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The Butterfly Effect

The idea that everything is connected becomes most interesting when applied to ourselves. For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your own Butterfly Effect.

  • Ready to write? Each Tuesday, we’ll provide a theme. Publish a new post on your blog interpreting the weekly theme. Create a pingback to this week’s challenge to share your post with the community. Learn More.

I found my dog outside of the animal receiving center for Animal Care and Control in the Bronx.

It was my first time in the Bronx and I was going for an interview with a nearby doctor. At the time, I was continuing research on my undergraduate thesis in Medical Anthropology, which had brought me to a family practice in the area.

As I walked over to the doctor’s office, I noticed two dogs tied to the scaffolding, as if their owners had just stepped inside a store nearby. The two sat there patiently, waiting, like any other dog who loyally followed along on errands. Yet, when I walked by after my interview, the dogs were still there, and a crowd had gathered.

After a few phone calls to the ASPCA and city shelter, the dogs were brought into Manhattan to go through the process of adoption. The terrified, black and white puppy made quite an impression on me and later that week, I went to pick him up, adopting him myself.

Getting a dog prompted a lot of changes for me, from getting a new job, to moving, to just a general sense of happiness and companionship. While I can’t imagine life without my dog now, I often think about all the small pieces that needed to come together for me to find him that day. One small change, like a rescheduled interview, and he may never have crossed my path.

One Small Change

Do you think everything is connected? Many philosophers, writers, and spiritual guides have claimed that it is. One small change in our day-to-day routines and decisions could add up to alter the trajectory of our lives.

Is it likely to suddenly be discovered as a movie star by turning left instead of right on your usual route to work? Probably not. However, my limited understanding of Chaos Theory, and the commonly known Butterfly Effect, seems to indicate that these small, otherwise overlooked elements could later carry weight as events unfold.

In the Butterfly Effect, initial conditions that exist all play a part in happenings that progress around us. To describe its namesake example, the flap of a butterfly’s wings, one scientist proposed, could affect the course of a hurricane, in addition to all of the other existing conditions at that time: weather, location, winds, and the like. Nothing, it would seem, is too small to have a profound impact on the world.

The Challenge

The idea that everything is connected becomes most interesting when applied to ourselves. Those small, ‘What if?’s suddenly take on grandiose proportions and the possibilities are endless, for the better or for the worse.

For this week’s writing challenge, tell us about your own Butterfly Effect. What’s one small change that could have happened in your life, and how could that have affected everything that you know? To take things further, you can also:

Imagine all of the steps needed to get the seedlings for these two into that exact place.

Imagine all of the steps needed to get the seedlings for these two into that exact place.

  • Forget the trope of traveling backwards in time, travel into the future and explore one decision you’ve made today that might have a huge effect on your life in 10, 20, 30 years.
  • The concept of everything being connected — or everything being one — can be pretty emotionally invigorating for some. Do you think everything and everyone is connected? How do you relate to that idea?
  • Take things to a grander scale. Imagine one small change in the history of the planet, and venture into some science fiction about how things would be different. Similarly, conjure up a few characters and, in your tale, explore how one’s activity may relate to another, and so on.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with, and the domino effect as you inspire others to participate!

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  1. One small change actually did occur that affected everything I am today. Right place right time and years later I found myself living in a different country! I’ve thought about these things a lot in the past few years. What an awesome prompt! I’m looking forward to writing about this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My change was huge! My boyfriend got a job offer in San Marcos, so he took it. After I finished college, I decided to catch up with him and transfer to Texas State. And now, thanks to all this, I met a girl who has become my best friend.

    Like

      1. thank you, Erica, for this writing challenge.
        i wrote this limerick
        for “The Butterfly Effect”:

        The Limerick-post and the Music-Video
        (with apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Arrow and the Song”)

        I shot my silly post into cyberspace
        It fell on screens though I cannot trace
        For, so swiftly it transmitted, the byte
        Could not follow it in its flight….
        … more at: http://marichulambino.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/weekly-writing-challenge-the-butterfly-effect/

        Happy mid-week, everyone!

        Like

  3. Interesting! Sometimes we don’t even realize we are making a difference. We inspire someone to want to do something, who in turn inspires someone else. I love to call this the water ripple effect.

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  4. Discovering a blogger through her freshly pressed blog a few years back, totally lead to most significant changes in my life. I wrote about it in a piece titled How A Chick From Maine Changed My Life. And the amazing changes have continued since.

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  5. okay, so i’ve done my best on this one…hopefully my interpretation not too off topic! i see what they mean about the challenge part of the weekly task?! anyway… thanks for the prompts, gets the old creative bit of the grey matter going it does!

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  6. Imagine that the owner of the dog was going to help someone do something and had to tie the dog up and then these good people came and ‘resuced’ the dog creating an entirely different butterfly efect for that person! mind blown 0.O glad that the dog is in a happy loving home

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  7. It’s an interesting theme. I have a post from an old blog which I would like to share:
    http://shwetasworld.blogspot.in/2008/06/now-allow-me-to-put-before-you-two-of.html#.VEfX9PmUeGc
    Couldn’t put a pingback as it is on blogspot.com but wanted to share it, nonetheless.
    My new blog which I started a few weeks back is here:
    http://reflectionsontheriver.wordpress.com
    Looking forward to participating in the new challenges with my new blog

    Like

  8. Hi I am Sindy, sent over by Linda. Of litebeing chronicles.

    This I have had wild imaginings of in days past.

    Take things to a grander scale. Imagine one small change in the history of the planet, and venture into some science fiction about how things would be different. Similarly, conjure up a few characters and, in your tale, explore how one’s activity may relate to another, and so on.

    So how do we participate?
    Namaste
    Sindy

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Learing C Programming Language 35 years ago could be one i can think about what you call “Butterfly Effect’ for my life and carreer. Had been Graduated in Physics Educations, taugh Physics in primary school for 10 mre years. Now i am an IT Professional !

    Like

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