Does an action considered negative by society create dark karma by itself, or is it our attitude that counts? If I were to cheat, lie, or even commit a crime in a detached state of mind (in perfect equanimity, so to speak) or with some noble end in mind, would I still create negative karma?
There's no such thing as negative karma. Again, Humans wish to polarize everything and place it into a box. This box is then carried from place to place as a singular and linear process. It isn't.
The definition of karma: Karma is the energy of incompletion. It begs to be solved, and drives a Human being to behave a certain way, live in a certain place, and meet other specific Humans for resolution. It was created and worked in an older Earth energy as a way to move the energy of the planet vibrationally one way or the other as humanity worked the karma with total free choice.
If you clear your karma, you are releasing an old energy and moving on to one where you are free to help the planet with your light. This is your free choice, and it is driven by your intent. Those with the “attitude” of pure spiritual intent will indeed move into that new attribute of being a Human with no past-life karma. Part of this process is the understanding that becoming interdimensional means blending the past, present and future (potential) into a new reality called “the now.” This “now” leaves no room for “past karmic instruction sets” within the DNA.
If you were to clear your karma, then go on to do what you deem as inappropriate things, then you place upon yourself (free choice) attributes that you'll be forced to deal with immediately, in this life. Creating new karma, the kind that's passed from lifetime to lifetime, is no longer done. Again, these kind of questions are the result of those who wish to analyze God. To try to analyze God within a single-digit reality is folly. Can you analyze love? Can you set rules for angelic thought?
It's time to grasp all of this as “the way things work.” Many use the machines of Earth to get from one place to the other without a full and complete understanding and disclosure of every working part in the mechanism. It they had to have that, no one would ever get anywhere! They would forever be bogged down in study, and many would never understand. Yet there are always those who feel that everything must make 4D sense to move on. If they can't understand it, they're afraid of it. This fear will keep them in one place all their lives.
It's time for you to fully grasp the principle that the mechanics of God are beautiful, mystical, and constantly with you. You're never alone, and you never have to wonder if this or that is “known” of “God. All is known, and the system is loving and wise.” Now... use this system to move to another place.