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  • Vishnu Chakravarti

The Butterfly Effect

Originating from chaos theory, the theory of the butterfly effect sets the basis for time travel, time-streams, and every other science fiction movie you have probably watched.

The butterfly effect is the theory that seemingly inconsequential things like kicking a rock or killing an ant unknowingly can have non-linear impacts on a higher system. The concept is based on a butterfly causing a cyclone by just flapping its wings.

Now a butterfly couldn’t possibly cause a cyclone in a realistic situation but the theory indicates that the butterfly is a catalyst to cause the said storm. As an unpredictable variable, the butterfly may slowly change the course of the future.

For example, in a situation where a time traveler goes back in time and changes a minor detail, the effects could be cataclysmic. In the sense that if he changes the course of a bird so that it collides into a plane, causing a series of mishaps and great destruction, all because he decided to leave his set timeline.

Each variable of the butterfly also has its split streams where every time it decides a new course of action, it is capable of forming an entirely new stream of equally endless possibilities. The said butterfly could alter a person’s entire future on a superficial level.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorologist Edward Lorenz was the creator of this mind-boggling theory, once you understand the theory, you get an interesting insight into its implications. Lorenz stressed the fact that there was no exact way of knowing what tipped a particular system. The butterfly simply represented an unknown, unpredictable quantity.

In a way, the butterfly effect is humbling. It shows us the endless possibilities and the power of an insect to probably change the world. This also shows us that making assumptions in complex calculations can be almost fatal. We like to think that fate or destiny has a plan for us or that we exercise entire control over our future or even powerful systems such as the economy, yet the butterfly theory exactly states that we cannot. If we try and predict the future of ourselves as catalysts in the future, we only set ourselves up in a trap. This is precisely the reason why we should strive to be the best version of ourselves, no matter what, because come what may, we know that we did our best and a butterfly cannot begin to come in our way for our bright futures

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