Acausality, Phainomenon, and The Appearance of Causality


Phainómenon and Causality

What is apparent to us by means of our physical senses – Phainómenon – is that which is grounded in causality. That is, the phenomena which we perceive, is, or rather hitherto has been, perceived almost exclusively in terms of causal Space and causal Time. To understand why this is so, let us consider how we have regarded Phainómenon.

We assign causal motion or movement to the phenomena which we perceive, as we assign other properties and qualities we have posited, such as colour, smell, texture, physical appearance, and, most importantly, being. Hence, we come to distinguish one being from another, and to associate certain beings with certain qualities or attributes which we have assigned to them based on observation of such beings or on deductions and analogies concerning what are assumed to be similar beings.

This process – and its extension by observational science – has led us to distinguish or perceive individual human beings (ourselves, and the others); distinguish a human being from a tree and from, for example, a cloud, a rock, and a cat. It has led us to assign a specific tree to a certain type of tree, so that “that tree, there” is said to be an Oak tree, to belong to a class of similar things which are said to have the same or similar qualities and properties, and which properties or qualities can include such things as texture or colour or shape. It has also led us to make a distinction between a living being (an organism) and inert matter, with a living being said to exhibit five particular properties or qualities: a living being respires; it moves (without any external force acting upon it); it grows (changes its outward form without any outside force being applied); it excretes waste; it is sensitive to, or aware of, its environment; it can reproduce itself, and it can nourish itself.

Thus, we have assigned a type of being (the property of having existence) to what we have named rock; a type of being to what we have named clouds; a type of being to ourselves; and types of being to trees and cats. This assignment derives from our perception of causality – or rather, from our projection of the abstraction of causality upon Phainómenon. For we have perceived being in terms of physical separation, distance between separate objects (that is, in terms of a causal metric); in terms of the movement of such perceived separate objects (and which movement between or separation of objects existing in causal Space, can and has served as one criteria for distinguishing types of being); and in terms of qualities or properties which we have abstracted from our physical perception of these beings, be these qualities or properties direct ones (deriving for example, from sight, smell, texture, taste) or indirect, deduced, theorized, or extrapolated ones, such as, for example, the property of gases, the property of liquids, of solids, and such things as atoms and molecules.

In general, therefore, all such things (all matter and beings) are said to exhibit the property of existing, of having being, in both (causal) Space and at a certain moment or moments of (causal) Time. That is, being and beings have hitherto been understood in terms of, defined in terms of, causality, so that being itself has been assigned a causal nature. Or, expressed another way, it is said that causal Time and a causal, physical, metrical, separation (causal Space) are the ground, or the horizon, of Being.

Knowledge and Acausal Being

While this particular causal understanding of being and of beings has proved very useful and interesting – giving rise, for example, to experimental science and certain philosophical speculations about existence – it is nevertheless quite limited.

It is limited in three ways. First, because both causal Space and causal Time are human manufactured abstractions imposed upon or projected by us upon Phainómenon; second, because such causality cannot explain the true nature of living beings; and third, because the imposition of such causal abstractions upon living beings – and especially upon ourselves – has had unfortunate consequences.

The nature of all life leads us to conceive of non-causal being. That is, that life – that living beings – possess acausality; that their being is not limited to, nor can be described or defined by, a causal Space and a causal Time. Or expressed another way, the being of all living beings exists, has being in, acausal Space and acausal Time, as well as in our phenomenal causal Space and causal Time.

How, then, can we know or come to know, this acausal being, given how causal being has been and is known to us in observable phenomena? And just how and why does the nature of all life leads us to conceive of non-causal being?

We are led to the assumption or the axiom of acausality because we possess the (currently underused and undeveloped) faculty of empathy [ συν-πάθοs ] – that is, the ability of sympathy, συμπάθεια, with other living beings. It is empathy which enables us to perceive beyond (to know beyond) the causal – and particularly and most importantly beyond the causal abstraction of the separation of beings: beyond the causal separateness, the self-contained individual being that causal apprehension presents to us, or rather has hitherto presented to us. That is, empathy reveals the knowing of ourselves as nexions – as a connexion to other life by virtue of the nature, the being, of life itself, and which life we, of course, as living beings, possess.

This empathy is in addition to our other faculties, and thus compliments and extends the Aristotelian essentials relating to Phainómenon [1]. Furthermore, it is by means of empathy – by the development of empathy – that we can begin to acquire a limited understanding and knowledge of acausality. Thus, this knowledge of acausality extends the type of knowing based upon or deriving from a causal understanding of Phainómenon.

Hence, for living beings, causality (and its separateness) is appearance, rather than an expression of the nature of the being that living beings possess.

The Being of Life

Acausal being is what animates inert physical matter, in the realm of causal phenomena, and makes it alive – that is, possessed of life, possessed of an acausal nature. Or, expressed another way, living beings exist – have their being – in both acausal Space and acausal Time, and also in causal Space and in causal Time. That is, they are nexions between the acausal continuum (the realm of acausal Space and acausal Time) and the causal continuum (the realm of causal Space and causal Time; the realm of causal phenomena).

Thus, living beings, in the causal, possess a particular quality that other beings do not possess – and this quality cannot be manufactured, by us (in the causal, and by means of causal science and technology), and then added to inert matter to make that matter alive. That is, we human beings cannot abstract this quality – this acausality – out from anything causal, and then impose it upon, or add it to, or project it upon, some causal thing to make that thing a living being.

Furthermore, the very nature of acausal being means that all life is connected, beyond the causal, and this due to the simultaneity that is implicit in acausal Time and acausal Space. For we may conceive of the acausal as this very matrix of living connexions which exists, which has being, in all life, everywhere (in the Cosmos), simultaneously, and in the causal past, the present, and the future, of our world and of the Cosmos itself. For the acausal has no finite, causal, separation of individual, distinct, beings, and no linear casual-only progression of those beings from a past, to a present, and thence to some future. Rather, there is only an undivided life – acausal being – manifest, or presenced, in certain causal beings (living beings) and which presencing of acausality in the causal lasts for a specific duration of linear causal Time (as observed from the causal) and is then returned to the acausal to become presenced again in the causal in some other causal being in what, in terms of causality, is or could be the past, the present, or the future.

Therefore, for human beings, the true nature of being lies not in what we have come to understand as our finite, separate, self-contained, individual identity (our self) but rather in our relation to other living beings, human and otherwise, and thence to the acausal itself. In addition, one important expression of – a revealing of – the true acausal nature of being is the numinous: that which places us, as individuals, into a correct, respectful, perspective with other life (past, present and future) and which manifests to us aspects of the acausal; that is, what in former terms we might have apprehended, and felt, as the divine: as the timeless Unity, the source, behind and beyond our limited causal phenomenal world, beyond our own fragile microcosmic mortal existence, and which timeless Being we cannot control, manufacture, or imitate, but which is nevertheless manifest, presenced, in us because we have the gift of life.

David Myatt


[1] These Aristotelian essentials are: (i) Reality (existence) exists independently of us and our consciousness, and thus independent of our senses; (ii) our limited understanding of this independent ‘external world’ depends for the most part upon our senses – that is, on what we can see, hear or touch; that is, on what we can observe or come to know via our senses; (iii) logical argument, or reason, is perhaps the most important means to knowledge and understanding of and about this ‘external world’; (iv) the cosmos (existence) is, of itself, a reasoned order subject to rational laws.