Monday, October 29, 2007

David Hume and the Causal Thread

Everything that happens or exists has a cause right? A+B+C correct? Apparently not. Coincidences and strange synchronicities appear to defy this logic. They seem to represent order arising by chance. For example, When Louis XVI of France was a child, an astrologer warned him to be on his guard on the 21st of each month. Terrified by this, he never undertook any business on this day for the rest of his life. In spite of this, several very important things happened to him when the 21st came around. It was on June 21, 1791 that he was arrested fleeing the French Revolution, on September 21st, 1792 France abolished royalty forcing him to abdicate, and on January 21st 1793, he was executed. How can these seemingly random events all fall upon the same series of days? Was there a cause? The problem with coincidences is that they seem to violate most accepted notions of cause and effect.

Modern Quantum Physics is beginning to provide clues, as well as Unified Field and Chaos Theory, but this is only a start. Many of the important concepts of these black sciences were proposed many years earlier by a fellow named David Hume. He was a Scottish philosopher of the 18th century, whose Treatise of Human Nature has never been fully re-buffed by science, and much of what he espoused remains justified. Since the 5th century, it has been assumed that for everything that happens in this world, there is a cause (normally from the actions of something else). Mr. Hume rejected this. He maintained it is not certain that every object must owe its existence to a cause. Hume professed this is no more valid than believing every husband must have a wife, so therefore every man is married. Hume maintained that the traditional notions of cause and effect are incapable of proof. All we can truly claim is that what seems to be a cause always precedes what seems to be an effect, and there appears to be a connection in our mind. Beyond this, nothing more can be claimed. His view was that a connection between the two was simply nothing more than a habit of the mind. Other than our direct observation, which may or may not be what they appear, the rest is simply a mental assumption.

Hume's theories are remarkably similar the conclusions of the modern Schrodinger's Cat experiment of Quantum Mechanics. This theory basically states that observable phenomenon are simply that; Observations. Any connections beyond this are incapaple of proof and may or may not actually be what we are seeing, if they exist at all. It is all a matter of perspective, which the human species is limited in capacity.

In other words, there may be more there than what we see.

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