Even people who may seem inert aren’t. They have to act to avoid action, though usually that is not conducive to growth or productivity.
Shintoism did involve something like karma as well. Kami did more than just cause acts of nature. They also observed humans in the world, and they exist on all levels of the spiritual. For one who showed active disrespect for their ancestors, this would give those departed spirits a grievance that would be heard out by the other kami. Thus as we say in the west, “What goes around comes around.” Whatever you do to any part of the world is remembered and accounted for by that part of the world. Your shoes will remember if you don’t show them the respect shoes deserve.
It works both ways, right? Oh yes, the kami help those who help and respect them, and this even works for the dark kami though mostly the actions of the dark kami are generally frightening and troublesome for humans.
I think the disrespect I showed to my failing large fan made my computer fan rebel. Mechanical metaphors and their “truth.” I would offer that mechanical metaphors all stem from the natural source we took the material from. The metal and plant matter we used to make the plastic, things like that. So though a spirit of insect plagues mostly just leads people to have infested homes and spoiled crops, even a spirit of plagues can sometimes be moved to be helpful.
Misfortune is often found to be gifts in disguise as the dark kami don’t break the spiritual order. They arise from strain in the order, which makes me think of the Yokai. They would be considered dark kami, but don’t appear to have what we would consider a natural place in the world. They occur in places and situations where it seems like the world and the people in it have gone a bit crazy, have behaved with an unusual degree of obsession say, or unthinking passion.
An example would be a spirit called a Hanya, a type of oni that arises from the passions of a jealous woman. This is not picking on women, as men spawn oni spirits also, and more numerously. But the influence of an unhealthy attitude can take on energy of its own. Feelings and imagination are also kami.
People do seem to be a whole other person when they are very angry or jealous. Indeed. Even many neuroscientists are coming to believe that we may host one or more personalities we are unaware of in our being. This is the basis of Shinto healing practices. Your body works because kami take up residence and govern the behaviour of various parts, and those parts can come to play host to dark kami, or just have their native kami angered. So spiritual healing is restoring peace in the body community. Dark kami have their natural place in the world, but they inhabit places human beings usually choose not to dwell.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.