The Law of Cause and Effect vs the law of action and reaction

  • 20 July 2010
cause-effect

The Law of Cause and Effect X the law of action and reaction (by Rodrigo Machado Tavares, B.Eng.; MS.c.; Ph.D.)

We live in this infinite universe created by God, our Father. Consequently, everyone and everything within the universe is subjected to God´s Laws (or as some say: nature´s laws). This truth is well explained by the Spiritist teachings, particularly in the following books from the Spiritist Codification (i.e., The Spiritist Pentateuch), namely: The Spirits´ Book (in the Book First – Causes); The Genesis (Chapter 2) and Heaven and Hell.

One of these “nature´s laws” is the well-known law of action or reaction. The law of action and reaction is the third law of Newton´s laws of motion. It is also commonly called as Newton´s third law. This law simply states that: whenever a body exerts a force on a second body, the second body will exert an equal force in magnitude and opposite direction. In other words, the law of action and reaction says that to every action, there will always be an equal and opposite reaction. It is relevant to observe that Newton´s laws of motion are only applicable to movements in which the bodies/objects’ velocities are far below the speed of the light. For this reason, quantum physics and theory of relativity are being used to understand movements of bodies/objects within the microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds. In summary, the law of action and reaction is not adequate to describe certain phenomena in the material world within Earth.

Another nature´s law is the Law of Cause and Effect, which was, not discovered, but revealed to us, in a realistic way, through Spiritism in the 19th century. This law is discussed in depth in the books of the Spiritist Codification, in special: The Spirits´ Book, The Gospel According to Spiritism and the Genesis. The knowledge of the existence of this divine law is very important for us to comprehend God´s love. In fact, the clear understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect has the potential to make our behavior in accordance with Love. In other terms, to understand the Law of Cause and Effect can help us to make wise decisions in life; and consequently evolve more efficiently.

Therefore, considering these two laws, and their “similarities”, it is not unusual to hear the following sentences: The Law of Cause and Effect is the same thing of the law of action and reaction, that law from Isaac Newton. In reality, the Law of Cause and Effect is a practical example of the law of action and reaction, because nothing is by chance. Based on that, we can ask to ourselves: i) Are these two laws synonymies? ii) If so, why is that? iii) If not, why is the direct/indirect implication of thinking that they are the same? iv) What is the relationship between these laws?

These types of questions might be common, especially when we are starting to study Spiritism. Having this in mind, we should always remember what the Spirit of Truth told us: Spiritists! Love one another, that is the first precept; educate yourselves is the second. It is interesting to observe that The Spirit of Truth included a second commandment: educate ourselves; which clearly is not more important than Love, nevertheless, it should be also our aim as Spiritists.

Sir Isaac Newton published his work about the laws of motion in 1687. The concept of Law of Cause and Effect was introduced in the 19th century with the advent of Spiritism. It is reasonable to say many of us are (or used to be) probably more familiar with the law of action and reaction than with the Law of Cause and Effect. This can be said because we are all immortal beings; and, therefore we have heard and learned about law of action and reaction much earlier than the Law of Cause and Effect.

Furthermore, we can say that the understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect is something new here on Earth. In addition to that, its concept is more “restricted” to us, spiritists. Following this thinking, many of us when we started to study the Spiritist teachings, it is very likely that when we were learning new concepts (including the Law of Cause and Effect), some comparisons, analogies, associations were made in order to make these new concepts clear in our minds. For instance, it is a common practice during the learning process to use an object of comparison to explain the object of study.

Following this logic, the object of study is the Law of Cause and Effect and the object of comparison is the law of action and reaction. Although, the association between these two laws can be made for learning purposes, it is not correct to say that these two laws are the same. When we do that, we are assuming that the object of study is the object of comparison and vice-versa. This misunderstanding can lead us to perceive the sentence “nothing is by chance” in the wrong way. As a consequence of that, there might be a likelihood of creating a “theory of divine fatalism”; which has nothing to do with the Spiritist teachings. It is recommended the reading of Chapter 10 (The Law of Liberty) of The Spirits´ Book.

