Editorial Note: This is Myatt’s recent (September 2014) revision of his original 2011 article.
Towards Understanding The Acausal
In essence, what I have termed the acausal is not a generalization – a concept – deriving from a collocation of assumed, ideated, or observed Phainómenon, but instead is just a useful term used to distinguish a particular perceiveration from other perceiverations. This particular perceiveration is the wordless knowing which empathy can reveal and which a personal πάθει μάθος often inclines us toward: a revealing of the φύσις (physis) of some beings, of the non-causal connexions which exist between living beings, and of how we humans – as beings possessed of consciousness – are not only an affective connexion to other living beings but also can consciously decide to cease to harm other living beings.
For convenience, this revealing has been termed acausal-knowing to distinguish it from the causal-knowing that results from observing Phainómenon.
Hitherto, the φύσις of beings and Being has most usually been apprehended, and understood, in one of three ways or by varied combinations of those three ways. The first such perceiveration is that deriving from our known physical senses – by Phainómenon – and by what has been posited on the basis of Phainómenon, which has often meant the manufacture, by we human beings, of categories and abstract forms which beings (including living beings) are assigned to on the basis of some feature that has been outwardly observed or which has been assumed to be possessed by some beings or collocation of beings.
The second such perceiveration derives from positing a ‘primal cause’ – often denoted by God, or a god or the gods, but sometimes denoted by some mechanism, or some apparently inscrutable means, such as ‘karma’ or ‘fate’ – and then understanding beings (especially living beings) in terms of that cause: for example as subject to, and/or as determined or influenced by or dependant on, that primal cause.
The third such perceiveration derives from positing a human faculty of reason and certain rules of reasoning whereby it is possible to dispassionately examine collocations of words and symbols which relate, or which are said to relate, to what is correct (valid, true) or incorrect (invalid, false) and which collocations are considered to be – or which are regarded by their proponents as representative of – either knowledge or as a type of, a guide to, knowing.
All three of these perceiverations, in essence, involve denotatum, with our being, for example, understood in relation to some-thing we or others have posited and then named and, importantly, consider or believe applies or can apply (i) to those who, by virtue of the assumption of ipseity, are not-us, and (ii) beyond the finite, the living, personal moment of the perceiveration.
Thus, in the case of Phainómenon we have, in assessing and trying to understand our own φύσις as a human being, assumed ipseity – a separation from others – as well as having assigned ourselves (or been assigned by others) to some supra-personal category on the basis of such things as place of birth, skin colour, occupation (or lack of one), familial origin or status (or wealth or religion), some-thing termed ‘intelligence’, physical ability (or the lack thereof), our natural attraction to those of a different, or the same, gender; and so on.
In the case of a primal cause, we have again assumed ipseity because implicit in such a primal cause is a causal progression of individuals: from what-we-are (or are said to have been created for or born as) to what-we-can-be if we follow the correct way or praxis as described or revealed, for example, by a religious prophet, teacher, group or by some authority. Thus, in Buddhism there is the supra-personal Noble Eightfold Way which it is said can lead to the cessation of dukkha and thus to nibbana; while in Christianity there are the supra-personal teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the gospels, a following of which it is said can lead the individual to eternal life in samayim/οὐρανός/caelum – the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the case of the perceiveration termed reason, there is again denotatum because of the assumptions – codified in certain supra-personal rules – whereby what is denoted by ‘true’ and what is denoted by ‘false’ may be ascertained and which ‘truth’ or falsity is also by that very denotatum supra-personal and ‘valid/invalid’ beyond the finite, the living, personal moment.
However, and in contrast to those three perceiverations, acausal-knowing is a direct and personal – an individual – revealing of beings and Being which does not depend on denoting or naming or causality or the assumption of a primal cause, and which knowing, being individual in φύσις and concerned with living beings, cannot be abstracted out from the living personal moment of the perceiveration. Thus, such a perceiveration – in respect of other human beings – does not and cannot involve and does not and cannot lead to any of the following: (i) any personal claim regarding possessing ‘the truth’ about some-thing; (ii) no ‘correct way or praxis’ or dogma or ideology which are assumed or believed to be applicable to anyone else; (iii) no understanding of or assumption of knowledge about others on the basis of assigning those others to some category or to some abstract form. Instead, there is only an intuition of the moment concerning one’s own φύσις and thus a wordless individual revealing of – a numinous knowing concerning – one’s own being and of one’s own relation to Being and to other living beings.
This particular revealing of beings and Being therefore means that our faculty of empathy – or more correctly, a developed faculty of human empathy – should perhaps be added to the four Aristotelian essentials , and which now five essentials can enable us to come to know both the reality external to ourselves and the reality of ourselves (our φύσις), as individuals. That is, it is the combination of causal-knowing and acausal-knowing that can incline us toward a knowing of Reality and thus which manifests thoughtful-reasoning, a reasoned or balanced judgement (σωφρονεῖν).
The nature of living-beings that empathy reveals is of Being coming-into-being through beings and manifest in the φύσις of those beings, and of the acausal connexions between all living-beings, sentient and otherwise, and this leads us to the understanding that our own self-identity, our separateness, and even our assumed uniqueness in causal Time and causal Space, are causal presumptions. That is, a product of Phainómenon, of only causal-knowing. Since such causal-knowing is incomplete, lacking as it does acausal-knowing, it would not seem to be a sound foundation to use in the matter of making ethical judgements, for such judgements should take into consideration what empathy reveals about Being and beings .
It is possible, and certainly interesting although not necessary and possibly fallacious, to make some postulations regarding the nature of the acausal; that is, regarding the nature and extent and cause of the ‘acausal connexions’ between living beings that acausal-knowing reveals.
