The Butterfly Effect

I’m no scientist, so I have no expectations of ever really understanding the “butterfly effect” but thanks to Wikipedia and its ability to serve up intellectual morsels in bite sized portions, I can atleast get my mind around the idea that it proposes that the tiniest movement, even the flap of a tiny butterfly’s wing, can cause movement that will eventually build to the power of a hurricane. Wiki says, “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions  in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.”  Small changes, small actions in other words, effect big shifts. What interests me about this is that it means everything matters, that every action has a consequence, that everything is connected. Is the same true of the intent behind an action? Let’s say for a moment that it is. A ballerina’s pirouette then, with the intention of creating something artful, magnifies beauty in the world.  A single well placed note augments harmony. A kind word genuinely expressed can empower a movement for social change. 

Looking at my own path I can, in some cases, trace backwards from current day actualities to butterfly effects in the past. One, first look exchanged with a man led to marriage and to our wonderful son. One casual question led to a recording contract. One laugh led to a long running series. Believe me there were “bad” butterfly flaps as well.  A fearful inkling led to near financial ruin. A moment of haste led to a serious fall resulting in broken bones. There are more but I’ll leave it there. You get the idea. Naughty butterfly. 

Here comes the New Year and assuming that life can be propelled forward on ideas, I’m starting to ponder what sorts of butterfly flaps I’d like initiated? The list is long. What thought can I have, can any of us have that could somehow help lead to a betterment of the human condition? Could a moment of awareness or inspiration possibly set in motion a journey to higher ground as relates to our current societal malcontent? What encouragement might lead to empowering a scientist, an artist, a teacher? Call me a Pollyanna but suddenly the horizon seems bright. Change happens. Things shift. Dreams come true. Who knows what good we can, collectively, set into motion? Let’s find out. Think big and happy flapping!

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