Once upon a time, I walked along a sandy beach, depressed and not clearly seeing the way through. The proprietor of the motel where I was staying happened upon me in this state of being. He said to me “We’re here this long,” gesturing a miniscule amount between his thumb and forefinger. “We’re as insignificant as a grain of sand on this beach, so enjoy your time here [on the planet].”
For me, in the moment, that was what I needed to hear to bolster myself. And, it was only part of the story.
I love the principle of the butterfly effect. “The Butterfly Effect” is not a thing in and of itself. It is just a metaphor for the principle of Chaos Theory.”
Following is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
The term is often ascribed to Edward Lorenz who wrote about it in a 1963 paper in the New York Academy of Sciences.”
“Chaos theory is an interdisciplinary theory stating that, within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, interconnectedness, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals and self-organization. The butterfly effect, an underlying principle of chaos, describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state (meaning that there is sensitive dependence on initial conditions). A metaphor for this behavior is that a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane in Texas.”
…In The Vocation of Man (1800), Johann Gottlieb Fichte says “you could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby … changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole”…
We are all looking for meaning to our lives, singly and collectively. That “a very small change in initial conditions [even from a far away location] had created a significantly different outcome,” gives me hope somehow. Considering the times that we are living in and that we cannot see the whole that is unfolding, how can we find comfort in considering The Butterfly Effect?
We cannot know the effect we have on others, on life, on weather patterns, planetary momentum, even politics. On a microcosmic level, was there someone along your life path who said just the right thing at the right time in a moment of your life where their words caught somewhere in your psyche and turned you around? Was there an action you took one day, that looking back, was pivotal in the whole of your life? And then, you cannot determine how a word you spoke or an action you took affected another person or perhaps a weather system. What is true for us personally, is true for the macrocosm.
Everything is connected in such an intricate way that it is hard for the mind to comprehend. It’s truly beyond logic and has been labelled quantum physics. To my way of seeing, that’s another term for mystery.