The Butterfly Effect – Cause & Effect

August 19, 2018 0 By Donna Wuerch

The Butterfly Effect phrase is attributed to a mild-mannered meteorology professor at MIT, Edward Lorenz. He simply entered numbers into a computer program simulating weather patterns and then left his office to get a cup of coffee while the computer crunched away. When he returned, he noticed a result that would change the course of science. The computer’s results led Lorenz to a powerful insight that flapping of wings could move molecules of air in a chain reaction that can set off a storm a world away. The idea came to be known as the “butterfly effect” after Lorenz suggested: small actions can have large consequences.

That’s astounding. The gentle, subdued and graceful flapping of a butterfly’s wings could produce way more than that butterfly’s enjoyment of a flower’s nectar. Doesn’t that make us wonder what the effects of an angry bull charging its victim might produce?

Thinking about this theory reminded me of Isaac Newton’s laws of physics. I’m not a physics scholar by any means but I do know his law of cause and effect. For example, if we know that sending love to someone will make us feel loved, then we can take the first step to end the cycle of loneliness by sending out love to someone else. And, if we know that tolerance towards others will create a situation where others are tolerant towards us, then we can try and be more understanding and begin healing a difficult personal relationship.

The “butterfly effect” and the theory of cause and effect makes me think about the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) I began to think about the effect that others have had on me and in particular, my Mom who modeled faith in many times of crisis. She influenced me with her behavior. The “flapping of her wings” created an effect that wasn’t a storm – but a storm chaser.

What about the effect that someone, or some incident, has had on your life? Think about those influences that made you who you are today. Maybe watching your single Mom work several jobs to give you the best education and now, look at you: you’re making tremendous sacrifices to give your children the best education. In fact, you may be seeing the butterfly effect on your grandchildren because your children were so impacted by your life of commitment and dedication to what you believed in most.

We can trace back farther into the past and see that each person’s action has far-reaching effects into the future whether he or she knows it or not. The action of alcoholism in a parent may have effected alcoholism in his children or that honorable, faithful, and loving parent may have created honorable, devoted and loving children and grandchildren.

We were created by God to make a difference in the world. Our actions, whether good or bad, will impact lives in a chain of events. What we do with our lives matters forever. May we choose wisely how we live. We could be the “cause and effect” that turns the tide in someone’s life. Just a pebble in the water can set the sea in motion — a simple act of kindness could stir someone’s life to greatness. Our lives matter.

If we show a little love — heaven knows what we could change if we lived by asking ourselves “What effect am I having on those around me? A storm or being a storm chaser?” This world may never be the same — because of our “BUTTERFLY” effect.

The Butterfly Effect phrase is attributed to a mild-mannered meteorology professor at MIT, Edward Lorenz. He simply entered numbers into a computer program simulating weather patterns and then left his office to get a cup of coffee while the computer crunched away. When he returned, he noticed a result that would change the course of science. The computer’s results led Lorenz to a powerful insight into the way nature works: small changes can have large consequences. The idea came to be known as the “butterfly effect” after Lorenz suggested that the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado.

That’s amazing. The gentle, subdued and graceful flapping of a butterfly’s wings can produce way more than that butterfly’s enjoyment of a flower’s nectar. That flapping of wings can move molecules of air in a chain reaction that can set off a storm a world away. Doesn’t that make us wonder what the effects of an angry bull charging its victim might produce?

Learning this theory reminded me of Isaac Newton’s laws of physics. I’m not a physics scholar by any means but I do know his law of cause and effect. For example, if we know that sending love to someone will make us feel loved, then we can take the first step to end the cycle of loneliness by sending out love to someone else. And, if we know that tolerance towards others will create a situation where others are tolerant towards us, then we can try and be more understanding and begin healing a difficult personal relationship.

As I thought about the butterfly effect and the theory of cause and effect I couldn’t help but think about the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12) I began to think about the effect that others have had on me and in particular, my Mom who modeled faith in many times of crisis. She influenced me with her behavior. The “flapping of her wings” created an effect that wasn’t a storm – but a storm chaser.

What about the effect that someone, or some incident, has had on your life? Think about those influences that made you who you are today. Maybe watching your single Mom work several jobs to give you the best education and now, look at you — you’re making tremendous sacrifices to give your children the best education. In fact, you may be seeing the butterfly effect on your grandchildren because your children were so impacted by your life of commitment and dedication to what you believed in the most.

We can keep tracing back farther and farther into the past and see that each person’s action has far-reaching effects into the future whether he or she knows it or not. That alcoholic parent may have created alcoholism in his children and that strong, honorable, faithful, devoted and loving parent may have created strong, devoted and loving children and grandchildren.

We were created by God to make a difference in the world. Our actions, whether good or bad, will impact lives in a chain of events. What we do with our lives matters forever. May we choose wisely how we live. We could be the “effect” that turns the tide in someone’s life. Just a pebble in the water can set the sea in motion — a simple act of kindness could stir someone’s life to greatness. Our lives matter.

If we show a little love — heaven knows what we could change if we lived by “What effect am I having on those around me? A storm or being a storm chaser. This world may never be the same — because of our BUTTERFLY effect.