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Greasing the Great Machine

Are you familiar with the concept of the butterfly effect? It is the idea that if a butterfly beats its wings in Sheboygan, a hurricane develops on the other side of the planet.

The theory goes that the beating of the butterfly wings causes tiny changes in the dynamic system that is our atmosphere, and somehow the amount of chaos caused to the system will end up producing a hurricane. A situation of definitely getting more out of the system than you put in.

I’ve always wondered about this concept. I mean, amplifying the chaos in a system by putting in such a small amount of energy is amazing. In systems theory this is an example of a positive feedback loop. You do something to the system that moves it a little out of whack, and the system amplifies it, feeds it back into the system, which throws the whole thing further out of whack. It keeps building until the system collapses.

I’ve also thought about the reverse. Can you correct one tiny thing, and have some greater problem resolve itself? This would be an example of a negative feedback loop. You introduce a control into the system, and it dampens the chaos of the system, and gets things running properly.

I like to think that social systems work like this. Someone is trying to open a door with a load of packages in their arms. Someone cuts in front of them, goes through the door and lets it close behind them. In an attempt to catch the door before it closes the person drops all their packages, breaking the last package of a toy their kid wants for Christmas. The person is in a foul mood the rest of the day. They treat others nasty because of it. And eventually there’s a war on the other side of the planet.

If you do something nice, then somewhere along the way that will get some bigger problem to resolve itself. You hold a door open for someone that has a bunch of boxes. They are grateful because their kid gets the toy they’ve been begging for for Christmas. They do something nice for someone else. Eventually, peace talks ensue between warring countries.

I can’t prove either of these scenarios, but I like to think the world works this way. I try to do one small thing each day to make at least one small thing go well for someone else. Kinda like greasing the great machine that runs the world. Maybe with enough grease I’ll at least cancel out something nasty.

If you liked this look into the way my mind works, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

1 thought on “Greasing the Great Machine”

  1. Yes. Absolutely. Hit the nail on the head.
    Every particle in the universe is connected to every other particle. You can’t affect one part of the universe without affecting the rest of the universe as well.
    This is basic physics.
    This is endemic in the core teachings of every major religion.
    This is what is meant by Karma.
    This is why we need to love everyone as we love ourselves.
    When we act from love, the effects of that love will eventually be felt by everyone, including ourselves.
    And the same is true when we act from fear.

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