Causality: The will of Gods, shit happens, sentient choice and probability realization. The complexity of what, why and how.
Can you believe it? I am writing this essay in order to better understand why I am writing this essay.
When a person states, as I have, that the entirety is made by us, even as we are made by it, that person ought to feel some responsibility for discussing how their view of causality fits into the larger set of concepts that have prompted them to make that statement in the first place.
The problem with thinking about cause and affect is that we tend to separate our approach into a single type of methodology: That is to understand it only in terms of objective interactions; which is usually a discrete sequence, or set of sequences, of objective interactions. This is, I believe, an aspect of ignoring a fuller appreciation of what connection really implies, and whether meaning assessment is ever only a mechanistic process.
When you hear someone as brilliant as Einstein say that the amazing thing about the universe is that the human mind can understand it, you are not overly anxious to question it. The thing is, the feeling I get when I read that is one I can't ignore. It is a feeling that makes me wonder if there isn't a good deal of arrogance in that notion.
Certainly we can understand aspects of it, just as we can ascertain aspects of truth in any complex situation. But to suggest that we might understand some form of complete truth is ridiculous. It is so precisely because we ignore our own connection to what we are trying to understand.
Do we Love if? Do we hate it? Or do we pretend the maintenance of a complete indifference to it? Perhaps it is a complex mix of one or more of these options. In any case, though, I fear it is too often an approach one could liken to Captain Ahab as he is confronted by what lay behind the leviathan that wronged him. And let us be clear here. Was it the loss of a leg or was it being humbled by an abyss of relationships whose power frightened him, even as it called him forth with its wonder, and promise for a chance to prove himself better than it. The kind of need that only a mind molded under the idea that rationality, and control, gave it the right to feel superior to all things below man in the natural world.
Which then begs the question: Is it something to be conquered? Something to be put under the leash of our control; just as our stance toward nature in the 19th century had us view its material manifestations as merely resources waiting to be translated into power of one form or another?
If we truly connected to what we wish to better understand, wouldn't we tend to take a more cautious approach? One where we apply some sense of humility as to our own place in the bigger picture? Even if we don't actually apply the human concept of love?
I can't help but consider the question of causality as a duality; as in the cosmological and the subjective.
As both objective empiricism and personal observation, or experience. How could it be otherwise when a singular, formless bit of infinite potential evolves into ever more increasingly complex structural arrangements as to eventually end up with a sentient entity. Precisely the kind of thing that can not only make observations, but can then apply those observations to abstract considerations of what they might imply as to past conditions, and/or future possibilities.
You need only ponder the idea of a reality, or an entirety of realities to come to this conclusion. An inconceivably vast matrix of non-linear equations that play out on interactive planes of energy scale, phase scale, and scales of angular momentum. All of which is meant to create meaning systems to hold the traceries of why or how. Something that wouldn't really matter that much if there were never to be ever more complex meaning systems that would ultimately create a meaning processing system that could hold and manipulate meaning elements into abstract logical steps of precedent, as well as probable future meaningful outcomes. Situations where we would have the unprecedented ability to make our own choices.
Isn't it interesting that, even in our earliest, most ignorant and superstitious collectives, we began to imagine various sorts of divine decision makers. One entity or anther who made the choices that ended up with whatever frightened beings who were doing the imagining in the first place, and who were then wondering why these supreme beings chose one outcome over another. Not to mention whether we had any part to play at all.
Everything has a why, how and what associated with it; even as to the application of those words to the writer now placing them before you. A loop of continuous iterations of the why of asking why that can certainly end up with you eating your own mind. It is, never the less, relevant to consider the point of an entirety that would involve itself with creating meaning systems in the first place if there weren't meaning assessment, and manipulation systems (or sentience), to make use of the meaning entities.
It is also interesting to take these considerations from another angle. If there were never sentient entities then the cosmos would be completely deterministic; after all, what else could influence it to create uncertainty, and thus a range of probabilities. What would there be for a point of reference upon which Relativity could be based. Everything would happen precisely because of the conditions that preceded each infinitesimal moment of event realization, along with certain interactive norms. This kind of reasoning, though, only begs the question of what preconditions started those interactions and their given interactive norms in the first place? Why would there even be boundaries at all, to say nothing of distinct quanta, as something to observe if there were no observer and, more importantly the singular reference point with which to objectify as a measured quantity.
