A powerful metaphor, linked to butterfly, can make a difference in our world at the threshold of change! Everyone has heard about the butterfly effect. From physicists and biologists to philosophers and artists; from politicians and economists to teachers or spiritual leaders we receive a message of hope and empowerment related to the butterfly effect: We live in an open world, in a world in construction! Our decisions and actions really matter! The evolution of humanity depends on each of us. The world evolves and we can participate in this co-creation.
The Chaos Theory is not just a theory of physics (seen as a separate field of research) but a new understanding that revives today all mankind, giving new meaning and a new boost to create a new civilization. It opens a horizon full of hope and action. Chaos Theory emphasizes that the Universe and human society are open systems. In any open system lies hidden potential for evolution, surprise and unpredictable. Any human organization will have henceforth to incorporate this potential. The world is not just a mechanism in which people are worthless cogs that can be replaced by other identical cogs. We each have a value! Which can produce surprises that can change the balance! We no longer live in a predictable world that is caused only by controllable factors: almost invisible factors, such as the action of a small group of people, can produce major changes.
The Chaos Theory explains how natural and social systems self-organize, remodeling continuously, always in dynamic equilibrium, thus being able to evolve and adapt to the continuous onslaught of environmental disturbances from outside or inside. An open system continuously receives many external and internal disturbances and is able to integrate them. And so is able to remain relatively stable as long as the disturbances does not exceed a certain threshold. When the level of disturbances exceeds the tolerance threshold, called bifurcation point, the system reaches to the edge. If it still adds a small additional perturbation, the system will switch to a different behavior called chaotic, in comparison with the anterior state of relative stability and predictability.
When open systems undergo powerful perturbations they change and evolve.
Reaching the point of bifurcation is called crisis – social or personal. In times of crisis, changes can happen. In the bifurcation point, people must face the challenge of their choices. To continue going forward we need to find alternative solutions and the courage to step differently. The crisis is when the old solutions are no longer viable. Personal choices make all the difference and fascination of the human world.
In critical conditions, the cyclical propagation of small perturbations can radically change the system. Meteorologist Edward Lorenz emphasized this in 1960 when his calculations demonstrated how a small perturbation in the initial data of the forecast weather system had major effects on the final results. When we talk about a system that has reached a point of bifurcation, even the beating wings of a butterfly can radically change the system! Ancient Chinese have drawn attention to the interconnections between all things saying that beating wings of a butterfly can change events that happen on the other side of the world.
In Chaos Theory “butterfly effect” symbolizes the extreme sensitivity of open systems in their bifurcation points. The slightest intervention can produce major changes, can push the system toward a different reorganization. This is why the butterfly became a symbol that reminds us that in our open world our decisions and actions really matter and can make a difference!
Until recently we represent the world only as a domain of order and certainty. The uncontrollable and unpredictability were thrown into the trash. Today the unsuspected complexity and its potentiality is seen as an essential element of evolution. Today we understand that we can not control everything and the best for us would be to integrate the unexpected into our lives. We must develop the capacity of self-government to can live in a world full of unpredictability and potential. Until now, in the Old Story mentality, we understood ourselves only as observers and cogs in the mechanism. Now, in the emerging New Story, we see ourselves as living partners of a living world, free living beings who have something to say in the creation of the environment around us.
The stability of our social organizations will not appear from some fundamental assumptions imposed us from the top, but from down to top, from our choices and actions. Our personal choices will lead to the evolution of our world one way or another. If we choose partnership we will evolve in one direction, both as human beings and as a society. If we choose mistrust and competition will evolve in another direction. Our small actions, attitudes, choices, feedback cycles that we initiate, consciously or not, influences this great system. Dynamic balance that will spring from these millions of personal action depends on us, since we are partakers of this system. When the conscious actions of a group of people are pointing in the same direction they can change the system order. It reaches that point, on the edge, when small causes lead to big effects. The butterfly image reminds us that our universe is under construction. That our decisions and actions really matter!
“Never doubt that a small group of determined people can change the world! This is the only way that the world has changed so far! “- Margaret Mead