The principle of cause and effect

Hermetic principles and geometry 7/8


« Every Cause has its Effect ; every Effect has its Cause ; everything happens
in accordance with the Law ; chance is only a name given to the unrecognized Law ;
there are many planes of causality, but nothing escapes the Law. »


The prin­ciple of cause and effect implies that « nothing ever hap­pens without a cause, or bet­ter yet, without a suc­ces­sion of causes ». If you remem­ber the prin­ciple of men­ta­lism, you remem­ber that the pre­ce­ding sta­te­ment is true with one « small » pre­ci­sion : « the Whole is above all Cause and Effect, except when it WANTS to become a Cause. It is then that the Principle mani­fests itself. Thus there ‑is a Will at the ori­gin of the mani­fes­ta­tion of the world of causes and effects.

The prin­ciple of cor­res­pon­dence teaches that eve­ry mani­fes­ta­tion occurs on dif­ferent planes of exis­tence. These can be like­ned to dif­ferent planes of cau­sa­li­ty, an effect always being in cor­res­pon­dence with a cause. They coexist within a vibra­to­ry conti­nuum, in which the cause only has mea­ning in rela­tion to the effect and vice ver­sa : this is the prin­ciple of pola­ri­ty. Remove the cause, you will remove the effect, and thus neu­tra­lize the prin­ciple of rhythm.

Classical phy­sics is based on a cau­sa­li­ty that unfolds in the tem­po­ral sphere. But accor­ding to the Hermetic tea­chings, the lat­ter is only an effect of the prin­ciple of vibra­tion, which itself ema­nates from the prin­ciple of men­ta­lism. Thus phy­sics did not deve­lop in connec­tion with its meta­phy­si­cal ori­gin. Many of the phy­si­cists who have thought and writ­ten about it have, from then on, lost their way bet­ween acau­sa­li­ty and chance. Others recon­cile phy­sics and cau­sa­li­ty by brin­ging infor­ma­tion into play. It is this path that I invite you to fol­low in this article.


Resonance, chance, acausality : a question of information

Resonance Vs trajectory

Determinism and the notion of trajectory

« An event is what comes, what hap­pens, what occurs, as a result or conse­quence of some pre­vious event (…) There is a conti­nui­ty bet­ween all pre­vious, consequent and sub­sequent events. »



In wri­ting these words, the ini­tiates of the Kybalion place them­selves from the view­point of the uni­verse. Their sta­te­ment is thus adap­ted to the visible, mor­tal and rela­tive world [2] that unfolds before our eyes in the tem­po­ral sphere. In this sense, it is quite close to the defi­ni­tion of deter­mi­nism given by clas­si­cal phy­sics. The lat­ter implies that any event occurs as a func­tion of the sequence of events that pre­ce­ded it. Determinism is thus clo­se­ly lin­ked to the notions of time and tra­jec­to­ry.

However, for the Hermetists, behind tem­po­ra­li­ty lies vibra­tion. This is where the cur­rents of thought diverge, vibra­tion being to Hermetists what time is to phy­si­cists : the fourth dimen­sion of the uni­verse. However, if phy­si­cists have given time a place in their equa­tions, they have not defi­ned it. And for good rea­son, its nature is as mys­te­rious as it is elu­sive [3]. Nevertheless, they use this variable to pre­dict and anti­ci­pate the evo­lu­tion of sys­tems… at least to a cer­tain extent.

Indeed, in the course of his­to­ry, they have come up against sys­tems that force them to ques­tion the notions of pre­dic­tion and even cau­sa­li­ty, whe­ther on the quan­tum or cos­mo­lo­gi­cal scale. Among these sys­tems are chao­tic systems. 


Chaotic systems and the notion of resonance

Although chao­tic sys­tems obey the law of cau­sa­li­ty and deter­mi­nism, it is impos­sible to pre­dict their evo­lu­tion over the long term. This depends on the know­ledge of the ini­tial condi­tions… which can never be known with infi­nite pre­ci­sion. This impre­ci­sion could be negli­gible, but it turns out that a tiny varia­tion in the ini­tial condi­tions has consi­de­rable conse­quences on the evo­lu­tion of these systems.


As clas­si­cal deter­mi­nism pro­ved insuf­fi­cient to explain the magni­tude of these effects, the notion of chaos was jux­ta­po­sed to it. Thus deter­mi­nis­tic chaos was born. Henri Poincaré — and later Ilya Prigogine — had howe­ver explo­red a more pro­mi­sing ave­nue : that of reso­nances. On the one hand, reso­nances ren­der obso­lete the Newtonian way of thin­king by invi­ting us to think dif­fe­rent­ly than in terms of tra­jec­to­ries. On the other hand, they are very close to Hermetic thought. Resonances are indeed lin­ked to fre­quen­cies [4] that is to say to vibra­tions.

