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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Butterfly Effect

We as human beings have no idea how much our words influence others. That careless comment tossed at an individual can cause such a huge effect. I think it's called the butterfly effect. For those of you who don't know what that is, it refers to how a small change in a system can have long term effects. So the idea is that a butterfly flapping it wings can cause changes in the atmosphere that can influence the path of a tornado or a hurricane. Let me tell you a story about a seemingly harmless comment from a seemingly harmless person.

This girl (we'll call her T) and this boy (we'll call him S) were going out. They had quite an interesting relationship. It was long distance one that they had learnt how to make work for 3 years. They were in constant communication; if it wasn't a text, it was on skype or a call. Sometimes they even went between all options immediately after each other. They were far apart but they always knew what the other was doing. It worked for them and they enjoyed it. One day S's sister commented on their constant texting. She looked disapprovingly at S and said 'You're always texting T! What are you guys always saying? Jeez!'. S ignored her and went ahead to call T and laughingly inform her of what his sister said. T also laughed it off. Weeks later T complained to her friends on S's negligence and his lack of communication. S wondered why T had stopped calling and texting and thought maybe she just wanted space. A few months later they broke off their relationships, each claiming long distance.

I know it's not a direct correlation; the comment and the break up. It however is part of, if not the beginning, of the breakdown. By casually mentioning the constant texting, S's sister drew their attention to something that wasn't quite usual. The human brain is conditioned to want to be 'normal'. They slowly cut back on texting, which was their way of communicating, and instantly cut off all communication. In battle strategies of those days, the best way to defeat an enemy is to cut off means of communication. A 'casual' comment had done the exact same thing, except to non-enemies.

Watch what you say. You never know. You could be the butterfly that caused so much pain in New Orleans.


  1. interesting perspective and you might be right...there is power in the tongue


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