Ok so a while ago Amy and I got talking about Karma and how it might work. I'm not sure why - probably from watching Earl. She somehow had the idea that whatever you do comes back at you three fold. I think it's some sort of Wiccan thing that's supposed to keep you from doing bad Mojo.
Anyway, I've got a pretty deep background in science and engineering, so ideas that may "sound good" don't always do it for me. They need to hold water. So I started thinking about how to characterize karma.
First, I figured that the "threefold" idea couldn't possibly work because it violates the 1st law of Thermodynamics. This is the conservation of energy law that says energy can be niether created or destroyed. If we consider human acts as a form of energy, the whole threefold thing would result in a whole bunch of new energy.
So what could be happening? Well, things are of course compicated by the relative nature of good and bad - as things that are deemed good in France may be seen as Taboo in, say, Omaha. That aside, we can consider good and bad in terms of how the individual being acted upon percieves the act. In short, if we're talking about George, and George doesn't like something, then it's bad, regardless of what Temperance thinks.
OK. So let's say that Temperance does something - intentionaly or not - that George doesn't like. Then we can say that Temperance is adding Negative Energy to George. The 1st law of Thermodynamics
says that the amount of energy in a closed system is the amount of heat (energy) transferred into or out of the system plus the work done by the system. So if we consider Temperance's act the heat, then for system to balance out, George needs to do some work. Typically negative work.
Now here's where it gets tricky, because the system isn't really closed, and there's also a time factor involved. Temperance and Geaorge are living in a community that is connected to a bunch of other communities, so both of their actions can also be informed by the actions of countless other people. So for the equation to really balance, we need to look at the sum total of the actions as they relate, in this case, to George, since we're trying to figure out how the bad energy Temperance gave him might get back to her.
So if we consider that the brain may act as a sort of "heat sink", storing all kinds of positive and negative energy received from other people, and that behavior is influenced by the relative amounts of good and bad energy in the "sink", then it's possible for George to store Temperances energy before he does any work on it. In other words, George may not be mean to Temperance today, tomorrow, or ever. But the probability is high that this negative energy will make itself known in other ways. It will find a way to do work eventually. And when it does, it will work its way into other heat sinks maybe with more neagative energy in them. In this way the negative energy gets passed around.
I would suggest also that the sum of positive and negative energy is essentially constant, but that their relative values may fluctuate. What this suggests is that by passing negative energy into the system around herself, Temperance is increasing the probability that she will be receiving some negative energy in the near future.
So there you have it - karma is a bitch. [Especially because of all the math we need to do to figure her out]