Thursday, 24 March 2016

The butterfly effect and you!

Most of what we witness and go through everyday, can actually be summarized and explained through some very pithy laws of science. Physics defines our movements, Chemistry how we mold in the world, and biology how we stay intact from within. But all the while we believe that most of our life is tactful. That by simply providing some set and prudent inputs to most of the functions that dictate the outcomes, we can expect some set outputs all of which forebode acceptability for us. But what if there is one very big anomaly in this assumption on which we otherwise predicate our whole lives?

The butterfly effect is a very subtle yet powerfully consequential axiom. In layman terms, it states that the fluttering of a butterfly's wings, which is pretty innocuous and commonplace otherwise, can actually go on and set such events in motion that the cascade can go on and even destroy our entire planet! While the physical postulate is pretty recondite and is also considered quixotic, the implications of the effect, if it does exist, can explain a lot that goes on in our lives. 


There are a lot of people out there who work hard, take themselves to the hilt, and exhibit all the dexterity needed to succeed. But yet, very often a new kid on the block sways every judge in the jamboree by their charms in such an immaculate way, that even the set players can't help but feel buoyed about the new kid's entry in the scene. While the big guys on the scene did deserve all the success their hard work warranted, this new guy or gal pillages all the admiration and wins the battle in one shot! What do we have to explain such a situation as of now? Natural bravura, unquestionable talent, fortunes, elders' blessings, God's grace, and what not. Now let's view this through the window of the Butterfly effect. 

You do a lot of things in your entire life and you're programmed to believe all that you do can have ramifications. And then there are some really crucial moments wherein you're asked to give in your best shot. You can actually conceive your entire life as an interaction with multiple functions. You tune yourself and become an input to these functions, and the outcome of that becomes the input of another, and the chain goes on. Economics can be one function for which you're just one of the many inputs. Yours paying taxes, and yours taking loans and making purchases may have a negligible but extant impact on the entire economy. Likewise, ecosystem is a function. Yous using your car or bicycle, or yours using water judiciously is once again an input. So in a nutshell, life can be viewed as your interaction with all such functions. Now let's see how this really works.

As per the traditional view, most of the functions are usual mundane ones with set outcomes. Work for example is one function. Your inputs include yours reporting on time, signing an X number of files everyday, and being obsequious to your boss. Anything goes awry, and you know the set outcome of your career getting royally screwed.  On the other hand, there are some crucial functions for which you really have to prepare the best possible inputs. For example, an examination or a presentation that could make or break your life. So as per the convention, you have to treat them as special functions to which you ought to supply a more honed and advanced input and you expect a path breaking output. And thus we humans tend to simplify life in the most grotesque but palliative way. 

The butterfly effect on the other hand, nails this entire proposition. The entire theory centers around the presence of chaos. The theory postulates that it does not matter what credence we accord to functions in order to design the perfect blueprint for our lives. It emphasizes the emergence of entropy as the catalyst which can transform the entire equation for you. So all this while you believed you can transcribe your life into functions with a well defined set of inputs and outputs. However, the butterfly effect brings a new catalyst of entropy as an additional factor that goes in, which in turn produces a new and unique output, which in turn might as well become another catalyst for another function, and which may thus result in a cascade of catalytic chain reactions, finally leading to an outcome you never even dreamt of. 

Consider the usual work situation. You only thought of putting in all the effort you can, putting in extra hours and just boot licking your boss. And being the ideal employee you are, everything could only go right. But one day, some entropy in the R&D lab of a small corporation ensued in an invention that could literally decimate the hegemony of the previous technologies in the field. The entropy in the form of this invention, suddenly sends a juggernaut of frenzy all across the stock markets, and all companies downsize their current departments working with now obsolete technology. And before you could know that, not only your department is gone, but even your experience and the entire gamut of your skills is burnt to the ashes. And the once strident, confident and proud employee galumphs to oblivion. 

On the other hand, some entropy in the form of some ridiculously game changing decision in your own small team literally spirals your team into the kind of limelight it never even dreamt of being in. Not only that, what was once a seemingly commonplace decision which worked wonders for your company, now becomes the benchmark for everyone; and you become the company's blue eyed boy! So till yesterday you were the typical employee who found his job hackneyed, and today she's elevated to a new height every now and then.

The crux of this theory is that you can't even hope to believe that you can control what happens in your life by doing all the right things and then expecting nothing wrong coming to you; Or the other way for that matter. The butterfly effect dictates that your life does allow you to choose what functions to tinker with and what inputs to provide to the same. But the absence and presence of catalysts and the magnitude of their impact is controlled by this phenomenon. However, the basic premise of the effect is that a very basic input, provided to a very insignificant function, can actually be coupled with an unexpected catalyst, which in turn may produce another catalyst, and another, and then the slugfest can never cease and result in unimaginable things. The great depression, the world wars, the Nazi fray, and even some of the biggest inventions of all times. All of them were outputs of processes that had prevailed for very long. But suddenly, some small spinoff at one place toppled the entire dominion. 

The butterfly effect can really do a lot to explain much of human consternation. We often do everything we can. We work hard, we please everyone, we play by the book, and we even pray to God to succeed. And when we fail, we often direct all out polemic and angst to God again. But in reality, you really have to expect the unexpected. Good things don't bode benefaction. And bad things are not always maledictory. The butterfly effect is a pretty sibylline adage to live life by. Do your stuff your own way. Choose which mountains to climb and also choose your gear. But never dare think you can choose how nature will act. Even when you're 50 meters from the top, a hailstorm can end it there. And even when you're miles away, clearing of the weather can show you the way. That's butterfly effect for you!