sort of thick individual I'm referring to here), considerations of means and processes are tedious necessities, required by either technical concerns or, perhaps even more often, concerns of appearance. For these individuals even the notion that other individuals should not be seen as means to an end is not at all obvious. I think I've come to a formulation that might convey the importance here.
What if we consider the situation in which we find ourselves at the end of a process, the situation that includes the product. For a stranger whose experience of the situation includes the product only as a dead object, the ways and means by which it came about will be invisible. But for those whose experience includes the actuality of production as living memory, the object is more complex. Won't the product have only the value and meaning that is appropriate to the full situation, which includes how it was brought into being? And so it is; this indeed is the karmic relationship that exhausts and surpasses mere material causality: the means, methods, processes, and relations that enter into production condition the product's ultimate meaning and value. Given a method that is shadey, a set of relations that are inauthentic, and a process that is manipulative, isn't it obvious that we will end up with a product that differs very really from one that might be identical except produced in authentic collaboration and communicative cooperation? So, whether the product is as concrete as a meal or as abstract as group assent, the ways that are engaged enter into the actuality that is produced, the end results embody the means.