An Effect Exists Only if Its Causes Exist in the Same Space and Time Frame

Cause-and-effect relationships exist with or without the human mind, but we perceive them relative to time and space. Every causal relationship is made up of conditional causes with a history of existence over time combining with an action cause in some defined time frame and existing in the same space to create an effect.

This is best understood by looking at an example as shown below. We see that the effect of open fire begins to exist at the time of the match strike in the presence of oxygen, oily rags, and a match and fades away as the oily rags are consumed. The open fire only exists when the causes are present in the same space and time frame.


This principle teaches us that we need to look closely at the causes to make sure they are occurring in the same space and time frame for the effect we are evaluating. We often fail to recognize this principle when telling stories and it is totally ignored when we use categorical RCA methods.