Thus, far from cal­ling into ques­tion the prin­ciple of cau­sa­li­ty, reso­nances sup­port it on the contra­ry : sys­tems are sim­ply sub­ject to causes and effects of a vibra­to­ry nature. Because they mani­fest them­selves on dif­ferent planes, they can never­the­less escape the visible uni­verse and thus our understanding.

« One event does not create ano­ther event ; it is a link in the great order­ly chain of events emer­ging from the crea­tive ener­gy of The All, » teach the Hermetists. Thus, a but­ter­fly flap­ping its wings will pro­ba­bly not pro­duce a tor­na­do, but rather the tor­na­do is pro­du­ced by the reso­nance of a very large num­ber of atmos­phe­ric fluc­tua­tions [5].

We could inter­pret the appea­rance of the tor­na­do as a coin­ci­dence if we are not able to unders­tand the causes…


Chance, cause and effect

« « Chance » is sim­ply a word meant to express obs­cure causes, causes we can­not per­ceive, causes we can­not understand. » 

The future beha­vior of chao­tic sys­tems is consi­de­red to be enti­re­ly deter­mi­ned by the ini­tial condi­tions, without the inter­ven­tion of chance. This pre­sup­poses that chance exists. For some phy­si­cists no doubt, for the her­me­ti­cists, not really !

Drawing on Poincaré’s thin­king on the sub­ject, phy­si­cist David Ruelle recon­ciles the two points of view. According to him, if the uncer­tain­ty of chaos (the sen­si­ti­vi­ty of chao­tic sys­tems to ini­tial condi­tions) is indeed for Poincaré a source of chance, this means that « chance cor­res­ponds to incom­plete infor­ma­tion (…) ». [6].

Moreover, one only has to observe the evo­lu­tion of these sys­tems. They end up conver­ging towards fixed and per­io­dic points, cal­led attrac­tors, thus evol­ving from an appa­rent chaos towards a cer­tain regu­la­ri­ty. In the case of the Lorenz attrac­tor (illus­tra­tion oppo­site), the num­ber of revo­lu­tions on one region or ano­ther remains dif­fi­cult to pre­dict. But wha­te­ver the star­ting point — and the­re­fore wha­te­ver the ini­tial condi­tions — all tra­jec­to­ries will even­tual­ly pass through one or the other region, and with the same fre­quen­cy.

If this reminds you of the prin­ciple of pola­ri­ty, that’s a good sign.

Finally, there is not real­ly any room for chance in this dyna­mic. In fact, the more infor­ma­tion we gather as the sys­tem evolves, the less room there is for « chance »…!

Now let’s see what hap­pens in the infi­ni­te­ly small.


Acausality and information theory in quantum physics

There is a concept in quan­tum phy­sics cal­led « inde­ter­mi­nism », which derives from the idea that events have no cause. The uncer­tain­ty prin­ciple for­mu­la­ted by the phy­si­cist Werner Heisenberg in 1927 is an illus­tra­tion of this. It states that it is impos­sible to deter­mine the speed and posi­tion of an elec­tron pre­ci­se­ly and simultaneously.

Applied to quan­tum phy­sics, the prin­ciple of cau­sa­li­ty is : « the abi­li­ty to infer the posi­tion of a par­ticle when [one knows] the posi­tion of that same par­ticle an ins­tant before. » [7]. Except that in quan­tum phy­sics, trying to know the posi­tion of a par­ticle requires the set­ting up of a whole device…!

This one consists in sen­ding on the par­ticle a pho­ton [8] which, at the moment of impact, will reveal the posi­tion of the par­ticle. The lat­ter will then be pro­jec­ted to an unde­ter­mi­ned and inde­ter­mi­nable loca­tion and it will become impos­sible to recons­truct its tra­jec­to­ry. Indeed, from one mea­su­re­ment to the next, we never know where the par­ticle will be, and in fact, we can­not even be sure that it has a tra­jec­to­ry bet­ween two obser­va­tions.

