Reality is a paradox – the whole that is more than the sum of its parts, the ‘is’ that is greater than the was, the cause in the effect.
It seems rational to understand how things change by looking to what there was beforehand, but this doesn’t tell us what might happen next. And when we strip away the reality we know we see another kind of reality beneath so our interest and understanding naturally centre on its discovery. However, the fact of the difference tends to be read as a sign that the action is really taking place at a primary level – that the familiar world is somewhat ancilliary, that our discovery of the fundamentals has ‘shown us’ the true state of affairs – that change is caused.
We see change as caused instead of the cause. Thus we claim to explain the fact of change as caused by something else – by putting it down to discernible causes showing that there is nothing more to it, and by mechanising the process to confirm that the whole is no more than the sum of its parts because there is nothing else to see. Then we proceed to identify the changed facts with the unchanged facts, by seeing the manifest ‘change’ as a mere detail compared with things in their rudimentary forms. And, for good measure, the change to complexity is seen as the cause of the thing we need to explain, as affirming that the difference between cause and effect comes down to the change at the level of the cause, revealing causal complexities hitherto unseen.
Likewise we seek to explain ourselves by referencing our thoughts, intentions and beliefs to their physical causes – to understand our actions in terms of the activities of the brain, as if the consummate properties of one state of reality can be understood in terms of the vacant properties of another – as if everything is actually something else and therefore the fact of change, the one thing we cannot really explain, doesn’t stand apart from what we know of its causes in terms of something else. So we end up identifying, defining and explaining the nature of change by the activity of its cause; but everything is active and effects instantiate a different kind of activity in addition to the activity of their perceived causes. Hence change is the true cause, the active cause of causality, the efficacy of the effect. In fact everything in existence adds up to the inexplicable fact of change instantiating itself, as it was at the beginning of the universe.
Ultimately, the ‘environmental causes’ of change are merely accompanying factors of change that do not explain its instantiation in terms of things changed or changing any more than they explain those environmental changes, or indeed, the initiation of an environment. And no amount of environmental feedback can equate to or explain for us the change to cognition and explanation – though this amounts to our best attempt at understanding a potential that defies explanation, an inexplicable potential that is inherent to all things. For the potential in change cannot be explained incidentally by the properties of things that differ, or by the differing properties of things that remain stable.