Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cause and effect

Okay, more today on my theory of cause and effect, as first publicly expounded by me yesterday. I know that lots of people are really intrigued - so intrigued that I have received no comments about it as everyone waits in respectful silence. So here goes.

My theory is this: cause and effect are generally interchangeable. Sure, you end up with things back-to-front. But wasn't it Søren Kierkegaard, the famous Swedish furniture designer, who said, "Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forward"? I think he may have been onto something there. The very point of my revolutionary method is to comprehend the hidden forces shaping our lives, to gaze up from the stage and see the puppet strings.

I realize that this probably sounds either confusing or implausible so I'm going to attempt to explain what I mean by providing examples.

In a blatant attempt at self-promotion which I shall pass off as me having the courage to expose my own ramblings to the searing light of Truth, I have gathered (with the assistance of the good people at Google) some examples of when I have used the word "because" in my own writing here in this very blog. So let's see what Truths are uncovered when we swap around what comes before "because" (the effect) with what comes after "because" (the cause).

I had a great day today because three good things happened.
Three good things happened because I had a great day today.
How about that? In the first sentence, I am like a fish tossed around in a stormy ocean, helpless to control my destiny. In the second sentence, I am like Poseidon himself, shaping the seas at my whim. Note that the same stuff happened either way, it's just that I'm choosing to see myself as responsible for it. What a boost to a flagging ego! To think that Barack Obama was elected President of the USA thanks to me! But that's just democracy is all about, right? And this kind of democracy, that lets a Australian elect a US President of his choice, sounds a whole lot better to me than the previous sort of democracy where we left it up to the Americans.

"JBS Haldane was apparently also able to blow tobacco smoke out of his ears because of the residual holes in his eardrums caused by him accidentally rupturing them during his experiments with a hyperbaric chamber."
This one's a little long and complex by virtue of it having two becauses in it so I'll paraphrase it:
JBS Haldane experimented with a hyperbaric chamber because he had holes in his eardrums because he could blow tobacco smoke out of them.
Now that's much more plausible. This guy, who can blow smoke out of his ears, does it so much at parties that his eardrums burst, leading him to experiment with hyperbaric chambers to accelerate the wound healing process. He probably switched the story round the other way to make himself sound cooler. Coh! Typical bloody Marxist!

I will get zero marks, because it's patently untrue.
It's patently untrue because I will get zero marks.
This is really great stuff. To replace a bland statement reflecting the worthlessness of untrue information in exams, we have an interesting insight into the nature of study and how the ultimate arbitrator of veracity in the academic context is the person who marks the exams! They have the power over truth and falsehood at their command. We students realize this and are able to extrapolate backwards to tailor our learning to pander to their executive privilege, thus cementing in place as "fact" that which was initially purely arbitrary.

I didn't put my hand up and wipe it from my head because I was too afraid to find out what it was.
I was too afraid to find out what it was because I didn't put my hand up and wipe it from my head
Now we see that consciousness follows action, rather than preceding it. I simply did not wish to wipe the stuff from my head. My ego, desperately needing to justify its existence, hastily "explains" this by claiming that I was too afraid to find out what it was. I can see your game plainly now, ego, and I won't be playing it any more.

I could go on and on, but I think these simple examples will suffice. As you can see, there's a new world of fun and profit at your disposal once you master this basic technique. Strip back the curtain of reality today and live a fully empowered and enlightened life!

Don't all rush to thank me at once. The only reason I wrote this is because it's Saturday night and I'm bored shitless. Or to put it another way, it's Saturday night and I'm bored shitless because I wrote this. Hmmm....


Anonymous said...

Most head twisty. However may i suggest scotch, chocolate and scrabble a most agreeable way to spend a saturday night in addition to head twisty puzzles of causality?

Anonymous said...

Man, you would enjoy the film 'memento.'

Anonymous said...

Would he enjoy it because he's loopy, or is he loopy because he'd enjoy it?

PTR said...

You're right - Memento is filled with a lot of stuff that I find really thought provoking because it's one my favourite films.

Oh, and I'm more of a port man than a scotch man.