The Butterfly Effect

Coutesy of State Library and Archives of Florida

As life would have it, I have been reading about the “Butterfly Effect” in a number of different types of books.  None of them actually about the true nature of the Butterfly Effect which is connected to chaos theory (even though I feel like I am living out chaos theory at times).  My reading material has been about the philosophy behind the idea, the power of a small action to create big effects somewhere else.

I bet life has shown you this effect.  Whether it was an interaction at the store with a grumpy employee that ruined your day, or receiving a letter from a former student revealing that one moment that helped them later in life.  The small moments make a difference.

To the chagrin of my wife, at the checkout stand I have been making up crazy answers to the ever present, “Did you find everything you we looking for today?”  What I find so interesting is not the normal everyday conversation we engage in after my response, but that moment when the employee actually stops and stares at me… and then the smile appears.

Let’s say a butterfly’s wings can cause a tornado, but which flap of the wing caused it?  Which moment set everything in motion?  Why didn’t the butterfly’s wings cause a tornado five minutes earlier?  We cannot predict life; we cannot predict which moment will cause the difference.  And maybe that is why we forget the power of our everyday life.

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2 responses to “The Butterfly Effect

  1. Deanna

    My husband is great at that same game of “messing” with the store clerks. One of his favorite activities is being entertaining in a drive through. This usually involves being OVER polite and typically animated. It is just another “flap of the wings” but the clerk is usually smiling by the end of it. sometimes we don’t know when our small actions make a difference. My fear is that I haven’t done enough “flapping” to make a positive difference. Keep up the good work! I enjoy your blog!

  2. Pingback: An Open Letter to the Pandemic | It is all Connected

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