The Butterfly Effect

— a phenomenon

I don’t understand the fascination with the butterfly effect. People are excited to talk about how the flutter of butterfly’s wings could affect an event across the world.

If that’s true, shouldn’t everything that ever happened be an effect? The result of a person’s action ends up affecting something across the globe which in turn affects the person who ‘started’ the effect? There’d be no beginning or end, just effects upon effects upon effects.

The universe as a single connected ginormous effect is something I can get with, but if it really is, then there would be no significance in stating that any instance causes a random, unrelated instance. No one would be fascinated. It’d just be how things are.

The butterfly effect requires belief that the world isn’t one continuous butterfly effect. That’s why it’s fascinating. The phenomenon is described with a starting point. A guy in Canada sneezed and that’s why the guy in Brazil has a leaky toilet. Following that logic, the leaky toilet should cause a whole chain of events to later affect the guy who sneezed. The fascination lies in how one person is connected to another on this planet but not how a person’s previous action could potentially affect themselves.

Perhaps the leaky toilet led to events that made the sneezing guy forget his keys. Wouldn’t it be more fascinating to say that sneeze caused the guy to get locked out?

Instead of looking at it from a perspective of “I set a chain of events that caused what’s happening to me now” the phenomenon suggests that someone else across the planet is responsible for setting a chain of events in motion to affect me.

It’s just a choice. I did enjoy believing in the butterfly effect at a point in my life. Maybe it’s not for me now.

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