It's been theorized that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Asia, could start a chain reaction of causes and effects that might result in devastating tornadoes in Texas. The point is to suggest that one cause has not one effect, but ultimately will change everything. It's an awesome hypothesis to ponder... the far-reaching consequences of the choices we make.

Do you believe that the changes you make to your own reality, will eventually (or even immediately in some metaphysical way) cause changes in everyone's reality? If so, what are the implications to considering what choices we should make, or should we not worry about it?

asked 21 Oct '09, 07:56

John's gravatar image


An example - a smile and making someone laugh who was looking tense or miserable can dramatically affect how that person deals with their day, and their problems and the next person they encounter, and that ripple effect continues too. The same as rudeness and the effect that has in the other direction - say in traffic. I have watched it - we all have if we think about it, just as we have been on the receiving end of it too and passed THAT on. Being polite to another road user, especially when it is unexpected, makes people more aware of their effect on others. Being rude to another road user tends to leave them with the desire for revenge on the next poor hapless person they encounter.

This principle can be extended to all other areas of our lives ... :>)


answered 22 Oct '09, 01:42

Rebecca's gravatar image


edited 22 Oct '09, 02:42

Really like your answer. This is what I try to practice daily kindness and empathy. Well said Rebecca

(22 Oct '09, 07:57) Wanda

I see this as akin to does throwing a pebble into a calm pond affect the entire pond. We see the ripples flow outwards to the very edges just for a pebble no bigger than a quarter plunked into the water. Now if we look at millionaires that were once homeless and penniless, how they raised them selves up out of that despair to become giants we need to think have they influenced any others to change their lives too? Yes many, and had they not changed their lives what would have become of all the others experiencing desperate times ready to give up that were influenced by them to likewise raise up to great heights? As the ripples flow in the pond growing so does the influence because these others influence still others that never even knew of the original inspiration.

However it has to also be looked on this is not water a flat surface the influence is in many directions, perhaps the now wealthy man wants a house built and a man is starting a construction building company but can't quite get started since he hasn't the money. The wealthy man hires him and his company and the next thing he knows his company is taking off, he makes money for the project and others see his work and hire him too. He goes on to build a college for under privileged people to learn from and from this college comes a man that solves world hunger.

If we stop to think of quotes we use today, those started hundreds even thousands of years ago but how many more so things do we pass on that go nameless, no one gets credit but the wisdom is passed on for many generations to come?

I believe everything does affect everything, we live in a world of Determinism not Predestination this determinism is even one of the Seven Laws, it says everything we think say or do determines an affect of everything we experience, and more everything determines everything else.

Edit update 8/8/12

I have just watched a movie that expresses this perfectly. The movie is called "Gifted Hands" staring Kimberly Elise and Cuba Gooding Jr. In the movie, there is a real hero, the mother Sonya Carson (Kimberly Elise), that sees the path her children are heading on. She then decides to make a difference. Does she ever make a difference in her children's lives! The story is mainly about her one son Ben Carson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) that goes on to become a brain surgeon, the top pediatric brain surgeon in the world at Johns Hopkins no less! This man saves many lives everyday and it is all because his mother decided she did not want her children to turn out like her. She had a huge secret- she never learned to read. She was determined to make a difference in her children because of her own embarrassment about not being able to read. So she put her foot down on their laziness, and changed her parenting. In doing thus, she changed the world. She herself wasn't finished learning, as she learned to read herself as well.

She was suicidal when her children were young! Imagine if she had killed herself, all those people that her son Ben Carson saved would have never been saved. All the lives he changed would have never been changed! His mother made a difference not only for herself and her sons, but the world.

We are all affecting the world everyday and the ripples of what we do affect the world through time. We may think that we can't make much of a difference or "I'm only one person. what can I do?" In this movie, her son thought he was stupid at the beginning of the movie, that he would amount to nothing, that he had no future, the best brain surgeon on earth! Everything we do counts, everything we do, say or think has an impact, an affect.

We need to think is this moment, "Am I creating God's Kingdom, or am I creating the devil's kingdom?" We are constantly creating and this sends out ripples through time of our creations. Who knows those people that he had saved some may have gone on to save others they at the least have been an inspiration of hope to many that are going through the same thing. If we are encouraging and believing in each other that we can make it, we can do it, we can achieve it, we are creating God's Kingdom not only for each other but those we affect and those they affect and those they affect ad infinitum.

One last thing this movie would have never existed if his mother had killed herself. One person does count and make a difference. This post would not have existed had she killed herself, and your influence from this post as well.

