An Analysis of Cause


The following statement seems to summarize very efficiently what is believed in most western religions and philosophies.

“Before the beginning was a Cause and the entire purpose of the Cause was the creation of effect.”

Judaism emphasizes God as the ultimate creator. Christianity makes God a personal being. Islam seems to de-emphasize that identity of a personal being by declaring God to be formless. However, God is still retained as the cause of all existence.

Spinoza starts his philosophical system with the premise of “uncaused Cause.”  Aristotle starts his philosophical system with the premise of “unmoved Mover.” The system of philosophy that follows from either premise is pretty rational. But the underlying premise is at best arbitrary.

Regardless of how rational a system of philosophy might appear, the logical consistency of that system is set by its starting postulate.

Let’s examine the premise of “Cause.” It is taken for granted by the western religions. Cause is supposed to be there before the beginning of a manifestation. The question then arises, “Can Cause be there all by itself before its effect manifests itself?”

If the answer is “yes” then Cause will be a manifestation on its own right. The question then becomes, “What is the cause of the Cause?” This logic inevitably leads to an endless chain of causes, and the beginning keeps getting pushed back earlier and earlier.

If the answer is “no” then the “Cause” must occur simultaneously with effect. “Cause-effect” would then be part of the same manifestation as the beginning. The idea “before the beginning” would then be a projection that is created after the fact of beginning.

Cause is a projection backward that is created after the fact of beginning.

This is consistent with the idea that time itself would start at the beginning, and there would be no such thing as “before the beginning.” Cause would, therefore, be a consideration created at the beginning. As there is no “before the beginning,” Beyond the beginning would be unknowable. See KNOWABLE AND UNKNOWABLE.

The premise “uncaused cause” seems to be an attempt to fix the unwieldy conclusion of the endless chain of causes when Cause is assumed to exist all by itself.  “Uncaused cause” is just another arbitrary consideration. No wonder it appears to be self-contradictory.

“Uncaused cause” is a consideration that is self-contradictory.

CAUSE is part of the creation, and has no meaning prior to the creation as assumed in the statement at the beginning of this essay. Neither “Cause,” nor “Uncaused cause” is an independent premise. It is part of the system of philosophy it generates.

The system of western religion and philosophy is made up of interdependent considerations. They are not linear but they form more like a circle. We may visualize this system as a sphere of consideration, which is ballooning out from a premise at its center. The premise is forever contained within this sphere; and it cannot lead to anything beyond that sphere.

What is beyond the sphere of considerations may only be speculated. But a speculation being a consideration would remain within that sphere.

The assumption that the consideration of “Cause” can extend beyond the “system of considerations” seems to be the basic inconsistency.

“Cause” may appear to be consistent but only within a system of consideration and not beyond. What is beyond is unknowable and it cannot be symbolized as Cause.


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  • Chris Thompson  On April 10, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    “The entire purpose of CAUSE is to give meaning to the unknown”

    Yes, I get you . . . and can the reason to create the concept of “unknowable” is to justify not-knowing the unknown?

    Please delete the transitive verbs of “bringing” and “manifesting” when describing how cause if our own illusion and there is ultimately no cause and effect.

    Please explain why this snake will not eat its own tail.

  • vinaire  On April 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    The reason to create the concept of “unknowable” is to have greater logical consistency.

    I would love to see logical inconsistencies pointed out with the concept of “unknowable” similar to what I have done with the concept of “cause.”

    I debated between the words “basic” and “entire”. Let me try out “The basic purpose of CAUSE is to give meaning to the unknowable.” This may provide a secondary purpose to “cause” as creating an effect.

    There is a chair because we believe there is a chair. Similarly, there are cause and effect because we believe there are cause and effect. These are relative truths (dichotomies) based on our programming. None of these is absolute truth.

    Ultimately, there is only knowable consideration against the background of unknowable… or, that is how it seems to be at the moment. 🙂


  • vinaire  On April 10, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    CAUSE seems to be a master consideration, which balloons into the unknowable knitting all other considerations together to make a persistent whole.


  • Chris Thompson  On April 10, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Yes, your effort on me is paying dividend. Thank you.
    I am going to “percolate” this for a while.

  • Chris Thompson  On April 10, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    One apparency is that as you attempt to communicate this concept of the unknowable, it definitely becomes a fractal and we move “toward” the unknowable, but only half the distance at a time. There is an illusion that we approach “unknowable” but in actual fact, though the incremental distance lessens, we are still in the box as ever. haha!
    My “religious” belief is that it will not always be so.

