The Cause of Reason is the first of a planned trilogy about humankind’s search for meaning and enlightenment. The concept for the three books is to connect human and metaphysical studies in three personifications of life: individual, societal, and global. The objective is to relay the mysteries of creation in a narrative style that interweaves stories and more rigorous studies in a way as to avoid complex propositions.
The first book is the story of one woman’s search for meaning after the death of her husband and son. Her quest for answers eventually brings her peace and understanding of much broader questions about life; the sort of questions that humankind has been asking since the beginning of time: “What is the meaning of life?” “Where did we come from?” and “Why are we here?”
The story is set in the Newlands Valley in 18th century Cumberland. It is one of those places that captures and then holds people’s attention. Its raw, elemental nature is an unchanging backdrop to life: a constant reminder of powerful forces and the mysteries of creation.
The story opens with a short account of Mary's melancholic frame of mind. She is reminiscing on the simplicity of her childhood and reflecting on the tragedy that has befallen her.
Her son Christian dies whilst climbing with his friend Douglas.
The narrative now continues in Christian’s voice from beyond time. Death is not the end. It is the mind that exists in isolation whilst memories fade and worldly attachments are revealed for what they are: a part of something far greater.
Formless existence, without sensory perception, becomes the continuation of being in a place that is, in itself, the remnants of another way. The First Way (the way before Creation) was the monadic certainty of everything: physical and metaphysical being existed in a singularity of purpose and unity.
In the moments after his death, it is Christian's spirit that returns life to Douglas. This is the metamorphoses: the themes of change, renewal, the continuity of existence and life’s part in it are played out through the survival of Douglas. It is through Douglas that Mary eventually finds the peace she seeks.
Draw a line in your mind’s eye: the left-hand end represents the beginning of time – let’s say 4.5 billion years ago; the right-hand end represents today. Now, imagine a point very close to the right-hand end, say, two-hundred thousand years ago1 — that point represents the early days of humankind. Now, re-imagine the whole line to represent one year; the point at which homo sapiens arrived on that line was on the 31st December at 23.36 hours — or twenty-four minutes to midnight!
Okay, we were very late to the party, but when could life have arrived? Well, according to the Institute for Astronomy at Hawaii University, the evidence is that Earth “… was ready for life … very early [after its formation].” The nature of evolution, though, varies widely depending on the chosen characteristics for defining intelligent life, however, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History gives a broad range of between 4 million and 100,000 years ago ( i.e. on the 31st December between 16.13 hours to 23.48 hours!)
The assumption above is that time began with the formation of the Earth 4.5 billion years ago. In practice, it probably began 5,500 years ago with a stick stuck in the sand when an Egyptian decided he wanted his mid-day meal indoors when the Sun was at its highest point in the sky. This simple requirement has evolved from a portable sundial to where an atomic clock measures the frequency of electromagnetic radiation emitted by caesium atoms making the transition from one state to another. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, caesium clocks are so accurate that they will be off by only one second after running for 333 thousand years!
The role of time and its elusive historic quality is fundamental to the thinking behind The Cause of Reason. Time is a construct of the human mind and, therefore, constrains the imagination to all things beyond its beat: if time rules our lives it also rules out knowledge of a condition of being beyond time. The Cause of Reason breaks these rules and opens that door to allow exploration of a continuation of existence beyond mortal reach.
1 The figure used in the preface to The Cause of Reason for the earliest intelligent human life forms.
If there was one trigger point that convinced me that I could write this book, it was Ovid’s Metamorphoses; specifically, the very early verses from Book 1 which feature as the frontispiece to The Cause of Reason.
Ovid was born in Italy in 43 BCE and died in 18 CE. He was a poet and playwright and wrote after the decline of the Greek state and the subsequent dominance of Rome (Rome ruled Greece by 146 BCE but it was more than 100 years later before the Greek Empire was completely conquered). It is, therefore, no surprise that Metamorphoses should contain close to 250 mythological stories1 (both Greek and Roman) dealing with change and transformation through the ways of gods and their offspring, and men with their wars and politics, all the time mingling and interlocking one and all with pathos and comedy.
Those early verses were four lines:
Before the seas, and this terrestrial ball,
And Heav'n's high canopy, that covers all,
One was the face of Nature; if a face:
Rather, a rude and indigested …
and in particular – “One was the face of Nature …”. Before everything else, Nature was there, united and in harmony ̶ waiting! Or, as I say in my book:
At the very start, at the very beginning of it all, there was one and one order only.
It was the order of certainty that governed all things without challenge, for it was tempered by unspoken reason and moderated by unquestioned belief. There was no tangible or intangible limit to its rule, no goal or ambition, no debate or counsel to consider and no court or judgement to pass. This was simply the way of it. It was a place of one accord without dissent or argument; a place of one moment without memory; a place with one meaning. It was the way before creation and life: the way before all things that accompany the uncertainties that come with division.
At last! Here was the hook, an explanation as to what happened 14 billion years ago: The First Way – the way before time! Thank you Publius Ovidius Naso!
1 S. R. Guanci, Teaching Project (Final draft), Dept of Classics University of Georgia, Athens GA, The Metamorphoses p7.