Saturday, June 03, 2006

Cause and Effect

Our human understanding of the world is inherently founded on the notion that cause precedes effect. Indeed, everything around us, every single occurence in our lives seems to have some preceding cause. Hence, it is not unreasonable to believe that effect indeed follows an initial cause.

What if Cause was uncoupled from Effect ? Everything would then essentially be isolated from each other, utterly unable to influence or be influenced by other bodies. Yes, this idea sounds strange, and many would dismiss it as being impossible. Everything we know and have known contradicts this ridiculous hypothesis.

Or are we being deluded? Is it not possible that some events have occured randomly in a fashion which fortuitously happened to portray an impression of order? Then, our 'cause' is merely nothing more than an illusion.

In some sense, this is akin to the problem of induction. Just because something appeared to be true in the past is not proof that it is always true. Consider the formula P(n) = n^2 + n + 41. One could postulate that this formula always generates prime numbers because the first few results are all prime numbers. But it quickly turns out to be mere coincidence, as the formula fails at n=40. What if the cause and effect was also something of a coincidence?

Our minds have the ability to see amazing relations between things, but it also sees phantoms which do not exist. Could everything be nothing more than a delusion?

** Yes I am fond of denying all things, as I am fond of skepticism.

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