This is 100 things I wish my Dad Taught me. Episode 19. “Cause equals effect in time and space.”
If my dad was Einstein this would have been a realistic expectation. It’s such a complex and sophisticated statement. Maybe my dad taught me in a different set of words, like:
If you do that again I’ll get the belt to you. Ouch….
Or, I’ll find out if you are lying and you’ll get that belt again. And the belt had a huge buckle.
but what does it really mean – cause equals effect in time and space?
Let’s take the marketing department of a major business. Young enthusiastic marketing graduates being paid a fortune to come up with corny ideas to promote the brand and new products. They run around bouncing ideas off each other as if they were in some sort of Disney world built for the elite. After a year, the company’s sales are up, but the profit is way down. The CEO suddenly realises they’ve bought market share by surrendering deals and getting all sorts of fringe buyers into their books. Now what?
Mass retrenchments start. Not from the marketing department but from the customer services and the research team and the engineering department because in the short term, they make the biggest bottom line impact and can be disposed of without impacting the marketing of the business. Profits rise, but there’s still huge churn. What to do next? The infrastructure of the business has been routed, the marketing continues to buy business, sales increase, the management of the internal product delivery is a shambles and people are stressed to the limit. Profits decline further because the sales volume is not real sales.
The CEO gets fired. The Marketing Department award each other trophies for their excellence. And soon, a new CEO needs to get control. Rebuild the business, it isn’t going to be pretty. Most of the Marketing team move to other business’ – get a promotion and a pay rise. A new marketing team is appointed and they are given the hard task of Un-Marketing the stigma of the past and try to rebuild a brand value. They are very stressed and go home exhausted each day and some of their marriages fail and their kids become delinquent and leave school early to work in mines and sometimes drop out and take drugs and end up in jail. While in jail they learn how to be a criminal and when they get out they marry and have kids and those kids play football and win the World Cup.
Cause equals effect in space and time.
I was born with a lazy eye. That meant that when I looked at anything for more than a few seconds, one eye would start to look in a different direction and the eyeball would drift off the left. This didn’t matter because my brain worked out that only one of my eyes was reliable. So it only trusted the sight of my right eye. That was fine until, when, as a child playing cricket, the ball would be hit at me, and because I was watching it to catch it, one eye would go on holiday, and then, with only one eye on the ball, there was no way for my brain to work out the speed of the ball. More often than not, I’d miss the catch. As I grew up and the ball got hit harder and faster, the problem grew to life threatening as I would more often than not be hit in the face by the ball while trying to catch it. So, ball sport, including my loved cricket, tennis and baseball were ruled out. Cause equals effect in space and time.
The lazy eye is hilarious as a professional speaker. I would look at an audience and ask questions. Then, I’d choose someone to speak by looking at them. Inevidibly, two people would start to speak, both of whom thought I was looking at them. The lazy eye going to someone and the good eye to someone else. Ahh what a gift.
When we are applying nature’s laws, this ability to link cause and effect is critical. For example: When we are about to do something that we think has no downside, we are looking at the event in a local view. Say, you are buying a new car. It’s a Tesla and you’re committed. It’s electric. No petrol. So awesome. In this space, the local environment it’s brilliant. No downside. But there’s nothing on earth that has no downside. Nothing. But looking at the car, electric, you don’t experience the downside. But that’s not possible. Where’s the downside?
Step back from the car. Not two meters, 100 kilometres. Step back three, four five, or 1000 kilometres and the further you step back the smaller the world gets. And then your car is seen not locally, with no downside, but non locally, and the electricity to drive the car is coming from a coal fired power station and the rubber for the tyres from some deforested environment in Malaysia and the computer chips are made from lithium mined in sacred land and suddenly the party is over. It’s a good car, it’s locally great, non locally it’s balanced. Now you are operating with love and wisdom in your car purchase and proceed.
Then you drive your Tesla and you’re always worried about running out of electricity especially when there’s pissing rain and really cold days where it’s a queue at the charging station. Shit. And now you start to find local downside. After a few months you have a car, you have balanced information and you can, honestly say, I love this car. You love it because the lopsided emotion is gone. That’s what love is. Balanced emotions.
So cause equals effect in space (meaning both local and non local). And cause equals effect in time, meaning there’s benefit and drawback both in the instantaneous moment and also, in time. If your dog does a poo and you don’t clean it up, there is cause and effect. It’s immediate, from an aesthetic and stench perspective, and in time and space, not in this moment, someone like me is going to step in it, walk it into the cafe, sit down and make everyone puke. So the effect was both in the moment and reflected over time. Both are true.
And that’s why food is one of the great teachers. We eat sugar, it has cause and effect positive for our taste buds, it has cause and effect immediately on our blood sugar, body fat and mind state. Over the next weeks we notice a muffin top appearing, love handles, and can’t work out why, when we eat so well that we are putting on weight. But if calories in adds up to more than calories out, then cause and effect are linked for us. As Forest Gump puts it “stupid is as stupid does”
That’s a great quote and means that the actions of someone often are an indicator of their intelligence or lack thereof. It says that even if a highly intelligent person does something stupid they are still stupid.
And for our story here today, when we disconnect cause and effect, we all fit the Forest Gump definition of stupid.
That’s it for today
Oh, and by the way, blame and victim are the only ways we can avoid the honesty of cause and effect in space and time.