The Butterfly Effect

by Phillip Jones
butterfly effectIn indigenous cultures, ancient or modern, the circles of the sun, moon and planets relative to the earth, as well as cycles of these and other celestial bodies, are considered critical to one’s understanding of life and living. I recently saw research that the 11 year sunspot cycle of the sun has a major influence, not only on telecommunication systems, but on living beings as well. Most of us have heard of the documented increase in aggressive and psychotic behavior on full moon nights. Police and hospital officials understand this phenomenon, and plan accordingly. Fewer people may know that sun and moon cycles are also used by some smart investors in making their stock market decisions.
Even casual attention to the ups and downs of the stock market lets us know that swings of emotions—whether fearful or optimistic moods—on a collective level can send shock waves around the world, disrupting whole countries’ economic strength in the process. Understanding how peoples’ emotions are affected not only by oil prices, the inflation rate and the consumer confidence index, but also by a host of celestial influences, is important as we go forward as a world community.
If we can conceive of the world as one great community, we may gain insight in how to grapple with this significant issue of emotional swings and their interconnected repercussions on peoples’ survival and happiness. In a healthy community, where the interconnections among all of the members are understood, it’s easier to see that as we take care of the needs of ‘the least among us’ we take care of ourselves. Disruptions in one person’s emotional health may affect many other community dwellers, because each person plays a role in the relationships and tasks of the entire community. If one person’s health needs are ignored, someone will have to take up the slack. So compassion and common sense dictate that we care for all of our sisters and brothers in the world community.
The world has become an interconnected community, demonstrating time and again the butterfly effect.*  For example, emotionally abusive working conditions in China can affect the health of children in America (unsafe imported toys). And fear of recession in America can affect the value of someone’s retirement fund in France. For better or worse, we’re all interconnected in a fragile system of interdependence.
Whether manmade or celestial actions bring cycles of favorable emotional breezes or ‘disasters,’ we have a choice and a challenge in these very global times of our lives. Compassionate and pragmatic choices will lead us to care for the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health of each other—beyond racial, cultural, religious or country borders—if we want the human race to survive and thrive in the modern era.
*The ‘butterfly effect’ is a metaphoric-scientific principle arising from chaos theory that says, for example, that the wind created by a butterfly’s wings in China could contribute to the creation of a tornado in Kansas.  Look it up!
Phillip Jones is assistant director of the Studio, Center for Holistic Arts in Honokaa, Hawaii, at and author of ‘Light On Death: The Spiritual Art of Dying’

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