Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The New Millenium

Most of us have had decades of being able to watch the ebb and flow of life. We know that there will be bad times and good times. Most of all we learn how resilient we are. Incredibly resilient. Knock us down and we will eventually get back up, if it is at all possible.

We know that lessons learned in one time frame is usually used in another. So could there be a pattern in the chaos? I know I'm going out on a limb here, but could we be going through hard times in order to prepare ourselves for future happenings? Or better yet, to possibly avoid future happenings?

One of the many emotions to come from difficult experiences is often empathy. It's pretty hard not to have feelings for those going through painful happenings, when you know exactly how they're feeling. Empathy is a good thing. It closes the gap between people. I recently felt great empathy for Jessica Simpson, for example. Not a person in need of sympathy usually, she has a good life in terms of money, talent, beauty. But when she went through a series of breakups, and then had her little dog carried off by a coyote, I felt genuine sympathy. I know what it's like to go through more than one major stressor in a short amount of time.

Which brings me back to patterns in chaos. Over the last decade the US has had it's fair share of disasters. These occurrences also affected the world. Is there anyone who could not feel for the people trapped in the World Trade Center buildings as we were viciously attacked by terrorists? Maybe because they could relate to the horror inflicted by these same people in other parts of the world. And because of that, I could have heart-felt sympathy for the earthquake victims in Haiti. I remember the stories of people saying goodbye to their loved ones in the buildings before the collapse.  As for the wars and mismanagement by the last administration, culminating in a disastrous economic meltdown, the world has felt the repercussions of that one, too. So what is my point in all of this?

Could we be in preparation for where we need to be for what is coming in the next decade? Could there be some pattern in the chaos? Do the things we go through as individuals also have an effect on how we view our world - and the peoples of that world? Shouldn't we be "thinking globally" for the next decade in terms of political policy? And this goes for all countries, not just the US. Understanding that the decisions we make in one country have far-reaching effects on others. The people of those "others." Extrapolating the "butterfly effect" and using it in a sociological context:

The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month's time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen. Or maybe one that wasn't going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)

Tell me what you think.


Meeko Fabulous said...

Nancy, this was such a thought provoking post! I think everything we do has an effect on everything around us. I think it's a big problem that the world's nations all make decisions without thinking of the repercussions it could have on others. Sometimes I wonder if it would just be better if we all minded our own business and let everyone else do what they wanted to . . . Like I said . . . Thought provoking!

JC said...

Something to think about for sure ...

Brian Miller said...

nancy, often you make me ponder some of the mysteries of our life...this post is included in that list...

ellen abbott said...

One world government? Most sci-fi seemed to extrapolate that as inevitable. I suppose if we don't annihilate ourselves in war that we would eventually get some form of that.

Mainly though we must out grow our tribalism which is still very much in play, even here in the US.

I don't think there is any pattern to the chaos though. The planet has always had earthquakes, volcanos, hurricanes, etc. We perish or we survive.

The butterfly effect sounds cool and in a way is right as everything on this planet is connected. But what with all the movement going on...butterflies, not one but many; birds, bees, animals migrating, people in cars creating all sorts of turbulence. I don't think a single butterfly's wing will have any affect. It's all about cumulative effect. The pressure builds up until it trips and then the effect seems sudden to us. The change chaotic.

Does any of this make sense?

otin said...

I think that every time period has it's disasters and bad events and then time moves on and new bad things happen and we forget the old ones. People who are 80 years old feel different about pearl harbor than people who are 30. in 2050, 30 year olds will probably not bat an eye about 9/11.

linda said...

this is such a provoking idea, the butterfly theory, it sort of knocked me over when i read it and pondered it a bit...i have no idea if we are moving in any particular direction but that aside, it all must mean something...but from a personal standpoint, i do hope that i have learned from the past and will benefit from it's pain...otherwise, what is the point?

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

Your blog inspired me... informed me. It made me feel so much better.
I just made a post.. You should read it.

I also felt guilty after reading your post. I do things on a daily basis that I shouldn't, and it frightens me to think they have a larger effect on the world.

I hope I am being prepared. I would be grateful if I survived whatever lies ahead for us...

Nancy said...

Meeko - I go back and forth between thinking everyone should do their own thing, and helping (interfering?) all those little children in Africa, South America, Afghanistan, etc. One thing is clear - we can't fix the world. But maybe we can think about global consequences as we make policy decisions. And not just about who can make the most money.

JC - Somtimes I think too much.. :-)

Brian - Thanks for your support as I ponder the world's problems.

Ellen - Wow, I hadn't thought of one world government! That is very sci-fi. Yes, everything you said makes sense. I see what you mean.

Otin - You're probably right. But I can't help and feel something is happening. Maybe people have always felt this way.

Linda - My thoughts exactly. We learn from our own pain - we have empathy - we see things differently - it has an effect. (Or maybe not...?)

Phoebe - You always have an amazing way of making things simple - the idea that you are feeling guilty about doing things on a daily basis - is exactly how I feel much of the time. What if the world viewed their actions in the context of the greater good? I'm off to read your post!

Whitney Lee said...

