THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

Cause, Meet Effect

You can singlehandedly create a causal relation between two things that are currently unconnected — a word and an emotion, a song and an extreme weather event, wearing a certain color and winning the lottery. What cause would you link to what effect, and why?


In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions where a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large changes to a later state. The butterfly effect is a common trope in fiction, especially in time travel. 

I am a butterfly. I flap my dainty wings, then a tornado tears through Oklahoma. Would not flying at that precise minute, at that moment in time, have prevented the tornado?

I am a robin. I flap my dainty wings, after which a hurricane blows across an island in the Caribbean. If I had stayed on that fence, would the hurricane have passed by, unformed? If I had flown sooner, would the wind have blown in a different direction?

72-Robin-052714_030

Cause, meet effect. In reality, in fantasy, in the tunnels of time.

Do we really know what the effect is or will be when we do (or fail to do) anything … any more than the butterfly or the robin can predict the ultimate result of his or her wings?

I can imagine many answers. But I have more questions … many more than I have answers.



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21 replies

  1. Marvelous. Love the photo, love the meditation. 🙂
    xo,
    Kathryn

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  2. An interesting thought. Love the photo. 😀

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  3. Correlation does not equal causation, but the patterns of coincidence are sometimes things of beauty… or at least a source of amusement. 🙂

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  4. I love the Chaos Theory, it started for me when I read Dr. Seuss’s book All Because a Bug Went Ka choo or something along those lines. Ever since then, and that was a long time ago, the Chaos Theory has been my guiding philosophy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it is these moments when I realise that I have been isolated from the english language for too much time, however, our robins only appear in Winter. I have one that sits sentinel on the tree in front of our window daily. He does not eat with the other birds, far too posh. He likes to dine alone on the ground. A real gourmet.

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  6. Great picture of the robin- and quite the philosophical post to go with it 🙂

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  7. This is why I tend to just sit and vegetate for long periods of time. I would feel really bad if I got up to do something and that movement caused world devastation….

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Poetic flavour…..hmmm lovely picture of Robin fluttering her wings.

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  9. Your last line sounds like the last line of some of my faux news reports before I signed off. The “suits” loved those reports.

    Like

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