In today’s Signs & Wonders, I offer you an image of Sharon Stone.
To look upon Stone is to marvel, for she represents much of the glory and luxury of American society at the start of this new millennium: a stunningly beautiful, sexy fifty-year old woman who looks half her age (but better!), who’s identity and career is her own, who is a firecracker and a philanthropist and who has an opinion on world events.
Tis that last wonderful trait though that has gotten Ms. Stone in a world o’ trouble, with her comment last week that the devastating earthquake in China was karmic retribution for the Chinese government’s treatment of Tibet.
Ms. Stone is coming from a world where you and I live, that is a world where news is served up to us daily on flat screens and crisp newspapers delivered quietly to our door. We use that information given to us to form opinions about the world and governments and events, and how they are connected and what they mean. It is our right to do so, it is a luxury to be engaged in such a way.
But then Ms. Stone said this last week at Cannes:
“I’m not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And then the earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?”
Like many readers of Under God, Stone obviously has formed an understanding of the divine mechanics of the universe. Like many these days, she’s using karma as a term to justify an understanding that everything happens for a reason. That’s totally cool when what’s happening is you’re hot and you’ve got a Dior campaign, but it’s not cool when you’re saying a natural disaster that is reaching a death toll of more than 68,000 was deserved. I offer Stone, in all her glory, as a warning lesson to all of us who take in the world’s news as an abstraction and think we can know the logic of divine justice. We can’t.