The concepts of “cause” and “causation” are human created concepts, within Human Reality (HR). In Material Reality (MR) every “event” has antecedent “events”, with “everything linked to everything”. In HR, persons select out prior events, as if they were objective “causes”, on which to assign credit or blame. But, these “events” also have antecedent conditions. Concepts of “causation” have relevance in HR, but their frequent mis-use is a source of much of hymn dysfunction.
This will be a difficult epistemic shift to accomplish. We have yet to determine how deep “causation” is wired-into our brains and how much it can be modified. It will take generations to fully shift the whole of humankind, but the early participants in Up2Met should adapt a new perspective on “causation” for their societal thinking and exploration.
FIND SCI ARTICLE ON THIS
Much has been written in philosophy about causation and causality, most of which I am ignorant. The distinction between causation and correlation is important. I don’t know whether others have explored what I hope to share in this essay. I hope to provide a new perspective that may shed light on our challenges facing the looming Crisis-of-Crises.
Recently I read an excellent scientific article the made the same points I make here about causation; but didn’t make the HR/MR distinction. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to relocate that article
POTENTIALLY USEFUL BACKGROUND
Our use of “causation”, on analysis, is more about what we eliminate as significantly antecedent to an event, than attributing unique agency to a specific person, population, or even concept believed. If our PROBLEM is to discover the “cause” of an event, phenomenon, of specific data-set, arriving at a SOLUTION involves eliminating all antecedent factors other than the one identified as the “cause”.
But first, I will attempt to specify how the term REALITY will be used here.
I won’t attempt to be exhaustive or comprehensive, or reference the vast literature on this concept. Indeed, this is an adventure in seeking a concept (labeled) to fit a need. I can’t point to something and claim “that is reality”. Nor can reality be experienced. Yet, we grok a reality as context for each experience (conscious experiential). In philosophy we seek a context that would be universal (but nit exhaustive) for all experiences for all humans (and for all sentient beings).
“Reality” is a word we use when we think and share our experiences in language. Some specialists characterize the “meaning” of a word through an analysis of its usage, in text or speech – which varies over population, culture, and time. This implies that “meaning” is embedded in the patterns of human language expression (and art), to be found in the collected production of humans.
REALITY exists as a collective pattern in the recorded language (and art) of humankind. These material records are the empirical basis for all our ideas. Our momentary experientials of mother or clouds, a stupid statement or an exciting insight gain meaning only in the context of language.
Deaf children can become adults without any learning of existing languages. I speculate that language emergence is intrinsic in human biology, and that these deaf persons would have emerged their own personal “neural language” for organizing their experiences.
REALITY IS RELATIVE. Which is not to say that some patterns aren’t shared or that some patterns may become universal for all humans. What is important is that no human should claim that their personal reality is THE OBJECTIVE, REALLY REAL TRUTH.
For practical use in this discourse, I will “define” some new terms, related to REPORTS as the BASIS of HUMAN REALITY (HR):
I label each perceivable pattern a “sem” (for semiotic structure) and an organized system of sems a “semfield”. Semfields can be organized both networked and nested. Exemplar sems would be text paragraphs; photographs, drawings, or diagrams; and a short audio/video scenes, including music.
Sems and semfields evolved/emerged in stages through the millennia of humankind “coming to be”. Spoken sounds and gestures gave way to material patterns, at first as scripts for speech. Later, visual language was liberated from speech and spread through manuscripts, printing and now digital formats (coupling back via speech-2-text & text2speech apps).
I expect a new digital visual language to emerge that is independent of speech (it can’t be “read”). We will communicate via verbal language about the new visual language, as builders might talk about the house they are constructing. Collectively constructed and modified semfields will become the foundations of an emergent humanity. View this as an extension of constitutions, legal and scientific documents, and sacred books.
The essence of sems is the information in the patterns “imprinted” on a material surface. All humans, with training, are capable of identifying distinct sets of identical sems (via digital reproduction); although they may differ greatly on their “interpretation” or “meaning” rising from perception.
There is a type of “objectivity” or “universality” to sems, but not of the type for material reality. Two sems may be “the same”, even if the patterns are of different scale. Conventions can classify a set of different patterns as a singular “symbol”, such as various forms of alphabet letters.
Sems and semfields are unique to humans (on Earth) and other “conceptual” systems capable of generating them. Sems uniquely liberate information from all prior bonding to matter/energy systems – in material reality. This is a very powerful new insight, that returns humankind to a special significance “in the scheme of things”, that had been diminished by Galileo, Newton, and Darwin. But, this should not be interpreted as humankind being superior to other beings.
Sems are (hypothesized) as being superimposed on material substrates (hypothesized, given that material reality is never directly experienced).
Here I propose a distinction between “human-reality” (HR) and “material-reality” (MR).
1) MR: a hypothesized/partly-confirmed objective/external/material/physical reality (never directly experienced). Conceptualizing systems where human persons are not components is one way of representing MR (biological systems of human organisms are included in MR).
2) HR: the reality of collective human experience, based on the archives of reproducible reports, authored by humans (or human constructed machines).
This, MR/HR, distinction and its implications are still emergent (in process).
Whether some higher animals use sems remains open. How have sems emerged with language?
Sculptures, buildings, landscapes, road and electrical networks are also sems, but not truly replicable (although their design plans are replicable).
What about patterns in high, abstract, conceptual thought that are never fully “experienced”, “shared”, or “replicated”.
I resist using sub-conscious or non-conscious, as these are higher order processes, beyond “consciousness” and it is not proper to refer to them as sub-classes of consciousness. This would be like labeling a tree trunk as a non-leaf and a branch as a sub-leaf.
In MR every human identified “cause” has antecedent “causes”, leading back in regression to the whole. There are no objective “causes” in MR.
An atomic bomb exploding “causes” massive destruction, but the bomb was designed, manufactured, transported, and dropped. Human activity was involved. Earlier human activity led to the sci/tech that resulted in the bomb and airplane and the historical events leading to the decisions to make and drop the bomb. From a purely MR description of sequences of events, the explosion was distinct in its energy concentration – but there was a continuity of particle/field process. The explosion had antecedent “causes”.
Although HR will be shown quite distinct from MR, the same analysis applies to the assignment of “causes” for reported events in human history.