Sunday Reverie

Butterfly effect and its influence on our actions

The word “Butterfly effect” can resonate for some to the movie. For most, it might be a simple view of spill over effect. Actually, The Butterfly Effect is a concept invented by the American meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz (1917-2008). It is to highlight the possibility that small causes may have momentous effects. The closely relatable example that always comes to our mind is that, when a butterfly flaps its wings in brazil, it creates a tornado in Texas. Let’s understand how this example came in relevance. For which we need to go back Lorenz himself.

Lorenz Approach

During early 1950’s at MIT, Lorenz was studying about long rang weather forecasting. As with any pattern recognition examples, the fellow research experts felt that, its easy to predict the weather. Their approach was that, when we have weeks or months of day, we should be able to arrive at a pattern. That pattern from the old weather data, can help to predict the future weather condition.

A plot of Lorenz’s strange attractor. The butterfly effect or sensitive dependence on initial conditions is the property of a dynamical system that, starting from any of various arbitrarily close alternative initial conditions on the attractor, the interated points will become arbitrarily spread out from each other. Source: wikipedia

Lorenz on the other side didn’t believe in this idea. He was doubtful about the same. With the complexity of nature and the environment around, weather cannot repeat itself. Hence, it would be impossible to predict a day in the history, which is exact replica of the current situation. He argued that the atmosphere is so complex that it never repeats itself, so it would be impossible to find a day in history when conditions were precisely the same.

Butterfly Effect – How did the name came into existence?

In the due course, accidentally he discovered, the butterfly effect. According to him, even a small different in the initial state or condition, can lead to completely different outcomes. After running an experiment for the weather prediction, he thought of rerunning the same. In the model for weather predication experiment, he entered the value as 0.506 instead of 0.506127. When he returned after getting his cup of coffee, he was surprised to see that, the resulting prediction was completely different from the original output. With this he arrived that a small change in the initial conditions can have enormous long-term implications. That was his eurekha moment.

When Lorenz, failed to provide a title to present about his prediction as a talk for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1972, Philip Merrilees came with the title, Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?  That’s how butterfly effect came into existence.

An idea that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system. Though, the butterfly flapping its wings cannot cause a storm. However, small events can act as catalyst that influence certain course of events.

Examples from History for Butterfly effect

Having now understood, about Butterfly effect,

Let’s look into one of the easiest relatable incident from World War for the butterfly effect. World War I started all because of a very small incident in June 1914. A revolutionary name Gavrilo Princip along with his accomplice were planning an assassination attempt on crown prince of Hungary, Franz Ferdinand. Franz Ferdinand was on a motorcade towards the town hall. When assassination attempt was made, it was narrowly missed. However after his town hall speech, Franz Ferdinand wished to meet the victims of the assassination attempt on him. His driver was advised to take a specific route. However, the information was passed on lately and by the time, the driver realized he took a wrong route, he tried to reverse his vehicle. In that moment, crown prince car broke down. The revolutionary, who was going in that route saw an opportunity and instantly shot Ferdinand and his wife.

This led to World War I. Austria-Hungary went to war against Serbia and soon countries joined based upon their diplomatic treaties. This one incident led to a full scale war. The World War I.

Coincidence has nothing to do with faith or destiny , it’s just a miss matched eqation of timing and spacing … just like a butterfly effect

One other recent incident that can be explored here, is the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull. Eyjafjallajökull is one of Iceland’s smaller ice capped mountain. It’s located in the far south of the island. This has erupted relatively frequently since the ice age. The eruptions occurred in 920, 1612, and from 1821 to 1823. 20 March 2010, a small eruption began. On 14 April 2010, the eruption entered a second phase and created a cloud of ash that led to the closure of most of the European airspace from 15 until 20 April 2010. This led to the highest level of air travel disruption since the World War II.

A small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth, the fact that an ash cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland brings to stand still the entire aerial traffic in the continent of Europe. This shows a small action somewhere has its power to transform nature.

Though there are multiple referenceable incidents, to butterfly effect let’s take this as our base assumption for today’s discussion on how our tiny thoughts have an impact on our actions? Why do, when we have a bad phone call with someone in the morning, we feel the day turns out to be bad? Or why on the same day, when we happened to bump into a good friend of ours and feel after the meeting, the day was good?