If the per­tur­ba­tion of the sys­tem pre­vents us from kno­wing the posi­tion of the par­ticle at the pre­vious ins­tant, this is tan­ta­mount to saying that we lack the infor­ma­tion that would allow us to apply the prin­ciple of cau­sa­li­ty. Yet, « it is not that [we should] com­ple­te­ly reject the idea that events have causes, but only the idea that [we can] apply the prin­ciple of cau­sa­li­ty for the pur­pose of pre­dic­tion » explains the phi­lo­so­pher of science Michel Bitbol [9] and [10].

Acausality can also be dis­cus­sed on our scale, when our ordi­na­ry per­cep­tion of the world is dis­tur­bed by unu­sual events, such as synchronicities…


Causality exists on several planes

« Since there are dif­ferent planes of Cause and Effect, and the higher plane always domi­nates the lower, nothing can escape the Law entirely. »

Do synchronicities have a cause ?

synchronicite-et-causaliteRare and unique events, syn­chro­ni­ci­ties leave one both ama­zed and per­plexed. Jung named them so after dis­co­ve­ring « the exis­tence of paral­lel psy­cho­lo­gi­cal phe­no­me­na bet­ween which it is abso­lu­te­ly not pos­sible to esta­blish a cau­sal rela­tion­ship but which must be in ano­ther order of connec­tions. » [11] To the notion of cau­sa­li­ty as clas­si­cal deter­mi­nism defines it, he then sub­sti­tu­ted a prin­ciple of simi­la­ri­ty of mea­ning. But does mea­ning, even if it is legi­ti­mate, replace causality ?

Hermetic phi­lo­so­phy tells us that « nothing escapes the Law except the Whole which is its own Law ». Causality is thus well and tru­ly at work in the uni­verse. Thus, syn­chro­nis­tic events have a cause, but this cause being inac­ces­sible to our conscious­ness, we can only dis­tin­guish them through mea­ning. The absence of a cause is the­re­fore ulti­ma­te­ly equi­va­lent to an absence of infor­ma­tion that often does not stand the test of time : « An event is said to be acau­sal until its cause is dis­co­ve­red (…) The his­to­ry of science is ulti­ma­te­ly the list of cau­sal rela­tion­ships suc­ces­si­ve­ly dis­co­ve­red bet­ween appa­rent­ly unre­la­ted objects. » [12]

Causality at work brings into play reso­nance, not that which can be confu­sed with deter­mi­nism, but a reso­nance with a plane of cau­sa­li­ty that lies beyond our field of conscious­ness. Indeed, clas­si­cal cau­sa­li­ty has been esta­bli­shed from the events that have rea­ched our conscious­ness. And it can only apply to those events. I am tal­king about a cau­sa­li­ty that would involve ano­ther level of conscious­ness than the one from which we inter­act with rea­li­ty. A cau­sa­li­ty that would bring into play the uncons­cious [13].


A correspondence between the conscious and the unconscious


Including the field of the uncons­cious in the equa­tion of cau­sa­li­ty does not mean that we can no lon­ger apply the prin­ciple of cau­sa­li­ty. It sim­ply means that we can­not observe its imple­men­ta­tion in the field of appli­ca­tion that is acces­sible to us. For if only the effect is acces­sible, how could we esta­blish a rela­tion­ship bet­ween the effect and the cause ?

On the other hand, at the level of the infor­ma­tion field of the uni­verse, what would prevent a law of cau­sa­li­ty from being at work ? A law whose appli­ca­tion we would only see through the very redu­ced fil­ter of our field of consciousness ?

If this were the case, it would mean that the prin­ciple of cau­sa­li­ty would be at work all the time and on all planes, but that we could only observe its action on mani­fes­ted events. In this sce­na­rio, for the vast majo­ri­ty of us, cau­sa­li­ty would always take pre­ce­dence over mea­ning in our inter­pre­ta­tion of the world. This is because the level of conscious­ness from which we inter­pret the world is men­tal. It is linear, mecha­ni­cal, based on the past/present/future sequence and the­re­fore on cau­sa­li­ty. In other words, this sce­na­rio would be very simi­lar to the rea­li­ty we know ! Why, then, dwell on it ?

Because it broa­dens our pers­pec­tive consi­de­ra­bly. Causality, within the men­tal fra­me­work in which we apply it, excludes the field of the uncons­cious. However, the fact that, des­pite eve­ry­thing, syn­chro­ni­ci­ties occur should make us consi­der taking it into account. We must consi­der it because syn­chro­ni­ci­ties do not bring just any kind of infor­ma­tion : they reveal infor­ma­tion that reso­nates with the field of the conscious. This is why they make sense.

Let’s now look at the dyna­mics behind the prin­ciple of cause and effect.


