Causality…

When I was young, perhaps 8 or 10 years ago, the future seemed so simple and bright.  Everything in my life was going according to plan.  I had plenty of good ideas, and they all seemed to fit ever so perfectly into my well developed worldview.  I guess some could say I was a bit of a young intellectual prodigy but I never tried to let my ideas get too far beyond the realities I saw in front of me or those my peers saw around me.  And I guess it is still those simpler times of my youth to which I sometimes find myself subconsciously and nostalgically drawn.  However, it is ultimately a product of coming of age process that we see those times, those ideas as an illusion.  For in my youth I was only looking at the world through a single lens, a single perspective and lacked both the breadth of experience and intellectual maturity to fully understand the complex reality before my eyes.  Some of us never really grow up…

These days, looking at the future I feel much more like our species is metaphorically speeding down a dark and winding third world highway in the middle of the night struggling to see the hazards beyond headlights but ultimately riding solely on blind faith and the hope that we see the impending cliff before it overtakes us unprepared.  The more we learn, the more questions we have.  The more questions we have, the less we know.  And the less we know, the less we feel we truly understand…Such is the paradox of the human condition.  We are all bound by it.  And it is but a personal choice whether we blindly follow the path ahead or venture our hearts and minds out to seek the dark unknown.

In the popular film series, The Matrix, (probably as much a work of philosophy as a sci-fi action thriller) there is a scene where the main character, Neo (the name is not a coincidence, simply look how that word and prefix has been attached to many of our popular current paradigms), seeks out the fortune teller known as the Oracle for guidance on how to save humanity from imminent destruction and perpetual enslavement.  However, rather than receiving the answer he seeks the character leaves with a single piece of awkward guidance: “We cannot see beyond the choices we do not understand.”  That’s it.  There’s no secret recipe for success even when the fate of the species is at stake.  No approved solution or answer key waiting after the quizz.  In the end the Oracle even reveals that the choice itself is even irrelevant because it has already been made.  There is only the challenge to understand it…

When we examine our history, we generally follow it looking for facts which we can then interpret as truth.  From this truth we build our paradigms, our ideologies, and our worldviews.  Yet ultimately truth does not lead to understanding.  The question is not what actually happened in our past but why it happened.  And it is only through seeking comprehension of the why that we can hope to build understanding of our past and shed light on our future, seeing it with just a bit more clarity than before…Why did 9/11 actually occur and why did it seem to fit so (im)perfectly with the course of human events and paradigms drawing back to our great world wars and beyond?  Why do we choose to take modern economics, politics, and war as absolute sciences dedicating as much intellectual rigor to their pursuits as our own knowledge of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and astronomy?  Why did Fukuyama proclaim “the end of history” after our Cold War and why did so many of us actually believe him?   And why do we look ahead into the darkness pretending that we have the ability to see the road clearly enough to steer our craft?   These are some of the questions we must be asking.  And these are some of the answers that will bring us closer to understanding.

Another theme in the film series is the concept of causality, which as humans we often perceive as time, circumstance, and coincidence.  This one is brought to us by an ambitious and powerful program known as the Merovingian (again the name is not a coincidence).  It is a logical assumption to make that everything in our physical and even metaphysical world is a product of its own causes and effects.  It follows that everything has its own definite beginning leading to its own evolutionary ending which brings it back into the realm of all that exists, all ever has existed, and all that ever will exist.   It is a standard tenet of chaos theory, based off of the susceptibility of complex systems to initial conditions, that if one could ever gain a glimpse at a given point in time of all matter in the universe down to the subatomic level one could then extrapolate all of history and all of the future from that single moment.  While this is far beyond the scope of human comprehension even given our amazing computing technology, it does lead with only a slight degree of intellectual calculus to the possibility of a certain entity, a certain force which is not bound by the concept of matter to truly obtain such a perspective and to see and understand all that exists for all species, all civilizations, all solar systems, and all galaxies of our universe.  Some may call this theoretical force God, others simply acknowledge the potential for universal causality and regardless it is far beyond the scope of this or any post to pose a possible answer to such a question.  Yet as I digress, the simple truth remains that in an interconnected ecosystem a single flap of a butterfly’s wings (or an artificially generated fluctuation in the Earth’s magnetic field) can indeed cause a hurricane halfway around the world.  We all have always and will always be bound by the forces of causality…

So what is left to do?  As human beings we surely cannot understand the inherently ununderstandable nor comprehend the inherently incomprehensible.  All we can do is walk our individual paths alone as we travel together through the great evolutionary processes of our species.  All we can do on that path is question.  We must seek answers and further analysis without falling for one false ideology or paradigm over another.  We must examine all aspects of our reality and their interconnected nature while refusing to take sides that would put us at odds with nearly half of our brothers and sisters.  We must continuously seek and follow our own middle paths however they are revealed to us by time, circumstance, and coincidence.  And we must always allow ourselves to admit our failures, to admit being wrong, and correct our course when we must.

Ultimately though, it is my belief, not fact or truth and not based on even the slightest shred of hard, physical evidence that, just like the main characters in the film series and countless “heroes” in all of our great works of culture and literature, at some point we will reach a crossroads in our path, a dead end created by the power of time, circumstance, and coincidence with two completely contradictory and inherently decisive directions for further travel.  The choice we make at that critical juncture does not truly matter as it is likely that we have already made it or are at least in the process of making it as our own actions, thoughts, and experiences contribute infinitely to our own personal causality.  The question is simply at that moment, at that point in time whether or not we will be able to truly understand it.  That alone will make all the difference in determining whether we gain the eyes necessary to see and guide our species through its evolutionary course or whether we will blindly follow and live our lives hiding in our own blissful ignorance and hoping that we avoid the hazards we know exist in the unknown.  That choice is ours to begin making right now.  And though many of us may have already made it there is no golden rule stating that we can never change our personal course.  We may not be able to change our history.  We may not be able to make our pain and failures go away.  But we can always seek to understand why.  Through this life, relentlessly search for that understanding and be ready seize the moment when it comes.  If your eyes are open enough, there’s no way you can miss it.  I’ll see you in the driver’s seat…

Cheers,

Brian

21 APR 2012, 1200(L), Sharana, Paktika, Afghanistan

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About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
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