I'll agree; very thought provoking.
I like the idea of a one world government, much like the U.S. has individual states we could have individual countries but one central government. Is it possible we're moving even remotely closer to that?
The butterfly effect helps show that we are all connected. Rather scary and exhilarating at the same time!

SquirrelQueen said...

A very thought provoking post Nancy. I am familiar with the butterfly effect as well as a basic law of physics that states 'for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction'. We are all connected in one way or another, what we do affects others.

The earthquake in Haiti will affect far more than the local inhabitants. The freezing weather in the southern US will be felt around the world.

Emom said...

Cause and affect...both rather philosophical ponderings...History says that there is nothing new under the sun...the more I know the less I know...ironic, huh?

Joanne said...

Everything matters, every look, word, gesture, on every level, from a personal one to a global one. It all counts and has meaning. Thanks for sharing this post.

Cloudia said...

GREAT post.

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

The butterfly effect is not just about connection. It's quantum physics in motion, the idea that the world, the universe, our personal realities, are holograms,where the parts contain the whole. In that spirit, a disaster in Haiti or any other part of the world impacts each and every one of us at some level. We not only share the planet, but our collective consciousness creates the reality.

Von said...

Right on Nancy and a beautiful photo too!

DJan said...

I remember when I learned about the butterfly effect and it made me think about my own personal actions. Nothing we do is without consequence, and this can be positive as well as negative, don't you think? We are all preparing to cope with tomorrow, one way or the other. We had such hopes for the New Millennium to be different, and it's not. Yet.

Rose said...

Wow, interesting view and thoughts.

Your post had my mind in serious mode of thinking.

Great entry!


had i not been going through a few days of my mind transforming itself into a sieve, i would like to think that i would be able to express myself verbatim the comment of the macgregors - but since that is not the case today, i must refer to that silly little word of "ditto" on their comment - with extra special emphasis on these words:
"We not only share the planet, but our collective consciousness creates the reality."

short, sweet, simple - truth!
a truth to which we must all pay close attention!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Very thought provoking. The comments were thought provoking as well. I feel like I have been caught up in a cocoon of personal and family drama of late. I am ready to surface and face what is next.

Nancy said...

Whitney - Chaos Theory is very interesting but Quantum Physics really explains how were connected. Very interesting stuff.

Squirrel - I totally agree.

Emom - While I was attending college the idea that with all that I was learning - I actually didn't even know a fraction of what's out there. "The more you know the more you realize how little you know."

Joanne - Wouldn't it be nice if everyone realized that?

Cloudia - Thanks.

Trish - Again, if people only understood this concept.

Von - Thanks. I loved that picture.

DJan - No, it's not different, and it seems to be picking up speed. But I can't tell if it has always been this way, or I'm just sensitive to it. And yes, the intentions and actions we take in a positive direction definitely have consequences.

Rose - Haha - No doubt - heavy thoughts.

Gypsy - I couldn't agree more. Quantum physics explains how it works. I'm just surprised it's not preached from the roof tops. But then it takes the power away from those wielding it, doesn't it?

Kathy - You've had a lot on your mind, I know. Good to see you back blogging.

CrazyCris said...


If everyone realised to what point the whole world is connected (ecologically, economically, socially, historically etc), and acted in accordance, then I'm sure we'd all be better off. What is with people willfully burying their head in the sand of their own little neck of the woods, refusing to acknowledge their actions (or inactions) have consequences beyond their little sphere?!


Anil P said...

Very thought provoking.

Nancy, I believe there is solace to be found in seeking the meaning of life in living it.

Nancy said...

Chris - I hope we realize this before it's too late for the planet.

Anil - Thanks. I agree.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"Understanding that the decisions we make in one country have far-reaching effects on others."

I'm always impressed with your reading choices. And the questions you raise. Such passion for you subject. (You need to be working on that book.)

I don't know how I would answer these questions in such a short forum. I truly believe our actions need to reflect thought for the future. As to a pattern to the chaos? Perhaps that is the difficult part. We need to understand one another so we can work together when the unpredictable chaos occurs.

See, you're much better at this than me.

Deboshree said...

@Nancy- Great post Nancy! Well written!
As for whether the chaos in our life follows a pattern, perhaps it does. Everything makes us ready for something and I don't really to what extent that goes.
Strangely, just yesterday a friend of mine was telling me about the Butterfly effect! How strange? Coincidence? Don't know...
As for the political policies, nothing could have demonstrated better than the recession that how much we are connected to each other. In this era when globalisation is the word of the day, what is needed is a world policy, for everything is connected to everything and a slight change in something effects the whole system in the long run.
You are absolutely right. A world policy based on co operation and needs of the people is what is needed.

Once again, great post Nancy! And thank you for always being there to encourage me ^_^


Shrinky said...

I tend to favour Ellen's take on that, our world is ever changing, we learn to adapt and survive (or not). Nature is indiscriminate, it simply is, we have some, but very little sway over it. How we chose to deal with the aftermaths is what counts. I do think the more we are educated as to our neighbours, the more we are willing to empathise and to reach out a helping hand to those in dire need.

natural girl said...

Very thought provoking. If we could all work on the idea that whatever we do has an impact on the whole world, think beyond our own lives maybe the world would be abetter place.