Are these actions any way inter-related? When the answer is yes, then let’s delve deeper into the next topic, how does a thought can leave such action in a future point in time. To better understand, let’s go back to our example stated earlier. When we have an unpleasant conversation, with someone, it leaves a kind of impact on us in terms of our thoughts. We suddenly feel unpleasant, dull and low on energy after the conversation. Our body takes those cues, and starts to slow us down in our actions. It reacts in a way of showing low interest or not much focus into our work.

Daoism on Butterfly effect

Metaphorically, Daoism anticipates something like the butterfly effect.

Way-making (dao) gives rise to continuity,
Continuity gives rise to difference,
Difference to plurality,
And plurality gives rise to the manifold of everything that is happening (wanwu)

David Jones, The Fractal Self

According to Chinese philosophy, this transformation is called Dahua. A principle that seems to express glimpses of universal evolution. The great transformation.

Our thoughts are those butterflies

Can these be called as butterfly effect. Though not in specific, however these can be correlated as an inducing factor. Consider a scenario, where in you had a kind of anger on a simple mistake by your colleague. You gave a thought about it in your mind and then, left it duly considering why you need to show the anger. Day’s pass and again the repeated mistake happens. Probably, couple of times. On one fine day, when you were low on energy due to phone call (as mentioned above) that had happened, you outburst on your colleague for the simple mistake.

Now, the anger of your’s was it because of the phone call or was it due to the anger thought that happened few weeks back. Now relating this to butterfly effect, we can elucidate that small events that can act as catalyst to influence certain course of events.

Few of you would be able to relate, a split second decision of taking a left turn or an u turn on a drive to office, saved you from a heavy traffic or got you struck in traffic jam. How do we relate these course of events. Though, science cannot prove the time factor to roll back the actions, however it can prove to relate the course of events relating to split second decision. Sometimes, we call it as intuition. Though that’s a larger topic to divulge in future. The blink with which we took the decision, when related together can relate a connection to those actions.

A small shift in your thinking, the small changes in your energy can bring a massive impact on you. In your daily actions or the dreams you pursue. It’s the thought that counts. Once, you build on the thought, it’s a start. It awaits to actions to make it count. However, the thought had already, made an alteration in your activity for the day. A simple tweet reply, which you paused for a moment, had already raised a thought in the other end of the receiver awaiting for your reply.

Any small act of kindness or hatred creates reverberation. It spreads across time and distance. It affects the lives known as well as unknown. Everything relating back to the source of echo. Kindness when passed on, grows each time it’s passed. Till it becomes a selfless act of courage. The one who rushed to pull out a kid from falling into the canal, was once a kind kid who shared her cookie with her fellow kid.

Thus, the universe is one connected reverberating wave. A ripple somewhere can cause an impact in the other end. Though the existence of dreams and the parallel universe can be discussed in a different blog, the butterfly effect is proven and here to stay. In the word’s of Benjamin Franklin, let me leave you here to think.

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail

Personal Excellence

Analyze your thoughts

Thoughts are like those different seashells. The way the seashells gets pushed to the seashore, thoughts occur the same way in our life. Most of them again gets pulled in by the waves. The one’s you catch can be grouped together to make great products. Do you know, a common man can make minimum 39 different varieties of products from a seashell. The reference to thoughts as seashell carries value. Let’s understand about seashell and relate to thoughts.

Seashells generally grow bottom up. They are like the exoskeleton. Every seashell carries unique patterns. These shells acts as protective homes for the soft inhabitants. The visually striking patterns are used to attract a mate or provide camouflage.

Shell patterns carry the complete history. They represent as what had happened at the shells’ growing edge. They are like a diary.

Like the seashell, our thoughts are by those nerve sparks that creates it. Each thought has its own origin. Mostly at the initial stage of formation, they are not so stable. They can be easily destroyed similar to the wave current for the seashells, for us it’s the situation current. The time at which the thoughts gets formed.

The Seashell life can be related to 3 stages of our thougths.

  1. The formation stage
  2. The dead stage
  3. The life stage.

Formation Stage of Seashell can be related to the future stage of thoughts. When the conditions of formation are not suitable for seashell, they don’t get formed. These can be due to the varying nature of of the wave beds where are they getting formed, the wave currents and the wave heat as well as pressure or the hijacking hunters of the ocean.

