“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions
in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system
can result in large differences in a later state.” ~ Wikipedia
Many people feel powerless to effectuate a meaningful change in the world. It is easy to understand why. It appears that there are forces in the world that are beyond the individual’s ability to influence. Geopolitical events unfold with or without our agreement. Global economic influences appear monolithic. Masses of people go about their daily lives according to the dictates or expectations of societal norms. There is this incredible momentum of history seemingly determining how the future unfolds beyond the ability of any one individual to affect. Effectuating meaningful change often seems to be almost impossible to imagine, let alone accomplish.
And yet, there are countless examples of one person’s ideas and actions being responsible for massive changes in human society and having substantial influence in the direction the future unfolds. Rosa Parks. Ibn al-Haytham. Nicola Tesla. Huda Shaarawi. Tim Berners-Lee. Francesco Petrarca. Plato. Max Planck.
And, Bucky Fuller, who used the allegory of the trim tab in an interview with Playboy Magazine.
In response to the interviewer’s question about how we can live with “a sense of the individual’s impotence to affect events, to improve or even influence our own welfare, let alone that of society,” Fuller offers his magnificent metaphor:
“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Elizabeth — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. The rudder pulls the ship around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, ‘Call me Trim Tab.’
“The truth is that you get the low pressure to do things, rather than getting on the other side and trying to push the bow of the ship around. And you build that low pressure by getting rid of a little nonsense, getting rid of things that don’t work and aren’t true until you start to get that trim-tab motion. It works every time. That’s the grand strategy you’re going for. So I’m positive that what you do with yourself, just the little things you do yourself, these are the things that count. To be a real trim tab, you’ve got to start with yourself, and soon you’ll feel that low pressure, and suddenly things begin to work in a beautiful way. Of course, they happen only when you’re dealing with really great integrity.”
The Butterfly Effect posits that even something as simple as the movement of a butterfly’s wings in the Amazon jungle can affect the weather a thousand miles away and something as seemingly innocuous as a smile given to a stranger can have a profound effect on the way that the world unfolds. Imagine your power if you were to go about doing that intentionally and with great integrity instead of accidentally or happenstantially.
“The hundredth monkey effect is a hypothetical phenomenon in which a new behaviour or idea is claimed to spread rapidly by unexplained means from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group exhibit the new behaviour or acknowledge the new idea.”
In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus published a book that challenged the accepted idea of Geocentrism and proposed that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe. Despite the initial resistance from most of the population and the overt suppression of his idea by the church, eventually that idea came to be accepted as true. It was not. But it expanded our view and changed our perspective. For more about that, see my post, A Matter of Perspective.
Advertising agencies and other social engineers know that it is possible to inject an infectious idea into the minds of a significant proportion of society and change not just the belief systems of people, but their behaviour. One of my favourite examples of how an idea gets so embedded in cultural norms, is antiperspirant. It took millions of years of evolution for human beings to develop the ability to self-regulate body temperature through perspiration. Today, a substantial percentage of the population applies antiperspirant to attempt to negate that ability. They do it without thinking. Why? Because advertisers convinced people that sweating is a negative that needs to be counteracted and now, it is a accepted societal norm to use deodorants or antiperspirants; and; people ignore the fact that antiperspirant is an endocrine disrupter and is a causal agent in breast and lymphoma cancers. The idea became infectious and changed people’s beliefs and behaviour. It has become a meme.
Each of us has the ability to create infectious ideas and intentionally insert them into the collective consciousness of humanity n order to influence how people think and behave. With the advent of the Internet and the rise of Social Media, each of us has the potential to become an influencer, a change agent, a transformative force.
As I wrote in my post, Reflections, “By learning to inject idea viruses into the collective consciousness of humanity via the World Wide Web, you cannot not only impact the future evolution of humanity’s evolving mindset or cultural mythos but you can also contribute to how a new cybernetic global consciousness develops and you can expand your own ability to become more, to transform from mere creature to conscious creator.”
