Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are teachings, ancient and more recent which surmise that the consequences for a person’s actions in this life may not appear until the next lifetime, or that they will be visited upon the perpetrator’s children and their children. Whoa! Going there is way too esoteric for this treatise, which is solely concerned with is what happens in this lifetime!

Though it must be acknowledged that this is one of those questions that no living being, now or ever, truly knows the answer to, the clearest and most cogent explanation I’ve ever found, comes from the person many consider to be the greatest poet and philosopher in America’s history, Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was in reading his magnificent essay on Compensation that I had my first glimpse of how the issue at hand works. It resonated with me and was very helpful in formulating the views expressed herein. He states:

  • “Though no checks to a new evil appear, the checks exist, and will appear.”
  • “Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed, in silence and certainty!”
  • “The retribution is inseparable from the thing, but is often spread over a long time, and so may not become distinct until much time has passed. However, the offense and the punishment grow out of one stem. Cause and Effect, Means and Ends, Seeds and Fruit, cannot be severed, for the Effect already blooms in the Cause.”
  • “Life invests itself with inevitable conditions, which the unwise seek to dodge, or say they do not know, or that they do not touch them. But they do!”