Thursday, August 14, 2008

"cause and effect" Naga style

Let us begin with the caveat that in this analysis we will treat only the causal cases in which an established cause gives rise to a consequent effect and not vice versa. In other words, we will treat only the world of our experience in which time's arrow points solely in one direction. It is worth noting, however, that our analysis applies equally well to scenarios in which there is no preferred or necessary direction to time.

First we should state unequivocally our fundamental assumptions:
1.cause and effect is a universal natural law
2.time is linear and continuous
3.moments in time are discrete
4.adjacent moments in time are perfectly contiguous*

*The issue of whether or not time is quantized, that is to say whether or not a discrete moment in time is finite in size or not, is of no consequence to this analysis.

For the sake of clarity let us posit a cause 'A' that gives rise to an effect 'B'. Our exercise begins with a question: What are the mechanics of cause yielding effect? The problematic in trying to approach this question seems to be a matter of possible relations between two things which do not share time coordinates. At the time of the cause, the effect has not yet arisen. At the time of the effect, the cause has ceased. In either case the cause and the effect do not coexist. One must exist in a moment we can term “present” and the other in a non-real moment whether it be “past” or “future”. Things in the past are non-real as are things in the future. What relationship, then, can an effect have to its alleged cause?

If we posit 'A' begets 'B', what are we positing? What is the nature of the relationship between A and B? Is there some sort of interaction or interconnection? Either case would necessitate extension across multiple moments of time. If we were to posit that “the red ball colliding with the blue ball made the blue ball move” then 'A' is a collision (the fact that it was a red ball is incidental) and 'B' is a change in motion (that it is a blue ball that goes from relative rest to having a velocity is incidental). What is the nature of the relationship between the collision and the acceleration? At the moment in which there is a collision, if we want to cite the collision as the causal factor, there is not yet a change in motion. At the moment in which the motion changes the impetus for said change must have come to pass. What is it about a cause, any cause, that its cessation gives rise to its consequence? In other words, what are the mechanics of cause and effect?

Perhaps the problem is that “mechanics” are elucidated in dependence upon cause and effect. To ask what the mechanics of cause and effect are is likely akin to asking what the underlying causes are whose effects comprise the very law of cause and effect. That creates of vicious circle and gets us no closer to an answer. Let it suffice to say that it seems that cause and effect is a logically untenable process. Going back to our balls, the change of motion does not occur at the time of the collision because causes and effects do not coexist in time. The change of motion does not occur as the change of motion is taking place for at that time it is not yet a change in motion. The change of motion does not occur after the change in motion for the motion at that point has already changed (which is why we can accurately refer to it as “motion different from its previous motion: a change in motion”). If the change in motion does not occur prior to the movement of the blue ball, at the time when the blue ball begins to move but cannot yet be said to be in motion, nor when the blue ball is already in motion, then when does it occur? We have exhausted all possibilities.

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