“I will tell you the deeper significance of this, which otherwise might seem a banal hydraulic joke. Caus knew that if one fills a vessel with water and seals it at the top, the water, even if one then opens a hole in the bottom, will not come out. But if one opens a hole in the top, also, the water spurts out below."
"Isn't that obvious?" I said. "Air enters at the top and presses the water down."
"A typical scientific explanation, in which the cause is mistaken for the effect, or vice versa. The question is not why the water comes out in the second place, but why it refuses to come out in the first case."
"And why does it refuse?" Garamond asked eagerly.
"Because, if it came out, it would leave a vacuum in the vessel, and nature abhors a vacuum. Nequaquam vacui was a Rosicrucian principle, which modern science has forgotten."
"Excuse me," Belbo said to Agliè, "but your argument is simply post hoc ergo ante hoc. What follows causes what came before.
You must not think linearly. The water in these fountains doesn't. Nature doesn't; nature knows nothing of time. Time is an invention of the West.” ― Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum