Elisabeth Pearson Waugaman Ph.D.

"What's in a Name?"

What Does the Butterfly Effect Offer You?

What matters most? The surprising answer.

Posted May 05, 2015

Recently scientists discovered that trauma is passed on from one generation to the next not only psychologically but also physiologically, an invaluable, but depressing, discovery, which means trauma, is even more difficult to treat than we realized. This is the glass half empty.

What is the glass half full? The answer may lie in the butterfly effect, the discovery that initial conditions can have disproportionately large effects over time—e.g. the beating of butterfly wings.  “A butterfly beating its wings in South America can affect the weather in Central Park.” Imagine then, the effect of one act of kindness that allows for another and yet another, linking all of us in ways we never imagined. If we could tabulate the ramifications, they would be as startling as that of the butterfly effect. Even a small act of consideration may reverberate beyond anything we might imagine. What do we take away from this? Perhaps that it is the small acts of of empathy that spin the web that holds everything together—what we do everyday is more important than what we do once in awhile.

Recently, meterologists made a startling discovery about monarch butterflies—a discovery for which they have no explanation. Monarchs migrate in a gigantic cluster that forms the shape of a butterfly. The implications of this discovery are startling. Could it be that, like small fish, the monarchs gather together to form a large group that looks like a very large, inedible, butterfly? If this is the case, like small fish, butterflies have a sense of their identity. What is the message for us?

If fish and butterflies unite for safety in numbers, surely humans have the same ability; but, instead, we divide ourselves into myriad groups that take precedence over our humanity. We need to relearn that to survive, we have to be united. With the butterfly effect, we can be.

 Migrating Monarch butterflies
Source: The Hoops News: Migrating Monarch butterflies

More Posts