Cause & Effect

The greatest difficulty when we turn our attention on something like Cause & Effect comes from the astounding inertia of conditioned assumptions. To make a case that Cause & Effect is an illusion is to put one frail voice up against thousands of years of common sense. This is why it’s so important to sort out futility from what is merely difficult.

Continuing to attempt to sort out the world’s problems by navigating Cause & Effect is futile. Clarifying our bankrupt assumptions is merely difficult.

Cause & Effect was taken to be a concept. It’s now simply a belief. It was thought to have developed through the workings of Reason. It now maintains itself out of habit and inertia against any challenge whether by the means of reason or any possible test of what-is.

In the playground of reductive logic where it is acceptable to wrench apart everything into categories and realms of what is deemed worthwhile and what it is safe to ignore the idea of Cause & Effect appears to work. For all the cleverness invested in carving up everything into compartments and pumping advantage to a few – advantage measured in specific and myopic ways – Cause & Effect seems to bring its believers great power. Our Enormity is a grand lesson in how stupid this cleverness has turned out to be.

On one side we have inertia and complicity within indefensible, destructive, ecocidal behavior. On the other is the evidence of our senses and the ever more palpable results of our Enormity.

Is Cause & Effect the cause of our Enormity?

Gotcha! No. It is one factor among many.

What it seems to come down to – at least in part – is a particular attitude towards mystery. Reductivism, of which Cause & Effect is one aspect, takes its impetus from the rejection of Mystery. An incapacity to sit with questions without jumping to conclusions results in feeling the necessity to over-simplify. Reducing life to problems to be solved becomes an immediate imperative.

This substitutes an attitude – one among a multitude of possible perspectives – for a constant and unchangeable given. Lacking Proprioception we consistently fall into this trap. Exposure and practice with Proprioception brings us an awareness of how upside-down this attitude is.

It’s not a question of explanation or changing opinions or beliefs by persuasion or compulsion. These are all chimera in the fantasy-land where Cause & Effect pretends to exist. Exposure and engagement with Proprioception changes attitude. “Just like that.” No trying, no negotiating, no “doing what I should.”

This shift in attitude is an awakening from a dream. It is also a falling into a world in which dreams are a part. Recognizing – not in some legalistic or diplomatically narrow sense – that everything is in everything, we accept that dreams and fantasies and even the destructive ones like Cause & Effect are all part of everything. We cannot push them away. Pushing against what traps us only traps us further. Embroiling ourselves in some restricted view where we convince our selves that this will lead to that and the we can do this other; only energizes the forces holding us in their thrall.

How else can we see Cause & Effect, and the entire reductive playbook?

As part of the Mystery.

Dropping our breathless expectation that “Something must be done!” We awaken to what can be done. It’s a matter of maturity. We see it clearly in those we feel superior to. The dummies are all so stupid when they do what we understand to be futile actions. The failure comes when we don’t apply the same perception to our own condition. This perception of our own perception is Proprioception.

How do we act free of the illusion of Cause & Effect?

We don’t. And we do, sometimes. The one thing we can change is how we respond to the web of interactions and relations we are inseparably bound up within.

Not “Bound to,” as in a burden. Bound within as within an ecology, a web of life.

When we fight against limits we bind ourselves into an impossible position. We start disassociating and disengaging with what-is.

Accepting we are bound within limits – known, unknown, even unknowable limits; we untangle our selves from self-imposed binds.

We reach the realm of the difficult. We escape the futile. We can begin to respond.



Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

3 thoughts on “Cause & Effect

  1. Tony,
    WE are naturally drawn to look for cause and effect. It’s is just another way to push everything into a column of numbers. Cause and effect can’t measure the misery, and it can’t really manage deep complexity. It is easy to use in finding quantitative reactions between a small relationship between two measurables. It is a very poor way to solve complex multi -level relationships.

    Cause and effect also lets us “fudge ” the numbers. We do it all the time. “Hey ,it’s only a couple of whales” or “Forty thousand handgun deaths is better than the commies taking our guns” or “airbags have killed x amount of people but saved the lives of thousands”. It has evn change the murder of civilians to “colateral damage”.

    The problem with any tool,is when it becomes the only one you have in the box. If all you have is a hammer, everything else becomes a nail.


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