The famous “causality” versus choice paradox scene from the 2003 film Matrix Reloaded.
In science, causality (TR:126) is the premise—sometimes called "cause and effect"—that events in nature are caused or that events are actuated via preceding discernible mechanism.

First cause
The premise of first cause and final cause generally dates to the theories of Aristotle. The following is a noted "first cause" quote:

First causes are not known to us, but they are subjected to simple and constant laws that can be studied by observation and whose study is the goal of natural philosophyHeat penetrates, as does gravity, all the substances of the universe; its rays occupy all regions of space. The aim of our work is to expose the mathematical laws that this element follows … The differential equations for the propagation of heat express the most general conditions and reduce physical questions to problems in pure analysis that is properly the object of the theory.”
James Maxwell (c.1870), Publication [1]


Final cause
In 1605, English philosopher Francis Bacon, in his Advancement of Learning, demolished the "final cause" theory of Aristotle, siding with Democritus in his place. [8]

Choice | Causality
The premise of the existence of "causality" is argued to negate the premise of the existence "choice", thus creating a perceptual paradox of sorts. While the latter aspect was vicariously dealt with, in a Platonic dialog style, by Goethe in his 1809 novella Elective Affinities, via the Narrator, Captain, or Edward, among others, the former was invariably dealt with, in supposed Hegelian dialectic style (Ѻ), in the 2003 film Matrix Reloaded, by American philosophical film writers Lana Wachowski (1965-) and Andrew Wachowski (1967-), via the Merovingian character:

Merovingian: It is the way of all things. You see, there is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect.

Morpheus: Everything begins with choice.

Merovingian: No. Wrong. Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those without. Look there, at that woman. My god, just look at her. Affecting everyone around her, so obvious, so bourgeois, so boring. But wait… Watch – you see, I have sent her dessert, a very special dessert. I wrote it myself. It starts so simply, each line of the program creating a new effect, just like poetry. First, a rush… heat… her heart flutters. You can see it, Neo, yes? She does not understand why – is it the wine? No. What is it then, what is the reason? And soon it does not matter, soon the why and the reason are gone, and all that matters is the feeling itself. This is the nature of the universe. We struggle against it, we fight to deny it, but it is of course pretense, it is a lie. Beneath our poised appearance, the truth is we are completely out of control. Causality. There is no escape from it, we are forever slaves to it. Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the ‘why’. ‘Why’ is what separates us from them, you from me. ‘Why’ is the only real source of power, without it you are powerless.


Cause and effect
Causality is often found discussed in terms of “cause and effect”. This too can often become intertwined with mentions of “action and reaction”, e.g. Matrix Reloaded (2003), otherwise known as Newton’s third law of motion (see: laws of motion). The following his Henry Adams famous 1900 comment about how he penned out a dozen volumes on American history for no other reason than to prove cause and effect:

Historians undertake to arrange sequences,—called stories, or histories,—assuming in silence a relation of cause and effect. These assumptions, hidden in the depths of dusty libraries, have been astounding, but commonly unconscious and childlike; so much so, that if any captious critic were to drag them to light, historians would probably reply, with one voice, that they had never supposed themselves required to know what they were talking about. Adams, for one, had toiled in vain to find out what he meant. He had even published a dozen volumes of American history for no other purpose than to satisfy himself whether, by severest process of stating, with the least possible comment, such facts as seemed sure, in such order as seemed rigorously consequent, he could fix for a familiar moment a necessary sequence of human movement. The result had satisfied him as little as at Harvard College.