For this reason, it is appropriate to say that the Law of Cause and Effect is not the law of action and reaction. It is correct to say that both laws have a similar principle; nevertheless, they are different laws. Their similarity relies on the fact that for every action, there will be a reaction; i.e., for every cause, there is an effect. This is a logical event for everything in life; however, the manner these two laws are developed are completely different.

Table 1 summarizes the core-differences between these two laws.

Law of action and reaction Law of Cause and Effect
Nature Binary Non-binary
Feature Act physics moral Law (Law nonphysical)
Process Non-complex Complex
Bodies / objects under certain conditions in the material world on Earth. intrapersonal and interpersonal relations in both worlds, material and spiritual, not only on Earth, as possibly in the universe as a whole.
Dependence of Time Immediate Variable
Factors dependency Limited Many

As we can see, these two laws differ completely. Furthermore, we should always be aware of that. This is an important issue to be pointed, because nothing is by chance; however, each case is a particular case.

Following this thinking, we should not try to “guess” the possible causes of the effects, when the circumstances are completely unknown to ourselves and especially if this knowledge will not add anything to our moral progress. For instance, we should not judge our neighbor trying to find the causes of the present situations (i.e., the effects) of his/her life. We should not neither “punish” ourselves through guiltiness for our mistakes and/or “sufferings”. However, we should avoid committing the same errors; always reflecting before any action (including our thoughts). We should never “blame” God and/or the government and/or our families and/or our friends for our wrong-doings and/or “sufferings” in this present life. This is an indirect way of saying that the Law of Cause and Effect is the same of the law of action and reaction. And to say that the Law of Cause and Effect is the same of the law of action and reaction is almost promoting unconsciously the illogical doctrine of fatalism.

In summary, responsibility is the key-word. We should use our free will wisely, loving ourselves and loving our neighbors. This is the way to love God, demonstrated by Jesus here on Earth and well explained by Spiritism.

 

APPENDIX

A simple survey was conducted in order to research our perception of these two divine´s laws (i.e., law of action and reaction and Law of Cause and Effect). This survey consisted in three objective questions, namely:

1) Have you ever read any of the books from the Spiritist´s codification? (Você já leu alguma(s) das obras do Pentateuco Espírita?)

  • YES (SIM)
  • NO (NÃO)

2) Is the Law of Cause and Effect the same thing of the law of action and reaction? (A Lei de Causa e Efeito é a mesma coisa que a Lei de Ação e Reação?)

  • YES (SIM)
  • NO (NÃO)
  • I DO NOT KNOW (Não sei)

3) Is the Law of Cause and Effect an application of the law of action and reaction? (A Lei de Causa e Efeito é uma aplicação da Lei de Ação e Reação?)

  • YES (SIM)
  • NO (NÃO)
  • I DO NOT KNOW (Não sei)

In total, 540 people answered this questionnaire (540 participaram da pesquisa).

All of the participants were spiritists. The survey was conducted during the 3rd Brazilian Spiritist Congress, which took place in Brasilia (from the 16th to the 18th oaf April of 2010).

The survey was also conducted electronically through the internet, where spiritists around the world, especially from the UK, participated of it. The results are show in Table 1 and in Figures 1 and 2. It is relevant to say that all the participants have read at least one of the books from the Spiritist codification.

Table 1: Answers for questions 2 and 3.

Question 2

Question 3

YES

NO

I DO NOT KNOW

YES

NO

I DO NOT KNOW

402 100 38 137 332 71

 

chart1

Figure 1: Percentage of the answers for question 2.

chart2

Figure 2: Percentage of the answers for question 3.

As it is possible to see, the data shows that the big majority said YES to question 2; i.e., for most of the respondents, the Law of Cause and Effect is the same thing of the law of action and reaction.

In the other hand, most of them answered NO to question 3; i.e., for most of the respondents, the Law of Cause and Effect is not an application of the law of action and reaction.