I understand that this might seem to just rehash the old nostrum of trees falling, and the question of sound if no ears are there to perceive them, but what we're really talking about here is more complicated than that. Such a tree makes the potential for a sound, but the perceiving entity is what resolves the wave function probabilities and gives it a meaningful objectification of one type of sound as opposed to another; such meaning only arrived at by a history of experience association that occurred to the observer. In other words, a tree falling is just energy transfers of various sorts. Distinctions as to the properties of those transfers, and the qualities each property might have, requires some sort of associative, experience processing system.
Getting back to connection, though, in talking about causality, one can easily lose track of connecting. What is connection in the larger sense of deep involvement? Is it the recognition of a multiplicity of channels? The acknowledgment that there can be channels we will never be able to isolate objectively, much less put instrumentality to for measurement or testing? And if you start talking about higher orders of circuitry, don't you also have to accept that there are energy transfers that we can only guess at? Transfers that take place, at least in part, with higher (or lower) orders of associating structure (another way of expressing the idea of scales of consideration?
Don't get me wrong here. I am not suggesting the need to believe in deities for these higher orders of structure. What I am suggesting, however, is that our minds might be interacting with the entirety to create feedback loops we have only just begun to fully imagine.
Even though I am not talking about deities, this is where I feel I need to introduce the notion of spirit.
I know. For you empiricists out there this is just about as bad as a deity, but bare with me for a bit here.
We talk about the ideal of certain native cultures and how they form a deeper connection to the living world around them. The suggestion is that they do this out of a reverence for life as a system who's over all structure they cannot ever be fully aware of; even if they don't fully appreciate that motive.
I think about these things as I sit here writing because I wonder why I would even attempt it in the first place. I can't even begin to describe to you how ambivalent I have been about putting any of my musings forth on such a weighty topic. After all, I have no formal training in philosophy, or physics. I have been a systems analyst, but on systems that are some pretty small potatoes compared to the entirety, or any particular reality, for that matter. What could possibly motivate one to risk public pontification in this vein? Especially if you know for certain that you are in no way, shape, or form, any kind of genius; even in your most inflated of imaginings.
But then, it always comes back to what has always motivated me; there is a feeling for which I do not have the words to articulate. A feeling that is impossible to ignore. So I am then forced to see if I can carve out, from the stone of my limited vocabulary, something that approximates an articulation of what I feel.
What then is the causality of a feeling? What channels of energy transfer do we concentrate on? Culture? Genetic proclivities? Certain intrinsic properties of identity and ego; along with the need to validate a sense of self as it exists in a large grouping of identities? Or is it simply the completely mechanistic tracery of biochemistry, neuron inter connectivity, and weighted electrical discharge?
But now we come full circle; back again to what constitutes sentient choice. Which feelings do I act on? In what context do I consider the range of action options? What effect do these choices have on the larger system of sentience space? Is there such a larger system? If there was, could there be any way that it would be completely isolated from space time itself?
You can also come back around to quantum notions at this point. Might there be, for instance, at every quantum moment, all possible variations of the self that was about to make this next choice, with the correspondingly complex set of probability distributions? Superposition would suggest that all of those possibilities would exist simultaneously. The question then becomes would each possibility then go off on its own vector of reality ray tracing, at a larger scale of angular momentum?
The problem in all of this is simply that cause, as with meaning, can never be fully understood, or objectified. This is so precisely because any wave front of change has in it a universe of constituent, bounded process elements, each of which has its own universe of further such elements, to infinity. We can never make fully accurate determinations of why because we cannot fully understand the preconditions that preceded the particular event in question. And that is precisely because we can't know how far to take our matrix of nonlinear equations into the various scales of consideration. And this is because we cannot know precisely the number, or effect of all of the channels of interaction and feedback.
The thing is, even if we can't objectify them all, we can still feel quite a few. The sound of that tree falling is, just like music, a great deal more than pressure variations through a semi viscous fluid. Just as why things need to come together and exchange in the first place is a great deal more than a quanta of meaning that, with an arbitrary gap of duration between another quanta of meaning, conveys a new state for which a new question that is automatically implied.
In the end, it seems to me, our best strategy for progressing in our evolution of both what constitutes the makeup of our physical and mental capacities, as well as what we understand, and how we understand it, we need to try and keep a balance between objectivity, and feeling. We may not always understand why different things happen, but at least we will have the best mix of tools to both make good choices, and deal with the joys and pains of consequences. And will continue that evolution with a humility that recognizes our limitations, even as we celebrate our strengths and achievements.
Always remember that we are part of a spectacularly grand process. We participate as both spectator and cause contributor. Lets try to keep a sense of wonder and awe even as we extend our reach with practical involvement and effect. The entirety, as well as our part in it, will be a great deal better off in the long run.