Posts Tagged ‘butterfly effect’

The Complexity of Butterflies and Destinies

In Dissecting Life on March 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm


Our world is a complex system. In the midst of this complexity, if someone tells you that the flapping wings of the dainty butterfly in your garden is capable of setting tornados into motion (The Butterfly Effect- Chaos Theory), you’d think he needs a therapist. But if there is any truth in what he is saying, the smallest actions such as batting you eyelids can have outsized, unrelated, and unexpected consequences. The theory alerts us that the most insignificant occurrences in nature are not inconsequential. An infinitesimal action gathers momentum over a period of time to change the face of our delusionary “controlled system” of living. It makes life look like a joke; a complex version of The Truman Show.

If a butterfly can change weathers, I can prevent an epidemic by spending my evenings swatting flies. If you look at the events closely, you will notice that something as harmless as flapping a pair of wings can create a disastrous tornado while something as cruel as killing a fly can prevent large scale deaths. A seemingly insignificant event may be positive or negative (based on regular human moral standards) but that may not really have anything to do with the positivity or negativity of the situation that arises out of it.

If little things can lead to large things then probably large things can lead to much larger things, which is ultimately a collection of little things. So, can the motion of massive planets across the universe affect our insignificant existence? If the moon can cause changes in tide, it would be foolish to rule out the changes it can bring about within us. Maybe there is more to astrology than meets our eye. The birth date could be just a point of reference, an initial condition or a value to understand what moved in what direction to create what changes over what period of time. These external events could have created very basic changes such as temperature changes, mood changes, and radiations thus affecting human interactions, hormonal changes, or even perceptions to create the life pattern. This pattern can probably be graphed if life can be expressed as a combination of variables, measurements and forces. It can also be loosely labeled as “destiny”. Our story is probably a collection of external and internal events that naturally lead to actions, behaviors and reactions. But we believe that these actions, behaviors and reactions are of our own doing, will or choice. Maybe because there are so many factors affecting one little life, a prediction can never ever be accurate. But only human beings predict. Nature doesn’t have to calculate. The outcome is definite.

The movie 127 hours, highlights the outcome of an action (or actions) beautifully. At a certain point, in the movie, Aron Ralston seems to be convinced that the situation he is trapped in is an outcome of very simple, basic acts that he habitually performed. Aron says, “This rock has been waiting for me my entire life. Its entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.” Personally, it was heart wrenching to watch this man reach a moment of “realization” or “repentance” (depends on whether you think his actions were neutral or negative) and accept that he created the very thing he was trapped in. It was an incident waiting to happen; destined to happen ever since he was born.