“In the 1960s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described a paranormal effect claiming a significant number of individuals (1% of the people in a given area) practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) could have an effect on the local environment. This hypothetical influence was later termed the Maharishi Effect. ~ Wikipedia
So now, we see that one individual can intentionally influence the beliefs and behaviours of other people and even whole societies by simply spreading infectious ideas. Social and political movements get created by influencers like Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rachel Carson and Brandon Straka.
Groups of like-minded people can have even more influence. As Margaret Mead reminded us, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
In 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi predicted that one percent of a population practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique would produce measurable improvements in the quality of life for the whole population. Subsequent studies have proven that to be true.
Lynne McTaggert is is working with leading physicists and psychologists from the University of Arizona, Princeton University, the International Institute of Biophysics, Cambridge University and the Institute of Noetic Sciences with a series of ongoing intention experiments that have shown that a group of people can have a measurable effect on people, plants and water who are located on the other side of the world.
Dr. Masaro Emoto has demonstrated that intentions can dramatically affect the structure of water molecules. When you consider that human beings are mostly made of water, the implications are profound.
In short, even without looking at the ramifications of the understandings gleaned from quantum mechanics, we can see that purposeful, directed consciousness can produce tangible and measurable affects on the events and circumstances that occur in our world. The synergistic power of intentional and focussed like-minded people can change the world.
“In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence occurs when “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” meaning the whole has properties its parts do not have. These properties come about because of interactions among the parts.” ~ Wikipedia
It appears that the world around us is in a state of chaos and crisis. Old geo-political systems are crumbling. Old institutional systems are failing. Old paradigms are falling apart. Old ways of thinking no longer serve to solve the chaotic problems we appear to be undergoing and the crisis seems beyond our ability to control or navigate.
But – consider this metaphor: As the caterpillar is approaching the end of its life, it feels like it is in crisis. And so it weaves its own burial shroud called a chrysalis and dissolves into complete chaos. All of its old cellular structure dies. Then, a miracle happens. Imaginal cells begin to form in that chaos and soon the butterfly emerges. The creature that was once limited to crawling on the ground can now soar high above the ground and feed on the golden nectar of flowers. It has exactly the same DNA, but it has been transformed. A metamorphosis has occurred.
The science of it all is amazing: The caterpillar lives a life of ravenous consumption then finds a place to build its cocoon. Inside this chrysalis,the caterpillar, unable to move, dissolves into organic goop. Cells, which had been dormant in the caterpillar, and which biologists had the poetic genius to name “Imaginal cells,” begin a process of creating a new form and structure.
At first, these seeds of future potential, the imaginal cells which contain the blueprint of the butterfly, operate independently as single-cell organisms. They are regarded as threats and are attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system. But they persist, multiply, and connect with each other. Eventually, these imaginal cells form clusters and begin resonating at the same frequency and start passing information back and forth until they hit a tipping point. Suddenly, they start acting, not as discrete individual cells, but as a multi-cell organism… and a butterfly is born.
The truly miraculous thing is that even though there is NO structural similarity at all between a caterpillar and a butterfly, the DNA is exactly the same.
Imagine this:: Each of us has within us our own imaginal cells; AND each of us is, in turn, an imaginal cell within human society. Our apparent crisis is actually giving birth to a new world, a new culture and a new stage of human development.
Are you ready to emerge from your cocoon? Are you willing to have your personal imaginal cells ignited? Are you willing to become an imaginal cell within the body of humanity and serve to create the new human? This is an invitation to soar into your greatness and your power to transform the way the world envisions and creates the future.
The world needs your greatness, your creativity, your contribution. It is time to step into that greater you. Come experience profound personal transformation and connect with like minded people from around the world. You have known that this moment was coming. Now, it is here. Everything you have already experienced has led you to this moment. Your choice point.
This is an invitation to soar into your greatness and your power to transform the way the world envisions and creates the future. Join me in creating a bigger, better future for each and all of us. We can and we will.
Become the butterfly effect. Exit your cocoon. Step Into Your Greatness.