Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect – by P.K.Odendaal - November 2015.
Up until now I have broadly written about cause and effect as if everybody knew exactly what it was, but on reflection I realise that I have buttered over its more serious and subtle aspects and paid lip service to its own cause and effect.
As a start we all know that every cause has an effect and some causes have a multitude of effects called ramifications, but I have not yet stood still to consider who or what causes these causes. We should also realise that many or most effects are again causes in themselves, if they are not corrected or relegated. They can in fact be managed and altered quite successfully, and the earlier you start, the easier it gets to change them.

Cause and effect is the notion that every action, thought or decision we make or take has a result or an impact on our lives and that of others, and that effects follow causes in an unending chain of events, each effect becoming a cause in its own rights gain, but still vividly or vaguely resembling its parent.
Determinism is the notion that we cannot change the effects and that we cannot be the drivers of new causes. Everything just happen in one long and probably random string of events beyond the control of sentient beings and that we cannot escape this determined chain and that we are bystanders or spectators in this comedy or tragedy of errors. In the text of the Sunset Limited it says:
All right. It’s that the world is basically a forced labour camp from which the workers - perfectly innocent – are led forth by lottery, a few each day to be executed. I don’t think that this just the way I see it. I think it’s the way it is. Are there alternative views? Of course. Will any of them stand close scrutiny? No.
Free will is the notion that we can change and even dramatically alter the seemingly pre-determined flow of cause and effect. In fact, the postulate by Sartre says that we can even make decisions for which there are no precedents and we can make that without compromise.
Which notion do you support? None can be proved to be true. It is a question of taking a decision which path you are going to take, inspired by your free will! Just choose a path, even if it is a psycho path. And that is exactly the problem. We choose a path by free will and then stick to it by determinism – totally compromised. Determinism is a blatant lie – ask Eve. When she had to use her free will to choose between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, she chose the latter and that landed her in the spiritual death she thought would never be. It is the same for all determinists, although they have fancy names for it like existentialism, agnosticism and atheism.
The argument about cause and effect is in essence an argument on free will. However, it is essential also to know that there are limitations to free will and we need to know what these limitations are. I have written an article previously on the limitations of free will which you can read elsewhere on this blog. The fact is that the more you believe in determinism the more your ability to use your free will vanishes and the contra argument for faith is the same. The more you believe in faith and free will, the more faith and free will you have.
There are mainly two limitations to free will of which one is called the impossible and the other is called the compromise. I need not belabour the first here except to jest about it. Frank Sinatra was not serious when he wanted someone to fly him to the moon in his popular song.
So it is compromise which handicaps us, and it is our indulgence in this favourite pastime which impedes our unfettered progress in freedom land. But, we do not need to compromise ourselves to that extent and even if we did, we can still escape its legacy by the handy antidote of free will.
Sartre argued that no previous decision need to influence our present decision, but he also realised that that will land us on a non-moral basis - a thing we are so scared of. If we are to take a decision without relying on any previous decision and its effects, then we will be wavering for ever – and you know those people around you. They will never be able to take a decision and they might just as well then be determinists.
Can we change the effects and ramifications of our decisions? Yes, we can, but then we have to resort to murder if our lies do not work, so to speak – it gets more and more difficult if we let it go on for too long or if our antidote is not just. It takes the exceptional and innovative exercise of free will to do that, and that is why we cannot seem to influence the effects of our bad decisions so easily. Read my article on 'Terms and Conditions apply' to understand that more fully.
We are really too lazy and ignorant to consider every possible outcome of our decisions or actions, with the result that we follow the well-trodden path which is called conventional wisdom. If we do not do that and rush in where angels fear to tread, we are called avant-garde. For those of us who really wish to consider in depth the outcomes of our actions and decisions, the chances of really being innovative is evasive and exciting.
None of these three options are very beneficial on their own and many of us resort to some hybrid model. 
To be simple and foolish is very enticing and saves a lot of energy. We are not worried if people do not suffer us gladly - let them get irritated and frustrated. In essence we fools do not need free will either. We are happy to float where the waves toss us and we are happy to become flotsam and jetsam in this free world.
What if some of us really wish to use our free will? Firstly we must bid the determinists and realists goodbye. They just confuse us and lead us into despair, depression and self-destruction - and hope and perseverance is what we need to enter this land of experiment, development and real exciting life. Free will was meant for all sentient beings, not only for the wise and wily.

I wish to close with a profound thought.
We have free will which we use, abuse, hide and pretend not to have, whilst God also has a free will which He uses wisely and without malice. Why can't He use it as He likes. We get very upset when He does that, and He mainly uses it to support and protect us and to stand in for our omission and neglect. We do not like free will, because it lays responsiblity upon us and responsiblity is what we hate.