The ripples just go on and on and on and on.


answered 21 Oct '09, 14:42

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 08 Aug '12, 12:52

It is even in the plain conventional science point of view that even the slightest flap of a butterfly wing will always, inevitably cause an effect on our whole planet, and yes, even the entire universe.

It is only the degree of impact that is to differ. It can be immeasurably low, or, when things come together (e.g. other butterfly flappings building up momentum), creating tornados which might destroy the whole planet which may affect the balance of our solar system which in turn affects the path of our sun, that then has an effect on our galaxy and so on. Everything is just a question of probability.

Everything is connected with everything. That would make equations utterly, endlessly complex. That's why science breaks down the things they want to observe into their models.

What does that mean for the individual choices that we make? Some actions may have weak, some may have great impact, depending on the momentums of our environment. That's why sometimes we're just in the right time and the right place, and sometimes not. I guess we can learn this though. We can learn by watching the cause and effect of our actions, but even when we have become wisest about them, we will still be faced with unforeseen surprises. Whether we perceive them as good or bad for us depends solely on your own judgement.


answered 21 Oct '09, 11:30

herzmeister's gravatar image


"It is even in the plain conventional science point of view that even the slightest flap of a butterfly wing will always, inevitably cause an effect on our whole planet, and yes, even the entire universe." Can you point to a source confirming this statement? I am just curious :)

(21 Oct '09, 11:42) Toshiro

The wikipedia article is surely a good entry point.

I'm solely trying to point out further that everything is a question of probability. There is no such thing as "absolute zero no effect" as the universe is a dynamical system, and there's nothing that you can consider as being isolated, because there is always some kind of inter-exchange going on. That's why in any experiment in physics you will have deviations, which might have been caused by a butterfly around the world, etc...

You're welcome to further discuss.

(21 Oct '09, 13:28) herzmeister

The significance of the butterfly effect (aka "sensitive dependence on initial conditions") is not that the flapping of a butterfly's wings is Asia can cause tornado's in Texas. Its true significance is that such an effect cannot be predicted (or controlled) with any accuracy.

Edward Lorenz built a mathematical model of the way air moves around in the atmosphere. As Lorenz studied weather patterns he began to realize that they did not always change as predicted. Minute variations in the initial values of variables in his twelve variable computer weather model (c. 1960) would result in grossly divergent weather patterns.

In other words, Lorenz demonstrated that weather is chaotic.

We have long labored under the assumption that, with enough computing power, we would be able to predict the weather on any given day months, perhaps years, in advance. Lorenz was able to show that, beyond a few days, accurate weather forecasts (and weather control) are impossible.

Yet we still have the ability to choose.

It's hard to imagine how you could possibly take credit (or blame) for a profound unintended effect on someone six degrees removed from you. It's nice when it happens in a positive way, though. A kind word, a note of appreciation, a simple gesture can change someone's life. When you live a live of positive moral character, you create a ripple effect that touches everyone around you.


answered 21 Oct '09, 19:43

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 21 Oct '09, 23:09

Try to read Malcom Gladwell's "The Tipping Point".

"The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate......." from "The Tipping Point,how little things can make a big difference" by Malcom Gladwell


answered 22 Oct '09, 06:20

Celine's gravatar image


edited 22 Oct '09, 06:26

From the beginning of time, we watch and learn and evolve from being effected by our environment.

from the book "The Hundredth Monkey" by Ken Keyes, jr. You can look at the whole book Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes. THEN IT HAPPENED! By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

the story goes that it spread across the sea and continues on and on.

The same principals of the ripple effect, and butterfly effect. We do effect each other. Its better to spread love by random acts of kindness than hate filled actions. Blessed Be


answered 22 Oct '09, 06:59

Wanda's gravatar image


No, one person reality can not effects everyone reality but I do know a change in one person reality effects others for everything you do effects another in some little way or big way so that is why you have to think and make wise choices and that is where free will comes into play. You have an choice.

Now the good or the bad we do in life on an grand scale yes can effect a lot of people's reality but I don't think it will effect everyone. The only one that can do that would be God for he has the power to send an ripple effect into the human beings and effect everyone as he did when Jesus Christ died on the cross for all of our sins so everyone had the opportunity to be saved.

Eve and Adam effect everyone reality didn't they from one generation to another.

I am glad no one person reality outside of God can effect everyone's else reality. Effect some but not everyone.


answered 21 Oct '09, 20:52

flowingwater's gravatar image


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