    • vinaire  On April 10, 2011 at 8:24 PM

      Good on your observation. But any belief or speculation will be part of the box… ha ha!


  • Chris Thompson  On April 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    This is why I feel you are trying to punk me at every juncture! Another breakthrough is needed.

    • vinaire  On April 11, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      I know that this subject is difficult. Sorry!

      Please refer to the essay on the nature of thought. Beliefs qualify as thought.


  • Chris Thompson  On April 12, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    In your model, there is neither cause nor effect?

    • vinaire  On April 12, 2011 at 10:16 AM

      In the “Unknowable” model, cause and effect exist only as considerations after the fact of manifestation.


  • Chris Thompson  On April 12, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    “CAUSE seems to be a master consideration”

    Who considers?

    • vinaire  On April 12, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      “Who considers?” Well, the idea of “Who” is a consideration itself. Now, do you see why the consideration “UNKNOWABLE” is used in this model?


      • Chris Thompson  On October 16, 2011 at 5:27 PM

        After “consideration” – Not really. For me, the logic does not point to unknowable.

        Your comment below that things appear and disappear against a backdrop of “unknowable” is poetic and maybe apt, but why do you insist in drawing this line?

      • vinaire  On October 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        That is how it appears to me at the moment. It may change with more looking… who knows!


  • Chris Thompson  On April 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Please write more about the balooning sphere of considerations. This indicates something to me – not sure what.

    • vinaire  On April 12, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      “Ballooning of considerations” kind of reminds me of formation of “planets”, or systems, made entirely of considerations… crazy? Yes…

      It also reminds me of something moving at supersonic speed, creating a stark boundary between disturbed and undisturbed as it moves.


  • rafgila  On October 16, 2011 at 5:48 AM

    My consideration in the moment : creation comes from the simultaneity action of an apparent first cause (a decision) and an effect (result) without distance between cause and effect (space , time, energy, particules, planets etc.).The the real First Cause (unknowable) is then still here in his creation. We can’t understand more it by intellectual speculation but we can believe that some rare human jumped in this Reality and have some difficulties to explain with words because this knowledge is beyond the words. We have to look our considerations, meditate, and who knows a day we’ll jump in?

    • vinaire  On October 16, 2011 at 7:31 AM

      I do not see Unknowable as the “First Cause,” To me, things seem to just appear and disappear at the fundamental level against the background of Unknowable. The consideration of “First Cause” seem to be a persistent consideration in the West.

      My recommendation, which I myself am trying to follow, is to become cognizant of all inconsistencies that exist, one by one. And, somewhere along the way, suddenly, one may be able to pierce the veil.


  • rafgila  On October 16, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    to pierce the veil sounds like a realisation not a mental activity ? considerations are only mental approches . Realisation at this level is rare isn’t it?. I heard that Ramana Maharshi was one who got it.
    Please, could you clear the concept of consistency and inconsistency ? It’s not easy for me to grasp it even with my english dictionnary.

    • vinaire  On October 16, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      I have tried to explain “inconsistency” here:


      Consistency would simply be an “absence of inconsistencies.”


  • rafgila  On October 19, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Thanks you, I read this part and it helped very well to get better understanding

  • vinaire  On October 19, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    You are welcome. 🙂


  • vinaire  On November 1, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Maybe the consideration of unknowable appears simultaneous with any manifestation, because that, which is manifested can be known.


  • Chris Thompson  On November 1, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    This seems like progress. Maybe through progressively less knowing, we can get to there. We first need the consideration that we don’t know the source of things when they appear. Then we can progress to can’t. Then we can be so surprised when they just appear.

    “Less knowing” to me would be more layers of considerations of obfuscation.

  • Chris Thompson  On November 1, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    I could also write “progressively less responsibility through the obfuscation of the nature of cause.”

  • vinaire  On November 1, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    The way I see it, the dichotomy “unmanifested (unknowable) – manifested (knowable)” is more basic than “Cause – Effect.”

    It is direct and it leads to more consistency (less leap of faith, or assumption). Either it is there to be known, or it is not there and can only be speculated upon.

    “Cause – EFfect” seems to be an association among KNOWN manifestations.


    • Chris Thompson  On November 1, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      Use different words then and look without bias. This one hangup on cause is jamming up the works and this jamming is the result of a consideration.

      Take another tact. “Neti neti” could have a dichotomy, could it not? How could you say the dichotomy out loud?

