The Butterfly Effect

The butterfly effect is an often misused and misunderstood phenomenon; it is the idea that minor events can have a non-linear impact on a compound system. The concept is envisioned with a butterfly flapping its wings in Uganda and possibly causing an earthquake in Turkey or a flood in Asia. Obviously, in literal terms, a single act of a butterfly flapping its wings cannot cause so much disarray as an earthquake or a flood. However, small events can serve as a stimulant that acts on starting conditions.

In 1961, Edward Lorenz, a meteorology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), entered some numbers into a computer program to predict the weather and left his office while the machine worked. On his arrival, he got a result that opposed everything the world thought it knew. While entering the numbers, Edward Lorenz rounded off one variable. Amazingly, that minor modification he made had a rigorous effect on the results of over two months of already predicted weather. This unexpected result led Lorenz to a powerful realization of how nature works.

The butterfly effect debunked the classical understanding of nature.

Benjamin Franklin explained in one of his poems. A whole kingdom was lost because something as small as a horseshoe nail was lost.

The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect

Precisely 50 years after the discovery, a 26-year old Mohammed Bouazizi, a Tunisian, set himself ablaze on the 17th of December 2010 after the authorities seized his fruit cart. With this incident, the people of Tunisia took to the streets to protest against the high rate of unemployment, high cost of food, corruption, a lack of political freedom (such as freedom of speech) and poor living conditions.

This revolution was called the “jasmine revolution”, and this revolution extended to other countries like Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain. Rulers were deposed, or major uprisings and social violence occurred, including riots, civil wars, or insurgencies and these events are popularly known as the “Arab Spring”. It took one man setting himself on fire to cause something as big as an Arab Spring; these occurrences were unexpected, that is, the butterfly effect.

The current coronavirus pandemic, to an extent, can be considered an example of the butterfly effect. I tell people that a disaster doesn’t just happen; it always has an origin. The Coronavirus pandemic is a crisis that started in Wuhan, China, that was speculated to be gotten from eating bats. A virus in China has led to a global collapse in crude oil prices due to low demand, which relatively led to the devaluation of the Naira to Dollars.

This virus also disrupted companies and businesses. Many people were laid off, including I. Prices of commodities have spiked, with little or no income to purchase these commodities, thereby causing inflation. The series of events is beginning to unfold, and an economic crisis is coming into play.

Basically, no matter how little it is, whatever you do will always have unpredictable consequences, either good or bad. “It is important to remember that the butterfly effect is not a small event that can have a large impact, which can eventually be driven to the desired end, but it is, in fact, a small event in a complex universe that can either have a huge impact or no impact at all. We can’t identify or predict which one will occur”.

Imagine if Eve had not eaten the apple, or if Nigerians see themselves as one entity, no ethnic groups and no religion. So be mindful of what you do because, as established in this article, every single thing we do matter, no matter how insignificant we think it is.

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