“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions
in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system
can result in large differences in a later state.” ~ Wikipedia
Many people feel powerless to effectuate a meaningful change in the world. It is easy to understand why. It appears that there are forces in the world that are beyond the individual’s ability to influence. Geopolitical events unfold with or without our agreement. Global economic influences appear monolithic. Masses of people go about their daily lives according to the dictates or expectations of societal norms. There is this incredible momentum of history seemingly determining how the future unfolds beyond the ability of any one individual to affect. Effectuating meaningful change often seems to be almost impossible to imagine, let alone accomplish.
And yet, there are countless examples of one person’s ideas and actions being responsible for massive changes in human society and having substantial influence in the direction the future unfolds. Rosa Parks. Ibn al-Haytham. Nicola Tesla. Huda Shaarawi. Tim Berners-Lee. Francesco Petrarca. Plato. Max Planck.
And, Bucky Fuller, who used the allegory of the trim tab in an interview with Playboy Magazine.
In response to the interviewer’s question about how we can live with “a sense of the individual’s impotence to affect events, to improve or even influence our own welfare, let alone that of society,” Fuller offers his magnificent metaphor:
“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Elizabeth — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. The rudder pulls the ship around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, ‘Call me Trim Tab.’
“The truth is that you get the low pressure to do things, rather than getting on the other side and trying to push the bow of the ship around. And you build that low pressure by getting rid of a little nonsense, getting rid of things that don’t work and aren’t true until you start to get that trim-tab motion. It works every time. That’s the grand strategy you’re going for. So I’m positive that what you do with yourself, just the little things you do yourself, these are the things that count. To be a real trim tab, you’ve got to start with yourself, and soon you’ll feel that low pressure, and suddenly things begin to work in a beautiful way. Of course, they happen only when you’re dealing with really great integrity.”
The Butterfly Effect posits that even something as simple as the movement of a butterfly’s wings in the Amazon jungle can affect the weather a thousand miles away and something as seemingly innocuous as a smile given to a stranger can have a profound effect on the way that the world unfolds. Imagine your power if you were to go about doing that intentionally and with great integrity instead of accidentally or happenstantially.
It appears that the world around us is in a state of chaos and crisis. Old geo-political systems are crumbling. Old institutional systems are failing. Old paradigms are falling apart. Old ways of thinking no longer serve to solve the chaotic problems we appear to be undergoing and the crisis seems beyond our ability to control or navigate.
But – consider this metaphor: As the caterpillar is approaching the end of its life, it feels like it is in crisis. And so it weaves its own burial shroud called a chrysalis and dissolves into complete chaos. All of its old cellular structure dies. Then, a miracle happens. Imaginal cells begin to form in that chaos and soon the butterfly emerges. The creature that was once limited to crawling on the ground can now soar high above the ground and feed on the golden nectar of flowers. It has exactly the same DNA, but it has been transformed. A metamorphosis has occurred.
The science of it all is amazing: The caterpillar lives a life of ravenous consumption then finds a place to build its cocoon. Inside this chrysalis,the caterpillar, unable to move, dissolves into organic goop. Cells, which had been dormant in the caterpillar, and which biologists had the poetic genius to name “Imaginal cells,” begin a process of creating a new form and structure.
At first, these seeds of future potential, the imaginal cells which contain the blueprint of the butterfly, operate independently as single-cell organisms. They are regarded as threats and are attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system. But they persist, multiply, and connect with each other. Eventually, these imaginal cells form clusters and begin resonating at the same frequency and start passing information back and forth until they hit a tipping point. Suddenly, they start acting, not as discrete individual cells, but as a multi-cell organism… and a butterfly is born.
The truly miraculous thing is that even though there is NO structural similarity at all between a caterpillar and a butterfly, the DNA is exactly the same.
Imagine this:: Each of us has within us our own imaginal cells; AND each of us is, in turn, an imaginal cell within human society. Our apparent crisis is actually giving birth to a new world, a new culture and a new stage of human development.
Are you ready to emerge from your cocoon? Are you willing to have your personal imaginal cells ignited? Are you willing to become an imaginal cell within the body of humanity and serve to create the new human? This is an invitation to soar into your greatness and your power to transform the way the world envisions and creates the future.
The world needs your greatness, your creativity, your contribution. It is time to step into that greater you. Come experience profound personal transformation and connect with like minded people from around the world. You have known that this moment was coming. Now, it is here. Everything you have already experienced has led you to this moment. Your choice point.
Step into your greatness. Learn how to take control of your destiny. Metamorphosis awaits you.
This is an invitation to soar into your greatness and your power to transform the way the world envisions and creates the future. Become the butterfly effect. Exit your cocoon here.