Where he saw sequence, other men saw something quite different, and no one saw the same unit of measure. He cared little about his experiments and less about his statesmen, who seemed to him quite as ignorant as himself and, as a rule, no more honest; but he insisted on a relation of sequence, and if he could not reach it by one method, he would try as many methods as science knew. Satisfied that the sequence of men led to nothing and that the sequence of their society could lead no further, while the mere sequence of time was artificial, and the sequence of thought was chaos, he turned at last to the sequence of force; and thus it happened that, after ten years’ pursuit, he found himself lying in the Gallery of Machines at the Great Exposition of 1900, his historical neck broken by the sudden irruption of forces totally new.”
Henry Adams (1900), The Education of Henry Adams 25: The Dynamo and the Virgin)

The following is Cynthia Russett’s 1966 attempted summary of the implicative work of the equilibrium logic of Willard Gibbs in respect to cause and effect in equilibriums in society, at least as she saw things according to her reading of Lawrence Henderson and his interpretation of Gibbs and Vilfredo Pareto: [7]

“In treating society as a system, Pareto was doing for sociology what Gibbs had done for physical chemistry, what Bernard had adumbrated for physiology. Pareto’s social system was in important respects analogous to Gibbs’ physicochemical system. As Gibbs considered temperature, pressure, and concentration, so Pareto considered the manifestations of sentiments through words and deeds, verbal elaborations, and economic interests.

Now within the confines of a physicochemical system it is quite clear that all the factors involved are in a condition of mutual dependence which defies explanation by means of a cause-and-effect relationship. Change in one variable means change in all others. For example, if a stopper is thrust deeper into a thermos bottle containing ice, soda water, and whiskey—thus increasing the pressure—the concentration in both liquid and gas phases will change, the temperature will change, and the concentration of the solid phase will change. Similarly, the social system does not operate in terms of cause and effect; social conditions, like physicochemical conditions, are the result of simultaneous variations in mutually dependent variables.”

Most of the above argument, to note, is Henderson, as found in his 1935 chapter “The Physico-Chemical System”, the gist of which is his conclusion that the older cause and effect analysis must be replaced, particularly when system analysis is used, by “some method involving the simultaneous variations of mutually dependent variables” and he cites this sentence with his 1932 An Approximate Definition of Fact. [7] The direct statement “the social system does not operate in terms of cause and effect”, seems to be Russett’s accentuated addition to Henderson’s more innocuous presentation.

Goethe | Elective Affinities
German polyintellect Goethe, vicariously, seems to have situated causality in terms of forces largely external (see: external force) to the participants involved in human reactions, such as discussed in his 1796 Third Lecture on Anatomy (see: Goethe timeline). In his finished product on these matters, namely his 1809 Elective Affinities, the term "cause" comes into discussion in a number of places:

“While he was in the ministry, no married couple were allowed to separate; and the district courts were untroubled with either cause or process. A knowledge of the law, he was well aware, was necessary to him. He gave himself with all his might to the study of it, and very soon felt himself a match for the best trained advocate.”
— Narrator (P1:C2), background of Mittler

“I think,” interrupted Edward, “we can make the thing more clear to her, and to ourselves, with examples; conceive water, or oil, or quicksilver; among these you will see a certain oneness, a certain connection of their parts; and this oneness is never lost, except through force or some other determining cause. Let the cause cease to operate, and at once the parts unite again.”
Edward (P1:C4), describing elective affinities

“You are not so wrong in that,” returned the Captain; “I have experienced too much trouble myself in life in matters of that kind. How difficult it is to prevail on a man to venture boldly on making a sacrifice for an after-advantage! How hard to get him to desire an end, and not hesitate at the means! So many people confuse means with ends; they keep hanging over the first, without having the other before their eyes. Every evil is to be cured at the place where it comes to the surface, and they will not trouble themselves to look for the cause which produces it, or the remote effect which results from it. This is why it is so difficult to get advice listened to, especially among the many: they can see clearly enough from day to day, but their scope seldom reaches beyond the morrow; and if it comes to a point where with some general arrangement one person will gain while another will lose, there is no prevailing on them to strike a balance. Works of public advantage can only be carried through by an uncontrolled absolute authority.”
Captain (P1:C6)

“The same friend,” he went on, “has another law which he proposes. A marriage shall only be held indissoluble when either both parties, or at least one or the other, enter into it for the third time. Such persons must be supposed to acknowledge beyond a doubt that they find marriage indispensable for themselves; they have had opportunities of thoroughly knowing themselves; of knowing how they conducted themselves in their earlier unions; whether they have any peculiarities of temper, which are a more frequent cause of separation than bad dispositions. People would then observe one another more closely; they would pay as much attention to the married as to the unmarried, no one being able to tell how things may turn out.”
— A Friend (P1:C10)