The connected universe : the effect is already in the cause

« Nothing can reach higher than its own source ; nothing is applied that is not alrea­dy implied ; nothing is mani­fes­ted in the effect that is not alrea­dy in the cause. »

Reading this Kybalion tea­ching remin­ded me of David Bohm’s theo­ry of impli­cit order. For this phy­si­cist, there are seve­ral levels of rea­li­ty, which offer an inter­es­ting paral­lel with the dif­ferent planes of Hermetic causality.

First, there is the ulti­mate level, cal­led the super-implicit order, which remains unfa­tho­mable. It is the ori­gin of all others, dis­pen­sing a rea­li­ty that is both unique and mul­ti­di­men­sio­nal. David Bohm explains that it can only be per­cei­ved by a free mind capable of going beyond thought. It could be com­pa­red to the Hermetic Whole.

There is then an order of rea­li­ty that is more acces­sible, but more fun­da­men­tal than the space- time world we know. This order is loca­ted at the quan­tum level and implies the real exis­tence of par­ticles and fields. The phy­si­cist refor­mu­la­ted Schrödinger’s equa­tion by a wave func­tion that guides the path of par­ticles in the world thanks to a cru­cial para­me­ter, the quan­tum poten­tial, or infor­ma­tion poten­tial. Thus mat­ter would be gover­ned in a deter­mi­nis­tic and cau­sal man­ner, but at an under­lying level of reality.

From the two pre­vious levels emerges the per­cep­tible and mea­su­rable uni­verse. This is the expli­cit order, which would be a mani­fes­ta­tion, an expres­sion or a holo­gra­phic pro­jec­tion of the impli­cit rea­li­ty [14].

The impli­cit order can be com­pa­red to Jung’s col­lec­tive uncons­cious. While syn­chro­ni­ci­ties would be explai­nable by the cau­sa­li­ty indu­ced by the infor­ma­tion poten­tial and its non-local effects [15].


The dynamics of cause and effect

According to David Bohm, eve­ry­thing in the uni­verse is constant­ly moving from impli­cit to expli­cit order. This flow, cal­led holo­mo­ve­ment, explains the rela­tion­ship bet­ween mat­ter and conscious­ness… by a conti­nuous feed­back bet­ween the two.

Nassim Haramein shows that the quan­tum vacuum — conscious­ness in the making [16] or ener­gy — is the source of mat­ter [17]. This teaches us two things. First, there is no sepa­ra­tion bet­ween the ener­gy of the vacuum and mat­ter. And second­ly, there is a cau­sal rela­tion­ship bet­ween the two : without the ener­gy of the quan­tum vacuum, there is no matter.



This means that there is a plane of cau­sa­li­ty that is inac­ces­sible to us, unlike the one that mani­fests itself at the level of mat­ter itself, which we expe­rience on a dai­ly basis and on which we base our law of cau­sa­li­ty. And not only is this plane of cau­sa­li­ty inac­ces­sible to us, but it involves an imper­cep­tible delay on our scale bet­ween cause and effect. Why is this ? Because the exchange of infor­ma­tion bet­ween the vacuum and mat­ter is done at the speed of light ! This feed­back loop is made pos­sible by the frac­tal dyna­mics of the uni­verse (dyna­mics that explain the evo­lu­tion of strange attrac­tors in chaos theo­ry). As a frac­tal level takes up and com­pletes the infor­ma­tion of the pre­vious level, the pre­vious level is thus the cause of the later level.

Furthermore, the conti­nuous feed­back of infor­ma­tion bet­ween mat­ter and vac­cum, bet­ween what reaches conscious­ness and what remains in the uncons­cious field, also explains syn­chro­ni­ci­ties. Thus, an uncons­cious cause can have a conscious effect and a conscious cause can have an uncons­cious effect.


Becoming the cause of the lower planes

We feed both the causes and effects of the world and crea­tion, even though we often tend to see our­selves as an effect, or even a vic­tim. Victim of our past, of cir­cum­stances, of other people, of the pas­sing of time, of the envi­ron­ment, of mass consciousness…

Learning to balance the per­cep­tion of our own influence on the world is the condi­tion for taking back our power. For if we do not mas­ter the art of being a conscious cause, we will live our lives as vic­tims. This is the law of polarity.

Seeing our­selves as an effect and not as a cause limits our free­dom. The uni­fied phy­sics des­cri­bed by Nassim Haramein pro­poses a model where deter­mi­nism has as much place as non-determinism [18]. This is in line with the Hermetic teaching.