Similarly when your thoughts are focussed on to future, you are living in an environment in your mind that’s so fragile. The thoughts hallucinates you, of realism, of aspirations, or in most cases related to stress induced fear, anxiety etc. Though the thoughts of future are not concrete, they can get shattered immediately once your current environment changes. Simple correlation would be, when you are on a vacation on Mauritius beach, you live in a scenic environment. Most of the time, you would visualize your life being beautiful and even planning as to how it would it be, when you plan to live by a beautiful seashore. The moment your vacation gets over, you come back to reality. With in few days, you totally forget about the future lifestyle that you were building as pack of cards at Mauritius. The future thoughts when captured and held properly can turnout to become beautiful seashells. But mostly we leave those to fall and they vanish with time.

The dead stage of seashell are the one’s where they get pushed into the seashore. These are scattered all over on the seashore. In this stage, the mussels or the oyster or the clam have died either full-filling their journey or failing along its course. They become the remnants of the past. Similarly the thoughts of the past are the dead stage. The reason is, in no way we can go and correct the course. The one that happened as good, are to be rejoiced while the bad ones are just a scar, an experience. But never to dwell in those for long, because they don’t drive you forward. They just hold you.

Formation of a pearl. Referrence Natgeo Wild.

The life stage is where the pearls are made. Pearls are formed naturally when an irritant – in general a parasite – gets into an oyster, mussel, or clam. In order to protect similar to a defense mechanism, a fluid coats the irritant. It’s called as ‘nacre’ as it is coated layer upon layer. It’s deposited once a shining pearl is formed. Your present thoughts are similar to those. The irritants are like your hardships. The more you focus on the current one in hand, you will gain results. The results can be simple work completion, to a happy dinner with family or a time by yourself in the evening watching the sunset.

Life is a mixture of all these stages. All these thoughts. You cannot do away with one another. They are here to stay. The present thought in the current moments keeps you in the moment. The future when aligned with the present, helps you to work your way up. Grab your steps in a planned way to reach your goal. The past can be just a guiding force, when its an experience. The more the present, it keeps you at the peace and with a percentage of future should act as a guiding force to reach your goal. The past has to be minimalistic. When you forget about your past, you are bound to repeat your mistakes again.

Above all, the only thing you have to heal is the present thought. Get that right and the whole picture will change into one of harmony and joy.

Eckhart Tolle

optimism, Personal Excellence, Teamwork

Repeat your thoughts to actions

Actions speak louder than words. The phrase that we had heard multiple times. The phrase that had grown with us, irrespective of our understanding about the same. Have you ever looked into your actions? What made you to act? What pushed you to perform a task?

As you deep dive into this, you would understand that, its your thoughts. Think about a simple scenario. Cleaning of your house. There is an upcoming long holiday. You would have said to yourself, that you would clean the house during that time. You would have repeated the same with your family members or friends, whomever you share you accommodation with. If you had been staying alone, like me, you would say it to yourself.

When the holiday comes, you would feel bit lazy. You would think, let me do it tomorrow. But suddenly, when you think that you would clean the house, which you had said to yourself, you quickly swing into action. The action is a result of your repeated thoughts. Thus, once you had cleaned your house, you feel a sense of fulfillment. It clearly proves, that when you repeat your thoughts again and again, it gets into action. This remains the same across any field. In a relationship, the heated arguments happen just because of the repeated thoughts that ran in our brain. That’s the reason, we burst out one fine day. Similarly, politicians and media uses the same strategy to repeat their agenda or advertisement again and again. This gets registered and connected in our life as thoughts. When there is a call to action like supporting a cause or buying a product, these thoughts quickly push us to action. Thats when you buy a specific brand of chocolate or that ticket to support a cause.

When you have a work to do or task to complete, visualize the same as an end result. How that task would benefit you or your office upon completion? How much workload for that, day would have got reduced. The moment you happened to do so, you would have realised that the one which you procrastinated during the first half of the day, you would start to work in the second half post that coffee. We attribute it to the coffee, which made you brisk to complete the task. But actually, it’s the thought that got that spark in your subconscious mind to get the job done. Coffee was just an instrument. Had you been drinking tea, it would have been tea too.

Your only limit is your thoughts. The way you think, defines your action.