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The butterfly effect

In Chaos Theory ‘The Butterfly Effect’ refers to large changes wrought on the basis of as small a thing as flapping of wings of a butterfly, if all things remain constant. It is a way of explaining the chaotic world around us, especially, in metereological terms, but like all other theories it can also be efficiently applied to other scenarios as well.

I have always been fascinated by this idea and even the name of the theory excites me ‘The Butterfly Effect’, it has all the mystery and romance that is missing from theories of diverse kinds. And, look at the magnanimity of the concept! a small thing as a butterfly! normally ineffectual, inconsequential, having no real value or presence other than for its beauty and elegance in a garden suddenly coming into its own with a larger than life presence and holding forth power to wield tornadoes and hurricanes half way across the globe?

This got me thinking. If, in a chaotic world, every little thing has an effect, manifest, whether immediate or later in terms of time, what does it say about our actions and behaviour, our thoughts, our words, our deeds that we send out into the world? How far and deep are the effects of those? We go about life assuming to be more or less self contained, but are we really that way? The evidence states otherwise. What we say, how we say it, how we look at others, what words we choose to render our thoughts, who we choose to befriend and let close to us – all these acts have long lasting repurcussions not just on us and our immediate surrounding, but on a much wider scale, on our world, on our surroundings, on our atmosphere. We, literally, shape our world and that of the people around us.

If this is the case we carry a huge responsibility on our shoulders. We need to be extremely careful of how we act, for each of actions will have an ‘equal and opposite reation’ and eventually will have an avalanche effect, and what started as a mere flapping of wings would set off storms of tremedous power and strength, much beyond our control. This of course applies in both positive and negative ways, our good words and good deeds also have far reaching implications as do our negative ones.

So what are our duties as of now. How do we ought to behave in light of the butterfly effect theory? I’m no moralist, and would be the last person to whip out a ‘code of conduct’ kind of document, nevertheless, there ought to be some do’s and dont’s of living in a humane society where others are valued that is if we want ourselves to be valued. So here it is my list of how we must be moral in an amoral world:

Believe in something larger than Yourself: I’m not advocating any religion or any particular creed, I am basically stating that a belief in a Being which is higher and intelligent than one’s own limited self gives us perspective. It brings due balance in life, and shows us that we are neither the centre of the Universe, nor are we literally nothing who will cease ‘to- be’ once we die. This kind of non-being after death provokes a lack of responsibilty on our part. If we are going to not-be after death, then why should we care about what we do now? who are we answerable to if anyone at all? considering that fear of punishment is the only thing that keeps us away from vile acts. Moreover, belief gives us hope. Hope is that feeling which makes us go on. It is that essence that moves us to do things for the tommorrow we may not be there to see and enjoy. And hope is that life-force that fuels the human spirit.

Value Yourself and Others: Do we value ourselves enough? Vanity, pride, feeling larger on the basis of material possessions, phallic symbols, yes.. but having depth, the ability to think, the courage to stand up, literally naked; devoid of all the worldly trappings, what are we? we must take a voyage, undertake a journey, take the first step on a million mile road…all the way down to our inner cores, to what Jung called our ‘shadows’. The hidden, unconcious parts of our personalities and try to uncover what we are really made up of. And, whatever it is accept it, celebrate it, rejoice in it – no! not publicly, not, in a crowd, but within onself. Only then will we be able to feel comfortable with who we are and appreciate ourselves with all our shortcomings and also accept others and recognize and understand who they are.

Be Tolerant: What exactly is meant by this? does it merely mean ‘let others be’? I think there is much more to it than that. It means to understand the difference between white and white and respecting that differnce, as someone put it brilliantly. Just letting others be and not interfering isn’t true tolerance. Tolerance starts when others believe and practice what you disagree with vehemently, but, you support their right to believe and do as they wish. That is the true spirit of our religion as well, as I understand it.

Be Kind: What we not in this society for sure is KIND. We are cruel,inhumane and insensitive people. We are ruthless to plants and animals. We are worse to children. The evidence is the number of children begging on the streets, children working in homes of the affulent, children employed in factories under sickening conditions, children sold as sex workers and as camel jockeys and the list goes on… We are cruel to our women. Raping them in the name of marriage, molesting them in their own homes as young girls, marrying them against their wishes, at times to setlles land-disputes, throwing acid on their faces for daring to refuse marriage proposals, perpetuating domestic abuse, violence….We are now becoming cruel to our parents, turning them out of their homes once they stop earning, forcing them to seek shelter in homes like Edhi or beg on the streets. Cruel in killing others in cold blood for their relious beliefs, their ethenic backgrounds, their colour, their language…we are pathetic.

Be Honest: Pakistanis are synonmous with Dishonesty the world over. And who can blame the world. Even we would agree. Any fruad scam, any scandal involving embezzlement of money (mind you large sums of it) our country men are bound to be a part of it – most likely. We are hustlers and shakers. The bomb that we are so proud of (god only knows why?) is stolen and the fact proudly stated as gospel truth by none other than the father of the bum! ufff. The Ogra scandal! the Rajas who are for rent, the Zardari’s who can be had for a percent, the farooqui’s who are enjoying a comeback courtesy ‘daughter the SHYSTER; and her infamous ‘has- some!’ where can we find some honest people? for sur it isn’t in this Puristan.

Do some Soul-Searching: We must find our selves and our purpose in life, our goals, our aims and how best to get there. These goals may be tangible in terms, but attention ought to be paid to intangible ones, the ‘goals of the soul’ what our inner selves are searching for, so we can fill that empty feeling that gnaws at us from time to time despite having it all. We need to find a solution for the ‘hole in the soul’ syndrome’, and find it soon.

I am not done with my sermonizing yet, there are so many things I have to say, but enough said for one blog…. my wings have fluttered to stir up enough storms methinks 🙂

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