« (…) Neither side of the contro­ver­sy [bet­ween Free Will and Determinism] is enti­re­ly cor­rect (…) The Principle of Polarity shows that both are but half Truths, the oppo­site poles of Truth. The Doctrine teaches that a man may be both Free or Bound by any neces­si­ty ; all depends on the mea­ning of the words and the height of Truth from which the ques­tion is exa­mi­ned. The ancient wri­ters consi­de­red the sub­ject as fol­lows : « The far­ther the crea­tion is from the Center, the more deter­mi­ned it is ; the nea­rer it is to the Center the nea­rer it is to Freedom. »  »  [19]


To come clo­ser to the cen­ter is to become a Master. The Hermetists are a conscious part of the Law, ins­tead of being uncons­cious ins­tru­ments of it. They mas­ter the art of rising above the ordi­na­ry plane of Cause and Effect. Thus they obey the Causality of the higher plane while ruling on their own plane.

We are almost at the end of this series of articles. To close this series on the Hermetic prin­ciples, I invite you to dis­co­ver the eighth and last part : the prin­ciple of gen­der (on line soon).




Key points

  • Chaotic sys­tems and quan­tum phy­sics chal­lenge the notions of pre­dic­tion and even causality.

  • The intro­duc­tion of the notion of reso­nance to explain the dyna­mics of phy­si­cal sys­tems (Poincaré, Prigogine and Haramein) joins the her­me­tic vision of the prin­ciple of cause and effect.

  • The notions of chance and acau­sa­li­ty no lon­ger hold when there is an input of information.

  • Hermeticists mas­ter the art of being a conscious cause : to meditate !





Notes and references


Resonance, chance, acausality : a question of information

[1] Unless  other­wise  noted,  all  quotes  in  ita­lics  are  from  the  Kybalion.
[2] See the sec­tion on the divine para­dox in the article on the Principle of Polarity.
[3] See   also   the   article   on irre­ver­si­bi­li­ty,   memo­ry   and   entro­py.
[4] « The notion of reso­nance cha­rac­te­rizes a rela­tion­ship bet­ween fre­quen­cies (…) Resonance occurs when (…) two fre­quen­cies (…) cor­res­pond to a simple nume­ri­cal ratio (one of the fre­quen­cies is equal to an inte­ger mul­tiple of the other) (…) Frequencies, and in par­ti­cu­lar the ques­tion of their reso­nance, are at the heart of the des­crip­tion of dyna­mic sys­tems. » (Ilya Prigogine)
[5] See also the sec­tion on the but­ter­fly effect in the article on chao­tic sys­tems.
[6] RUELLE David, Chaos, unpre­dic­ta­bi­li­ty, chance, The uni­ver­si­ty of all know­ledge, confe­rence n°218, August 2000
[7] HEISENBERG Werner, quo­ted by BITBOL Michel (2013, January 18), Dissipating intrin­sic pro­per­ties and intrin­sic exis­tence, In : Flowers of the dhar­ma, Mind and Life XXVI — Mind, brain and mat­ter, pp.9–10
[8] The pho­ton is the quan­tum of ener­gy asso­cia­ted with elec­tro­ma­gne­tic waves.
[9] BITBOL Michel, Dissipating intrin­sic pro­per­ties and intrin­sic exis­tence, op.cit, p.10
[10] See also the article Indéterminisme et intri­ca­tion.


Causality exists on several planes

[11] JUNG Carl Gustav, My life : memo­ries, dreams and thoughts, Paris : Gallimard, Collection Folio, 1991, p.463
[12] REEVES Hubert (1990). Incursion into the acau­sal world, In : Synchronicity, the soul and science, H. Reeves, M.Cazenave, P. Solié et al, Editions Séveyrat,  p.11
[13] See also the article,Chance or reso­nance 2/4.
[14] To know more about it, you can consult the article The holo­gra­phic uni­verse : the under­lying uni­ty
[15] This is the phe­no­me­non of entan­gle­ment in which infor­ma­tion is trans­mit­ted ins­tan­ta­neous­ly — thus at a speed grea­ter than that of light — from one par­ticle to ano­ther. See the sec­tion on inde­ter­mi­nism  and  entan­gle­ment  in  the  article  on  this  sub­ject.
[16] See also the sec­tion on the dif­fe­rence bet­ween awa­re­ness and conscious­ness in the article on conscious expe­rience.
[17] See the uni­fied field theo­ry.


Becoming the cause of the lower planes

[18] See the sec­tion devo­ted in the article Is the uni­verse deter­mi­nis­tic ?
[19] See also the article Does free will exist ?


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