The Butterfly Effect

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the butterfly effect, it is the belief that even the smallest of actions can have a major impact later on down the line — for example, the flap of a butterfly’s wings in one area giving rise to a tornado thousands of miles away.

Now, think about how many times we have flapped our wings to end up where we are today. Think about how many things had to go right and how many more things had to go wrong for us to wind up where we are today. It’s crazy to think that even the smallest of our decisions can impact us in ways that we might not even be fully aware of — that for every path we take, there is an equally viable alternative that we just choose not to pursue.

Thinking about this, however, can make one go crazy overthinking every small decision that they have to make. So while I think it’s an intriguing exercise to go through the “what ifs,”  I also think that it’s crucial to remember that whatever decision we make will be the right one — even if for no other reason than because that’s the one that we made.

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  1. I think this is a very comforting thought when applied to the course of our individual, day-to-day lives. But what about those decisions that affect more than just us or are very negative? Can they still be considered “the right one” if they contribute greatly to individual or mass suffering? One might say, “they are right, because you will learn from the decision and not do the bad thing in the future.” But is that enough of a justification? Especially, what if you don’t learn from it? Like big global warming deniers or neo-Nazis, whose decisions/line of thinking are fundamentally wrong.

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