Bullet With Butterfly Wings

Last night I found out someone I used to know murdered his parents.  As I moved past the natural sadness experienced from such revelations, I began to wonder what would drive such a nice guy to commit such attrocities.  And the more I thought about it, I began to think about the butterfly effect.

When most people hear the words ‘butterfly effect, they think of one of two things.  For some, it’s the Ashton Kutcher movie where Amy Smart tries to blow him for cash.  For those who aren’t impressed by Kuther’s chiseled, Adonis-like good looks…   they think of it as a conequence of time travel, best illustrated by that episode of the Simpsons where Homer uses his Toaster/ Time-Machine to accidentally crush a prehistoric mosquito and end up in a world where donuts don’t exist.  (It’s a well known fact that the existence of paleolithic insects is integral to the “glaze factor”.)

The term Buttefly Effect refers to the idea that the motion created from the flapping of a butterfly’s wings will eventually develop into a tsunami on the other side of the world.  Small events affect bigger events.   The butterfly effect isn’t about time travel, at least not in practice.  It’s about continuity and world community.

Everything you do has a consequence, both intended in singular, and unintended in countless multitdes.  You are part of an endless, invisible chain that shifts every time you scratch your ass.  

A college girl dumps her boyfriend.  He gets drunk at a party and gets in his car, crashin headfirst into the car of a woman on her way to her mother’s house after fighting with her husband.  She and her unborn child are killed instantly.  The boy goes to jail for twenty years.   The woman’s husband never forgives himself and dies alone.  An entire family line is wiped out.

A man eats bacon everyday for thirty years.  He lives to see his grandson born.  The man dies of heart disease.  His life in surance funds the boy’s college.  He eventually makes great strides in the treatment of heart disease.   The grandson’s discoveries save the life of  a man who eventually builds a worldwide peace organization.

Two kids get bullied constantly for being different.  One day they bring assault rifles to school and murder a dozens people, many being innocents.

The structure of events that led to you brushing your teeth this morning is so complex that if you live to be a thousand, you could not hope to begin to fathom the equation.

Point is, we need each other.  We are a community.  We don’t realize it.  We don’t act like it.  But we are. And I’m not some tree-hugging hippie telling you all we need it love.

I’m just saying that we better start changing the way we do business.  Stop being so damn self-absorbed.  And teach our kids better than we have.  Because if we don’t, we’re not just doomed as a species.  We’re doomed as human beings.


4 responses to this post.

  1. I can’t argue with that, and I like it even more considering you’re SO not a tree hugging, “all we need is love”er.


  2. Yep I agree with that. Somehow we have to stop seeing and fearing the differences and looking for commonalities. That’s what will save us. Like it or not, we are all the same species and are stuck here on this spinning rock, together.


    • Well, sure. But that wasn’t really my point. What I’m saying is that our actions have unintended consequences. And as a people, we need to understand this if we are to survive.


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