Max Weber
Per key term Google Books search: “causality, elective affinities”, a significant number of Goethe protege Max Weber results return; the following being a few examples:

“Historical causality determines the unique circumstances that have given rise to an event. Sociological causality assumes the establishment of a regular relationship between two phenomena which need not take the form ‘A makes B inevitable’, but may take the form ‘A is more or less favorable to B’.”
Max Weber (date), Publication (Ѻ)

“The most common interpretation, however, is that "elective affinity" is used by Weber to express the fact that two sets of social facts or mentalities are related to each other or gravitate to each other — even though no direct and simple causality between the two can be established.”
— Richard Swedberg and Ola Agevall (2005), The Max Weber Dictionary (Ѻ)

(add discussion)

In 1915, American cultural anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, in his “Eighteen Professions” article, attempted to argue in favor of Aristotle over that of modern physico-chemical sciences, specifically, in his view: [3]

“There are no laws in history similar to the laws of physico-chemical science. The causality of history is teleological.”

a backwards thinking point of view about which American physical historian Morris Zucker comments on the last of these: [5]

“This mumbo-jumbo of medieval phraseology connecting causality with purpose in history is another evidence of that professorial phenomenon, while the body moves and breaths in the twentieth century, while the mind is five hundred years behind its time.”

In 1990, French elementary particle physicist and neuroscientist Remy Lestienne published The Children of Time: Causality, Entropy, Becoming with chapters on entropy and information, dissipative structures, what is life, the mind and time, among others, with discussion of Carnot, Clausius, and Boltzmann. [4]

The following are relevant quotes:

“There is only one method of apprehending the real nature of causality. This method is to begin with the world of data which we possess, i.e. our experiences, to generalize, to eliminate [deanthropomorphize] as far as possible all anthropomorphic elements and thus cautiously to elaborate an objective conception of causality. The many attempts which have been made in this direction show us that the best approach to the concept of causality consists in attaching it to the capacity of foretelling future events which we have acquired and tested in daily experience. And indeed there is no better means of demonstrating the causal connection between two events than to show that the occurrence of the one event can regularly permit us to forecast the occurrence of the other.”
Max Planck (1936), The Philosophy of Physics [2]

See also
● Causal entropic force | Alexander Wissner-Gross

1. Myint-U, TYn, and Debnath, Lokkenath. (2007). Linear Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers (pdf) (pg. vii). Springer, 2011.
2. (a) Planck, Max. (1936). The Philosophy of Physics (pg. 44). Publisher.
(b) Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory. Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
3. Kroeber, Alfred L. (1915). “Eighteen Professions” (pdf), Read at the Philadelphia meeting of the American Anthropological Association; in: American Anthropologist, 17(2):283-88.
4. Lestienne, Remy. (1990). The Children of Time: Causality, Entropy, Becoming (ch. 13: The Age of Things, Order and Chaos, Entropy and Information, pgs. 113-; ch. 14: Dissipative Structures, Cyclic Reactions, pgs. 127-; section. Time the Engine of Life, pgs. 143-187). Eng. Trans. by E.C. Neher, 1995. University of Illinois Press.
5. Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (pg. 254). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
6. Russett, Cynthia. (1966). The Concept of Equilibrium in American Social Thought (pg. 115). Yale College.
7. Henderson, Lawrence J. (1932). An Approximate Definition of Fact (pgs. 183-84). University of California Publications in Philosophy, Volume 14.
8. (a) Bacon, Francis. (1605). The Advancement of Learning (Ѻ). Publisher.
(b) The Advancement of Learning – Wikipedia.
(c) Henderson, Lawrence J. (1917). The Order of Nature (pgs.23-24). Harvard University Press.

Further reading
● Pearl, Judea. (2000). Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference (abs) . Cambridge University Press.

External links
Causality – Wikipedia.
Causality (physics) – Wikipedia.

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