Title text: The problems started with my resolution next year to reject temporal causality.
Cueball and Megan are discussing New Year's resolutions. Cueball says that his resolution for this year was to reject empiricism. Megan asks him how that worked out for him, to which Cueball gives a dismissive response.
Empiricism is the practice of testing a hypothesis based on direct observation and testing. The joke is that, since Cueball succeeded in rejecting empiricism this year, he doesn't care or think about how it went, since doing so would be empirical.
Technically speaking, Cueball's response can be more accurately characterized as a rejection of empiricism alternatives such as constructivism and pragmatism (the suggestion that knowledge is constructed by the individual through their interactions with the world, and the belief that value is determined by its success in practical application, respectively); if Megan had asked, "Did that work out for you as well as you had expected?" then Cueball's response would have been a more direct rejection of empiricism. As stated, this is just a technicality; Randall is probably using a layman's definition of empiricism-- something like "the theory that any and all knowledge comes from sensory experience."
In the title text, Cueball attributes past problems ("my problems started") to his future ("next year") resolution, which is to reject temporal causality. Temporal causality is the principle in physics that the cause of an event always precedes the event. The joke is that his past/current problems are being caused by a future event, since his sense of causality is no longer time-based. This is Randall's second joke about causality in three weeks; a similar joke was published 7 comics prior to this one, in which a breaker box switch can turn off causality.
- [Cueball and Megan are standing, talking to each other.]
- Cueball: My New Year's resolution this year was to reject empiricism.
- Megan: And how's that been working out for you?
- Cueball: What does that have to do with anything?
- This is the first New Year comic to come out in November.
- All previous comics have come in either December or January. And only a few has been outside the window of the one before or the one after New Year.
- But given the subject of two New Year resolutions, it can only be considered a New Year comic.
- With one of them being the rejection of causality the release day is no longer important...
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