Sunday, February 21, 2016

Causation: the caustic mix


The question we wail over when a loved one departs from us suddenly.


The question we raise in a meeting when faced with a professional crisis.


The question we punch into the dry wall when our partners leave us.

Why indeed?

We have all kinds of theories, and the stories or explanations we tell ourselves balms the raw caustic wound. It helps us cope with loss as well as success. Such an explanation, while valid, may not be true. The devil's charm lies in an otherwise pure statement that sits in an entirely different context. Because it is a statement of validation, it inherently also affirms and validates our ego. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In reality, a person's success or failure, can be completely random. It might be due to ability, or chance. It might be due to fortuitous family fortunes, or ancestral path dependencies. We find reasons when there is none, and we own both of those. We also equate the Whys in life with the Hows. How often do you hear that the question of "how do you do it" followed up with an answer that starts with "because..." instead of "the process was..."

Whys are potent caustic chemicals that feed and destroy. Whys are mechanisms we use to justify our actions. Whys are the source of our strength as well as weakness. Do we therefore stop asking questions of causation?

I'm not entirely sure if I am personally capable, after all Buddhism preaches that everything is nothing, and in nothingness, everything. In Judeo-Christanity, God is the why and center of everything. It doesn't mean that the root of causation lies in the heart of faiths (or Faiths). The caustic solution of causation is not in seeking an answer (which we may not find), but when the answer to our questions stop at "I".

I have realised that when faced with Whys, the sensation of looking at the reasons causing the circumstances I'm in, is the same as looking at a night of a starry-lit sky. It is so large, so vast and so infinitely scaled, that our minds can only process the light that took a million light years to reach us. Reasons, or causation, is exactly the same. Factors in our life, crisscross in intersecting networks that one small quiver in the distant web, sends vibrations across all other nodes of our lives. It's on the same cosmic scale of complexity that any train of thought that reasons the Why of where we are and where we're from boils down to just one permutation of causation when in actuality, life (re)aligns itself continuously all the time.

There is a cucoon of stasis, of a dynamic equilibrium that we have from a day-to-day that makes our lives seem ceaselessly repetitive. Yet when we look at back at our lives, we see so much changes and wonder where all the time has gone. We sit on a scale of being human while factors like time run in an entirely different dimension.

The reasons and search for answers must never stop, and more importantly, never stop at your own star. We are constellations and our light reaches others in ways we may not understand. We touch others way ahead or behind us - our legacy sits within a galaxy where forces influence this dance we have.

Everything happens not for a reason, but for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes, we just have to trust, accept and let it go.