On causal strangeways

Think of it like this.

A causal strangeway describes the crooked or disjointed path by means of which causal effects spiral outward tumultuously from their plural points of origin, traversing ontological modes and orders without regard to adequation or proportion. Examples are endless. Seriously attempt to backtrace almost anything at all, and you’ll rapidly find yourself walking the causal strangeways. Take an object, like an artifact, a film, a love affair, a religion, a war. Start reconstructing its conditions of emergence, and everything soon will start to proliferate and spiral outward. Welcome to R’lyeh. If you want to produce a clear and distinct causal narrative, with all your causes and effects in neat little rows, you’ll have to be a ruthless, even reckless editor of events. The alternative to such ruthless editing isn’t something fuzzy or vague (“blooming, buzzing confusion”), but, instead, the formally interminable description and redescription of swarming entities and submerged events, of objects both composed and shrouded by overlapping paths of effects, wandering forever through flooded halls of echoes. These are the Piranesi worlds, lit with dark light. There are a thousand thousand more causal histories attached to every object than it seems, and each of these histories is a drowned labyrinth, a sunken ruin. You can dive deeper to get your salvage materials or a cool snapshot, but it’s always going to be a dangerous venture.

Erik Desmazières. Exploration (1984).