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8.13.2003

Butterfly Wings

At the risk of going Yoda on everyone, I'm going to tap into a bit of philosophy today. A bit of wisdom was emailed to me the other day. Seriously, this is smart stuff. Consider it, and then I'm going to tell you how to change the world.

Each smallest act of kindness reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it's passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.
Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil.


- This Momentous Day, written by H.R. White

Nature repeats itself over and over, on so many different levels and in countless ways. When studying chaos in physics you often run across the Butterfly Effect. That is: a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can affect or even create a future hurricane thousands of miles away.

Taking action - whether it's good or evil or positive or negative - works in a similar fashion. Its not a chain of events easily followed, but even the smallest things you do can be a part of social hurricanes in some other place and time. In short, it matters...it all matters.

Granted, not all good done comes to a good end...but the chances are far greater that events will lean towards the positive. And doing something positive has a major benefit over doing something negative. Even if you cynically believe (as I do) that doing good is no assurance of having good come to you, the same is not true with kissing the hand of evil. Whether you believe in sin, or karma, or conscience, or morality, or just flat out fear punishment for wrongdoing, your own evil devours you. At the very least, it causes biological stress. And mentally, it makes you more aware and suspicious of unseen and unknown retribution, and this eats away at your spirit. Even though it may not assure you of a great life, acting good doesn't do have such destructive side effects. It's healthy living.

Better yet, you can focus positive energy just like you focus anything else. Ever focused on revenge? Or seduction? Ever been purposefully and repeatedly cruel? All three of those things involve power. Yours. You take control of your inner strengths and skills and bend them towards accomplishing your goals. This same effect can be applied to creating a better world.

That's how you change the world.

Right now, there is a young woman caught in the grip of startling injustice. You may not be able to fix her problems. But you do have the power to focus some good in her direction. The smallest action - reading Kirstin Lobato's story, signing her guestbook, just letting her know someone is aware and that she has not been left to suffer by herself - could be your own personal butterfly wings, creating a hurricane.


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