B a r k i n g

The gap between our made-up “selves” and the invisibly vast reality that we conjoin with often produces odd events that we perceive as meaningful. But did one thing really make something else happen?

The gold standard for causality was originally given by David Hume. He correctly identifies the difficulty of pinning down cause and effect: since all we can do as fallible humans is develop a habit or custom of mind where we come to associate two types of object or event, we must submit contiguous objects or events to eight tests to determine causality:

1. “The cause and effect must be contiguous in space and time.”
2. “The cause must be prior to the effect.”
3. “There must be a constant union betwixt the cause and effect. ’Tis chiefly this quality, that constitutes the relation.”

So, a fleeting coincidence, no matter how poetically syncronous, should always be discarded as an illusory spasm of the ego.

And then additionally there are three connected criteria which come from our experience and which are “the source of most of our philosophical reasonings”:

4. “The same cause always produces the same effect, and the same effect never arises but from the same cause. This principle we derive from experience, and is the source of most of our philosophical reasonings.”

Yup. And thence:

5. “Where several different objects produce the same effect, it must be by means of some quality, which we discover to be common amongst them.”
6. “Founded on the same reason”: “The difference in the effects of two resembling objects must proceed from that particular, in which they differ.”

And then two more:

7. “When any object encreases or diminishes with the encrease or diminution of its cause, ’tis to be regarded as a compounded effect, deriv’d from the union of the several different effects, which arise from the several different parts of the cause.”
8. An “object, which exists for any time in its full perfection without any effect, is not the sole cause of that effect, but requires to be assisted by some other principle, which may forward its influence and operation.”

Good Night And Good Luck.

The Velveteen Rabbit.