I have a condition. One that vexes me now and then. One that limits my possibilities. One that sometimes puts a strain on my relationships, particularly my close relationships. It has been the cause of many emotion-filled episodes in my life and even now holds me prisoner.
Let me describe some symptoms of this condition: mind-reading; a sense of rightness; overwhelming defensiveness; judgmental-ism; lack of compassion; a sense of inferiority/superiority; know-it-all-ism.
These symptoms and more are associated with my own version of cause and effect hell – a condition in which I believe I can KNOW the cause of an effect. In other words, when I see some phenomenon, I believe I know why it is as it is – I can explain it or at least believe that it is explainable. I believe that my deduction of causality is true and complete. This gets particularly dicey when I think I know what your intentions are (cause) based on what I see you do (effect) – especially when I’m convinced the cause of my troubles is you!
It’s simple reductionism – a belief in causality MY WAY.
In my belief, for EACH effect there is A cause. The problem isn’t so much the cause and effect relationship specifically – rather, it’s that I believe and hold as truth that there is ONE (or very few) cause for EACH effect. A simple one-to-one relationship that I feel I can control or at least understand.
That causes a problem of perception and understanding:
The universe is a sort of multidimensional matrix in which space and time interact with energy in an intricate and complex (to me) dance known as space-time, governed by laws. Laws make these interactions predictable and knowable. Yet, due to the multidimensional nature of the matrix there may be an element of unpredictability in our known space-time system (Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, for example), may be virtually impossible to say with absolute certainty that any ONE effect can be attributed to any ONE cause.
In effect (pun intended), ALL causes are intricately bound to ALL effects – think in terms of a 3D bowl of soup rather than a 2D picture of a bowl of soup. Causality may be a fantasy, an illusion. And yet…
The Belief (in Cause and Effect) Is Strong in this One!
My fundamental reductionist 2D version of cause and effect is my attempt to control aspects of my life by simplifying the multidimensional matrix of causes and effects down to a more manageable one-to-one relationship – a convenient and seemingly useful yet full-on imaginary fantasy that helps me make sense of my world without feeling overwhelmed.
Yup! Cause and effect as I understand it is a FAKE! It doesn’t exist in reality. You see, I can’t control what isn’t, so I MAKE UP something I feel I CAN control! That’s cause and effect MY way!
This made-up fantasy of linear cause and effect allows me to judge, blame, curse, justify, defend and much more – as long as it appears to me that my 2D cause and effect is satisfied (“you did it, so you’re guilty”) – which makes me feel secure and justified in my universe.
Although imaginary, my version of cause and effect may be useful – at least until my mind can “graduate” to 3D perception.
Does that mean I can’t affect anything in my world, then? Am I never the direct cause of anything? Does knowing that 2D cause and effect is an illusion remove accountability from my actions? Sure seems that way to me… and then, there it is again: another illustration of my repetitive 2D cause and effect hell!
I have a condition. One that vexes me now and then. One that limits my possibilities. One that sometimes puts a strain on my relationships, particularly my close relationships. It has been the cause of many emotion-filled episodes in my life and even now holds me prisoner against my will.
What if my understanding of causality is incorrect? What then?