Your browser has JavaScript turned off.
You will only be able to make use of major viewing features of this page of The Self-Sovereign Individual Project website if you turn JavaScript on.

Natural Social Contract Annotations

Effective Cause - Assignment of Authorship

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

1) Many prior Events and Actions (perhaps even an unbounded number - depending on the nature of space-time) contribute to the occurrence of any given Event to some extent, either sequentially or concurrently with others, at least in the sense that if they had not occurred, then that Event would also not have happened exactly as it did. While it often appears that some prior Events or Actions are more important or essential than others as parts of the Process resulting in a given Event, there seems to be no general logical method of specifying the primacy of one such prior Event or Action over another. In spite of this, because of the Social Meta-Needs requirement that humans be able to count on reaping the planned Benefits of their efforts as much as is possible in Reality, it is of paramount importance to be able to determine when some Harm or Benefit is the clear and necessary result of one or more prior Actions of a Freeman, so that the origination and creation of the Harm or Benefit (ie. the responsibility for it) may be assigned to hir. Only when this is done will the responsible person be able to gain some Reward from the person Benefited, commensurate with the Benefit that s/he has created, or be reasonably Required to pay some Restitution to the person Harmed, commensurate with the Harm that s/he has created.

2) Because of the generally UnPermitted nature of Harming Events, the need to assign authorship is particularly important when an Event of Harm results from a Social InterAction. The definition of Effective Cause given in the NSC specifies such a method of assigning individual authorship of a Harmful or Beneficial Event that results from an Involvement between Freemen. Such an assignment of authorship or responsibility is possible and reasonable because of the ability of a Freeman to use hir reason and conscious awareness to ascertain and Estimate the likelihood of the possible Effects of all hir Chosen Actions. Most certainly if s/he could not Perform an Action, then it would not be reasonable for hir to be seen as the author of it, and that fact would be an absolute indication that s/he was not the Responsible Agent for that Action. Moreover, the Theory of Social Meta-Needs shows that this ability implies the need to do so in order to optimally increase one's Lifetime Happiness and, since one's own Lifetime Happiness can only be optimally increased when the Lifetime Happiness of others is also able to be optimally increased by them, this requires the concomitant Social need to promote the assignment of authorship for hir creations of Events of Harm and Benefit to each other Freeman, in order to optimally increase one's own Lifetime Happiness. Because such an assignment of authorship is a necessary part of Effecting one's ultimate life purpose (to optimally increase one's Lifetime Happiness), it is often phrased as a responsibility to oneself, and its wider application to others as a Social responsibility. However, I have eschewed this vernacular use of "responsibility" (and even moreso of "duty") and instead, in the NSC, I have reserved the term Responsibility for the special case of the Requirement to abide by the Stipulations of a Contract that one has Executed.

3) A desire for the assignment of authorship, to both oneself and others, for Events that have related Benefits, Rewards, Harms and Restitutions, is the logical result of a full and complete analysis with respect to Choice Estimations stemming from the nature of human Reality. That desire necessarily follows logically from the axiomatic premises: a) of compossibility (something all can do together without necessary conflict) and b) that a Freeman's primary life purpose is to optimally increase hir Lifetime Happiness. It is only the short range, narrow viewed thinking of so many people in current society that prevents them from understanding this. For example, when viewed narrowly (locally - only with respect to their direct and immediate effects on oneself) an Action may appear to be Harmful, but when examined with a longer range, wider and deeper viewpoint (globally - by examining the extended and long term effects on all Freeman and the feedback of those effects to oneself), it may even be seen to be Beneficial for any Freeman seeking to optimally increase hir Lifetime Happiness. The Actions that will tend to optimally increase one's Lifetime Happiness are never obvious, automatic or passive, but are always and ever discovered only by constant and penetrating Limited Time Iterated Net Benefit Expectation analysis of every Available Action. Even so, this does not imply that a Freeman needs to Perform such deep analysis of every far ranging possible effect of all his Available Actions before ever he can Choose one of them (which in fact s/he can never do for lack of sufficient time resources). Instead, the kind of penetrating analysis to which I have referred leads to the development of certain general principles of Action for which the very few exceptions to the Action (if any) are very clearly defined (and actually become a part of the full principle). Once this is accomplished, just as any useful learned behavior becomes an automated good habit or as a concept usefully collects and sums up several subsidiary and prior ideas, such principles can be relied upon to show one which behaviors in broad Categories will generally lead to optimally increasing one's Lifetime Happiness. For a longer discussion of the differences between a principled and a pragmatic approach see Yahoo MoreLife Message #1155.

4) The method of specification of assignability of authorship (creation or initiation) of an Event that works in general is to assign the Effective Cause of an Event to the last Freemen Actor whose Action was part of a Process that was Sufficient for the occurrence of the Event. The reason this works is because s/he thus becomes the last Freeman such that if s/he had not Chosen as s/he did (and all others contributing causes had remained the same) the Event would not have occurred. For more detail and another look at this issue see the definition of Adequate Control. For a discussion of some aspects of Effective Cause, see the Yahoo Morelife discussion threads: Msg 741, Msg 748 and Msg 781, although it should be born in mind that my definition was somewhat (but, insubstantially) different at the time of those discussions.