      This is no more a paradox than the chicken v egg. We just need to re-word the question a bit. Address the problem from another vector off-90 degrees instead of head on.

  • Chris Thompson  On November 1, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    The dichotomy is “yes to this, and yes to this as well.”

    Spinning again. It is a leap of faith for you to think that you have manifestation nailed. It is inconsistent to spout thousands of words about something which you carefully and meticulously define as unknowable. Your thinking has locked up.

    Why don’t you read my post and respond to what I wrote? When you don’t respond to my communication, I am given to understand that you did not duplicate what I wrote or several other worse conclusions. I already know and can recite your auto-responses. They are consistent only in their predictability.

    If you will not look at the inconsistency of defining something which has no definition, then what is your intention?

    If you beg to have inconsistency pointed out and then automatically do not look at that inconsistency when it is pointed out and respond in kind, then what is your intention?

    What result are you trying to achieve by repeating the same comments for thousands of times? If you post the same comments a few thousand more times, what do you think will occur?

    Dodging questions is wasting time. When I write to your post, I intend to have a communication. If this is different from you, then you owe it to me to make this clear.

    Now what will I get back from this?

  • vinaire  On November 1, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    “Cause-effect” is basically an association between two manifestations.

    In a logical world view created from the premise of “cause-effect” a concept of non-manifestation does not exist. Even an “absence of cause” is viewed as a potential. So, the concept of “absence of potential” does not exist in the “cause-effect” world-view.

    “Knowable-Unknowable” allows for the concept of “absolute absence,” which would include the absence of cause, potential or anything you can throw at it.. Even when you say “yes to this, and yes to this as well.” it is not the opposite of “neti-neti”. All you are saying is that anything you can spot is a manifestation. “Neti-neti” is saying the same thing.

    “Knowable-Unknowable” is simply presented as the modern version of “neti-neti.” But underlying it the ancient thought of the Vedas. It points to the concept of “absolute absence,” which is not found in any other system of philosophy.

    Thanks for your persistence, Chris. It has helped me develop the view described above.


    • Chris Thompson  On November 1, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      You are welcome Vinay. I feel the same way about you. I would never have worked so hard at nothing without your help.

      You lost me with your consideration of “absolute absence” of anything. You seem to have falsified once again unknowable. And if not false, you have pointed to a cerebral pursuit of “null and void” – a paralysis of thought if that.

      In this context, we have already established that unknowable is an oxymoron. What is the yearning which drives this?

    • vinaire  On November 1, 2011 at 9:36 PM

      There is no yearning really. It is simply looking at what is there against what background.

      What we recognize is always against some background. The recognition comes from the contrast (differentiation).

      If we look at what is there, it is natural to look at the background as well. The gain is uncovering considerations that we have taken for granted.


  • vinaire  On November 2, 2011 at 5:11 AM

    When we look at something for what it is, we are differentiating it against some background.

    When we decide to look at the background itself, we need to find a deeper background against which to differentiate what we are looking at.

    This can go for ever. There will always be a “background” we have not directly looked at.


    • Chris Thompson  On November 2, 2011 at 5:49 AM

      True. This is knowable.

      That “There will always be a “background” we have not directly looked at.” is a postulate. A self fulfilling postulate which is in agreement with quantum mechanics. The wave function fits the bill for your background. This is physics.

      Look for the “click” between this background and your psyche. This is philosophy until you find it. Then it will be physics.

    • vinaire  On November 2, 2011 at 6:02 AM

      You are right. But somewhere in all this, the factor of CONSISTENCY plays a role.

      Not all postulates are created equal. There are prime postulates; and there are secondary postulates. There are harmonious postulates; and there are discordant postulates.

      There is a lot more to look here.


  • Chris Thompson  On November 2, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Agreed. At the root of it, what do you suppose would be the difference between a postulate from philosophy and an observation from physics? And I am referring to the quantum sense of this. It might be helpful or at least interesting to make a consistency here before moving forward.

    • vinaire  On November 2, 2011 at 9:50 AM

      What we need to discover are existing postulates that are out of view at the moment. I have no clue as to what they are.


      • Chris Thompson  On November 2, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        Just as i allow you to direct my attention to have a discussion, I would appreciate it and it would help our discussion if you would allow me to direct yours.

        I’ve asked whether you see any inconsistency between a postulate and an observation both scientifically and philosophically.

        That and I think you’ve drawn your circles inside out.

      • vinaire  On November 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        I plan to study Quantum Mechanics from Wikipedia. I want to understand the fundamental axioms of Quantum Mechanics. Are there such axioms in existence?


