Basically, something causes something else and persists even after the original cause is removed.

Google has turned up nothing.

  • Suggestion: replace and with which. The current version has the original cause persisting after it has itself been removed. – Lawrence Aug 9 '18 at 9:40
  • Isn't this the default? All life on Earth persists in the absence of initial cause. Everything you cook is still cooked after you stop cooking it. Everything you buy you get to keep even after you bought it. If you kick me, it still hurts even after you stop. Why would we need a special word for something that is perfectly normal. – RegDwigнt Aug 9 '18 at 10:50
  • "Self-perpetuating" is misleading. Change that in the title for something appropriate. – Kris Aug 9 '18 at 11:02

Your question is ambiguous: the title can be understood as an action or state with no initial cause, while the question you ask in the text posits an initial cause no longer active.

The first sense is an assumption of Aristotle’s concept of first cause or prime mover. If everything in the universe has a cause, which in turn is caused by something else, then at some point in the distant past, there must have been an initial cause not caused by another force or being. Christian theology adopted the concept as both divine attribute and proof of the existence of God as creator of the universe from nothing.

The second version of your question embodies the notion of perpetual motion, a machine of some sort that, once set in motion, would continue forever. This, of course, is impossible, but the idea engendered a great deal of philosophical and scientific discourse, particularly in the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci thought the whole idea was nonsense, but others were not so convinced.

The concept also inspired a genre of musical composition, usually called moto perpetuo (Italian) or perpetuum mobile (Latin), consisting of a simple repetitive musical structure underlying equally simple figures performed at breakneck speed.

  • Try ignoring the word perpetual -- the rest of the question gets clearer without it. – Kris Aug 9 '18 at 10:18

You have already used the right word in the body of the question.

"A persistent event."

After its purpose has been served, it persists, i.e., continues to exist or continues to work.

As you are already familiar with the word, I am not providing the definition and usage references.


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