Such speculations are possibly fallacious because – while they may seem reasonable assumptions about the acausal – they (i) almost certainly impose assumed causal forms upon that-which, being acausal, might be and most probably is formless, and (ii) will of necessity involve denotatum and representation by some form of mathematics (either currently existing or yet to be developed).
Among the speculations that I have personally made in the past are the following. Of conceptualizing ‘the acausal’ as a continuum of acausal Space and acausal Time, in contrast to the causal geometrical Space and linear causal Time of the causal and four-dimensional continuum of Phainómenon familiar to us through sciences such as physics, chemistry, and astronomy. Such a speculation lead me to further postulate that this ‘acausal continuum’ could simply be ‘extra dimensions’ beyond four-dimensional causal space-time (a causal space-time currently conceptualized by mathematical models such as the one involving a Riemannian metric) with the cosmos therefore being an n-dimensional space-time of both causal and acausal dimensions where n (the number of dimensions) is greater than four but less than or equal to infinity, with the extra ‘acausal’ dimensions then offering an explanation for the difference in φύσις between living beings and ordinary matter. Which lead to another postulate regarding the existence of ‘acausal energy’ different from the causal energy known from sciences such as physics, and which ‘acausal energy’ is assumed to be what animates physical matter, imparting to that matter what we observe as life , with such animation not the result of some cause-and-effect (or even some assumed acausal effect) but rather the state of such matter being alive – a living-being (a biological organism) as distinct from a non-living being (ordinary physical matter). Living beings are therefore a nexus – nexions – between the acausal aspect (or dimensions) and the causal aspect (or four causal dimensions) of n-dimensional space-time. A further speculation is that of assuming that such acausal energy is a possibly observable attribute of a living-being having the hitherto causally-observed attributes of life. This then leads to the postulation of such acausal energy having certain attributes , and of some or all of these attributes possibly being observable by the development of observational/experimental techniques perhaps partly based on acausal energy, and of such acausal energy therefore being manifest or capable of being manifest, as energy sans beings, in the causal continuum, with such acausal energy forming the basis for an ‘acausal technology’ as distinct from our current causal technology of electronics, and machines, powered by electrical energy and/or involving the flow of things such as electrons.
Regarding these speculations about ‘acausal energy’, there is the analogy of the discovery of electricity. Static electricity was known for many centuries, but not really understood until the concept of positive and negative charges was postulated. Later, instruments such as the gold-leaf electroscope were invented for detecting and measuring such charges, followed by the invention of other instruments, such as frictional machines and the Leyden jar, to produce and accumulate, or store, electric charges, and to produce small ‘galvanic currents’ or electricity. Then the experimental scientist Faraday showed that ‘galvanic currents’, magnetism and static charges were all related, and developed what we now call an electro-magnetic generator to produce electricity. Thus, from such simple experimental beginnings, our world and our lives have been transformed by machines and equipment using electricity, and by the electronics developed from electricity. One might therefore speculate that the experimental discovery of the ‘acausal energy’ that animates living beings making them ‘alive’ and different from ordinary matter, might similarly transform our lives.
Such speculations aside, all that the acausal-knowing which empathy currently reveals to us is: (i) of a personal and wordless knowing of other living-beings and of ourselves in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and (ii) of how the acausal itself is not some ‘essence’ behind or beyond the causal and beyond causal forms, since such an ‘essence’ is but itself a postulated ideation.
Or, expressed somewhat differently, our acausal-knowing is simply a revealing of the matrix of nexions which are living-beings, and thus of The Cosmic Perspective: of an acceptance of ourselves as but one fragile fallible microcosmic nexion only temporarily presenced on one planet orbiting one star in one Galaxy in a Cosmos of billions of Galaxies. This is the essence of wu-wei – a knowing, a feeling, of Being; a knowing, a feeling, of the numinous. It is also the same kind of wordless understanding hinted in that ancient wisdom termed Tao, and yet which even then, as now, could not and cannot be described by or contained within that one, or any, particular term, such as ‘the acausal’ or ‘gnosis’.
 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.
 I briefly touched on the question of empathy in relation to ethics in my 2013 essay Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God – Some Personal Musings.
 Currently, we observe or assume life by the following seven attributes: a living organism respires; it moves; it grows or changes; it excretes waste; it is sensitive to, or aware of, its environment; it can reproduce itself, and it can nourish itself.
 For convenience, the acausal energy that may (if it exists) be detected in the causal could be considered to be manifest, to us, in our causal phenomenal universe, by means of what we may call acausal charge (analogous to electrical charge), such that the acausal energy that manifests itself in the causal – within, for example, living causal beings – possessess the property of propagating, or emitting, by its flux (change), such ‘acausal charge’. Hence, a living causal being could be conceptualized as physical, causal, matter plus ‘acausal charge’.
Some of the attributes of acausal energy, expressed in terms of acausal mass (analogous to causal mass/energy) might be the following:
(1) An acausal object, or mass, can change without any external force acting upon it – that is, the change is implicit in that acausal matter, by virtue of its inherent acausal charge.
(2) The rate of change of an acausal object, or mass, is proportional to its acausal charge.
(3) The change of an acausal object can continue until all its acausal charge has been dissipated.
(4) Acausal charge is always conserved.
(5) An acausal object, or mass, is acted upon by all other acausal matter in the cosmos.
(6) Each acausal object in the cosmos attracts or repels every other acausal object in the physical cosmos with a magnitude which is proportional to the product of the acausal charges of those objects, and inversely proportional to the distance between them as measured in causal space.