  • Chris Thompson  On November 2, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Another look at this might be our compulsion to make a real world out there – make it hold still while we tamper with the core of our drama making machine. Maybe this is what is impossible.

    We’re working the puzzle, it’s a really good puzzle, we’re working it and working it and instinctively know there will be a loss when we’ve finished it but we can’t finish it without finishing it but we don’t want to finish it because it will then be finished.

    I eat chips and hot sauce this way. Each bite burns my mouth but then the burn dies down a bit and I can’t wait to cram another one in my mouth. Then the bowl is emptied and there is an instant of relief before I ask for a refill.

  • vinaire  On November 2, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Or, like the compulsion for sex, maybe… reach and withdraw.


    • Chris Thompson  On November 2, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      I don’t know Vin. I cannot read and understand the mathematics, and there are not agreed upon axioms that I am aware – though this is an extant goal in the community of math professionals. I have limited my study to books which discuss the philosophical repercussions by going over and over the infamous two-slit experiments and box-pairs. I read the “Quantum Enigma” and then “The Grand Design.” Now I’m snoozing to the “Age of Entanglement.” I’ve limited myself to trying to understand a few interpretations such as the Copenhagens, many worlds, consistent histories, etc.,. In plain English, these interpretations are so counter-intuitive that I spend quite a while just reading and re-reading and trying to demo things which sort of defy demonstration. On the positive side, none of the interpretations are allowed to deviate from the mathematics of QM and so there is for me a bit of a confidence factor there which bolsters my trust. There are hundreds of papers written by PhD candidates all yearning for a breakthrough and you would be in a better position to utilize these than I.

      Truthfully, if there is a disheartening aspect it is that the human experience is so very narrow that I wonder if almost ALL of existence escapes my perceptions, never mind anything unknowable. So many smart people have made it their business to try to solve these puzzles that I wonder, and my wife concurs, what the hell I am spending my time on it for. I mean it’s not like I am going to make a contribution that matters. It can be a little disheartening.

      On the other hand, I have never been accused of being clever enough to become disheartened when all evidence would show me that I should. So at least there is that!

  • vinaire  On November 2, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    I wouldn’t get hung up on mathematics. Mathematics is there simply to check the consistency of how the theory has been put together. We can assume that the theory is pretty consistent.

    But even a consistent theory is only as good at the starting postulates that the theory is based on. So, any examination should consist of ferreting out those starting postulates, and then examining them thoroughly.

    The tool to use here is Occam’s Razor to cut through the complexity of Quantum Mechanics. Occam’s razor is a principle that generally recommends selecting from among competing hypotheses the one that makes the fewest new assumptions. So, the thing to do is to look at the assumptions that Quantum Mechanics makes, count to see how many assumptions there are, and if those assumptions are consistent in a way so they can be combined and simplified.

    I have started reading the Wikipedia article here:

    Here are the points that I have noticed so far:

    (1) Qunatum Mechanics makes observations at the atomic scale.

    (2) Normal laws of optics do not apply because the wave length of light itself is in the ball park of those atomic dimensions.

    (3) Light behaves in some respects like particles and in other respects like waves.

    (4) Thus, light displays properties that are sometimes discrete and at other times continuous.

    (5) Light seems to influence the phenomenon it is trying to observe, making the observation imprecise.

    Light (electromagnetic waves) is the primary means of observation. It suffices at macro levels, and even at micro levels. But when it comes to atomic scale where dimensions approximate the wave-lengths of light, we stop getting consistent feedback through the use of light.

    More later…


  • vinaire  On November 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    The first understanding I get from Quantum Mechanics is that OBSERVING itself is an energy phenomenon. It interacts with the phenomenon being observed.

    This becomes significant at the scale of atomic dimensions.


    • Chris Thompson  On November 3, 2011 at 10:06 PM

      That’s good Vinay, but allow me to suggest we “go layer more.” I think it is a consistent assumption that there is a previous interaction by the observer with “your background” meaning the wave-function for the observation to appear. If we find “previous” to become inconsistent, one alternative to this previous interaction might be a simultaneous interaction or infinitely fast interaction as in a quantum jump of states of matter.

      IN THIS is the slip to and fro in space-time. For not only is the “background” omnipresent but it is also omni-tempus — existing throughout time.

      . . . and we’ve only just seen that there might even be a rabbit hole. We haven’t yet tried the latch or gone inside.

  • Chris Thompson  On November 3, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    This might be a good place to write about sanity v. insanity.

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