Karma (Part 6)

And so two weeks passed of emails and phone messages from Kate.

Karma (Part 6)[1]
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
Larry Block, Kristine McKenna, Friederike Frank, Jack Kornfield, Joe Frank
Karma Style, Serious Monologue, 58 minutes
Preceded by: Karma (Part 5)
Followed by: Karma (Part 7)

Karma (Part 6) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on May 28, 2000.


Joe doesn't answer Kate's calls or e-mails. She calls at 6 AM - he picks up. She's sick, can't work, wants Joe to know how much she misses, needs him. Joe says he loves her too. They talk about how to repair their relationship. Kate visits Florence with a friend, which makes Joe jealous.

4:30: Joe attributes his jealousy to his mother's 'wandering eye', her interest in men, her sexual appetite. He felt inadequate to her need, that she betrayed him; he hated her for this. About her second marriage, Joe felt that it was because he wasn't 'man enough'.

6:00: Joe talks about her TV watching: old romances. One night he hears her moaning in bed.

7:00: Joe describes the Big Bang, leading up to life on Earth.[1]

8:40: Joe's mother talks about what she's watching on TV, what happened on 'Ally McBeal', 'A touch of mink'. She took her hairdresser out on Mother's Day.

11:00: Kristine McKenna talks about bad relationships, mentions one of hers. She draws a parallel between romantic love and extreme performance art. She tells of Chris Burden, the performance artist who had himself shot, crucified on a Volkswagen, sealed in a box for 3 days, then the Viennese Actionists, one of whom cut off slices of his penis. (These are unpleasant to read about.)

14:00: Jack Kornfield tells of a woman whose husband had died. They were involved in the spiritual community. 3 friends told her different stories about what had happened to him - they had seen him. The stories disagreed, so she asked Kornfield to sort it out. He told her to focus on what she knew. He quotes Suzuki Roshi's single comment that embodies Zen: 'Not always so.' He tells us that we should focus on what we know.

21:30: Larry Block tells of a relationship with a woman 25 years ago, when he was one of the Dromios in Comedy of Errors in Shakespeare in the Park (1975). He had a brief passionate relationship with a woman, was distraught that it ended.[2]

29:50: Joe talks about animals that eat other animals, particularly gruesomely, including the hatchetfish, with its luminescent anus, and the violin spider - examples of God's grace.[1]

32:30: Jack Kornfield tells of explaining a passing satellite to an old monk, who didn't even know the Earth was round. Kornfield points out that this fellow was venerated for his wisdom, how wisdom is different from knowledge.[1]

36:50: Kornfield tells of the Korean Zen master San Se Neen (sp?) who teaches his students to cultivate 'don't know mind'.

38:00: Kristine says that she spent most of her life thinking that she didn't deserve someone nice, and her relationships lived up to her expectation. Her parents had an unhappy relationship. It took a long time for her to learn that sex could contribute to her life. She remembers a girlhood crush, Bruce Lee Barnes. She got drunk and made it with a friend. After that she had 7 bad relationships in a row.

43:30: Joe imagines taking a plane to Rome, all the things Kate and he will do.

47:10: Kornfield tells the story of the rabbi who asked his students how they could know when night had ended and day had begun.

49:50: Kornfield leads a meditation, asking how our heart responds to different circumstances.

53:10: A flight attendant's instructions to passengers before take-off.

54:40: Joe talks about love, that pop songs are about love, never about business affairs or unpleasant family matters.

57:00: 'I've got you under my skin' (Frank Sinatra)

Legacy Synopsis
  • Joe: he talks to Kate on the phone. They say they love each other. An idyllic description of Europe. Joe is jealous. Joe's mother had a wondering eye. The big bang and finding God.
  • Joe's mother: she answers the phone, says she is not naked, and discusses romantic movies.
  • Kristine: romantic love compared to extreme performance art. Love and immortality.
  • Kornfield: a woman is told by people of different religions that they've each seen her dead lover in their afterlife.
  • Larry: A brief relationship with a woman from the theater who then loses interest in him.
  • Joe: Animal cruelty as part of God's plan. "You could call it God's grace. But I wouldn't."
  • Kornfield: Explaining satellites, the solar system to a wise old monk. Wisdom vs. knowledge. The origin of everything in an ancient star.
  • Kristine: A boy walks her to school throughout her adolescence. Being disappointed with her first sexual encounter. Bad relationships.
  • Joe: Imagining fake memories about Kate: meeting her in Rome, being teenage sweethearts; the sort of imagined scenes on thinks of while waiting on a plane.
  • Kornfield: Knowing what time it is. "When [situation] arises, how does your heart respond?" set to a fast beat.
  • Sound effects: a stewardess gives a safety lecture on an airplane.
  • Joe: All songs are about love. Alternative song titles about unpleasant everyday events.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 originally aired in The Nature Of Things
  2. It seems to be a different woman than the similar relationship in the same year he describes in Karma (Part 1).