Thursday, August 13, 2009

Necessary But Insufficient Causality

Dear Jeff (et al).

I keep addressing my observations to you
because as far as I can tell you & I are the
only ones ‘round here appreciative of
Emergent Phenomena & Values going on
(sometimes I havedoubts about you) & the
advantage of sustainable converse & how it
takes 2 or not 3 or more players to send up
a balloon.


Necessary but Insufficient Causality

Here's another idea (besides yesterday’s “satanic”
epistemological considerations) which —if pushed
and unpacked and put into play—would complicate
(to the point of at least momentary demoralization)
our explanations, descriptions, interpretations,
reasons-why because- &-affect linear CAUSALITY
and its remarkable system-validating practical

And perhaps force a different kind (level) of thinking.

Sample:(one of my idiosyncratic origin stories)

I tell my classes at some appropriate point: “None of
you would be here today if it hadn’t a been for a
bullet fired in the 19th c—and I can drive up to
Connecticut, get that actual bullet and pass it around
& you can feel its slight leaden heft & consider the
thief in the night who was a necessary but insufficient
cause for its firing and factor it in – bullet and burglar--
as a necessary but insufficient cause of your being here
right now today. Need we argue?

We don’t easily appreciate that our explanations
& interpretations are always arbitrary, circumscribing
some “origin” & “cause” by necessarily ignoring the
surrounding contextual and meta-contextual webs of
necessary (but insufficient) contributions to whatever
it is we are explaining: for want of a nail, a kingdom is lost,
and I wouldn’t be trying to walk around in your skullhaus
right now if it hadn’t a been for my mother boxing up
clothing for Old Farm School back in the 40’s.

Necessary but insufficient because & affect. Our
conventional CAUSES (origins) are shaped and
somewhat broadly “determined” by our General
Ends which is why we are sometimes urged to be
careful what we prey for.

It’s unlikely the explanation for the safe return of
Apollo 13 will include the traffic pattern Ken Mattingly
encountered driving his convertible (say) on his way
over to Houston Command Center to use the CSM
simulator to work up a plan to revive Odyssey using
the ship's limited power supply.

Seemingly irrelevant—but nevertheless NECESSARY.
and theoretically: any explanation of Apollo’s safe
return would factor in the carburetion of Mattingly’s

Necessary but insufficient causality (and unnecessary
to our sense of What Counts and How IT Happened)
is all that don’t make no never mind to our agenda,
conscious purpose, good intentions and sense of
sustainability. ..

Cause & Effect
Because & Affect

Constellational vs Caesarean (short-cut: purposive) .

Somewhere in the constellation: the simultaneity
of events contributing to my driving to Connecticut
without mishap—amazing when one considers all the
becausality it takes to get me there.

Caesarean: the short-cut (less the full labor) account
of my map-reading, gas-pumping arrow of purpose
carrying me up the Shenandoah Valley, practicing
harmonica as I roll—on the road again.

It’s like the same as with unconscious process
and conscious processing, with stream of
conscious-ness and my habit of
beginnings, middles, and

"Consciousness" rationalizes and reduces the rich
actuality of unconscious and irrational process
going on, and puts it into it's conscious work-
program and service-project agenda.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
A necessary evil.

"We are clapped into jail by our Consciousness," said
Emerson. And we to love it most of the time.
Our homeland security.

Ask me to explain myself: I can only
give the short-cut version:

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