The Butterfly Effect

Monica Lewinsky sucked Pres. Clinton’s cock, getting George W. Bush elected, which led to the 2008 financial meltdown with the Republican’s anti-regulation policies. The real estate recession of 2009 left not only millions of people without any retirement, but my father without enough money to care for himself, compelling us to use our little savings to help him. This investment into my father’s care comes out of our kids’ college funds and will most likely affect them down the line.

My husband was freaking out when he called me from his job at a well-known Silicon Valley startup a couple months ago. He’d entered the stairwell and saw the married CEO of his company sucking face with an employee. He had a right to be upset. The CEO is putting the company, its pre-IPO stock value, and its almost 300 employees at risk by displaying his extra-marital affair publicly. His sloppy behavior can not only get him fired, but eventually, lead to the demise of the company with scandalous press chasing away customers and business associations alike. And, of course, there are his two kids and a wife at home who will suffer, possibly lifetime scars from his selfish indiscretions.

When a butterfly flaps its wings in Central Park, it does NOT cause a typhoon in India. But the Butterfly Effect is very real, and very personal, for all of us.

The CEO sucking face with his employee saw my husband in the stairwell. He called my DH into his office later that day and made excuses that he was “just comforting” his graphic designer who [ostensibly] was grieving the death of her dog. Originally hired by the CEO, my husband had never had any issues working with the man until that day in the stairwell. After that day, the CEO was his new micro-manager, and my husband, tired of the bullshit, left the company a month later.

We all engage in the Butterfly Effect in one way or another. When my DH and I fight, I’m more apt to yell at our kids, causing them to snipe at each other. Continual fighting over time may result in fierce sibling rivalry. Instead of becoming balanced, socially aware people, they grow up defensive and afraid, and become CEOs and Presidents who seek physical contact over emotional intimacy to combat their gnawing loneliness.

The Butterfly Effect is an unalterable phenomenon of the human condition, but that doesn’t mean we must be doomed by it. Our ability to perceive the future, and then adapt our behavior in response is also uniquely human, and dramatically separates us from every other life form on this planet, and one of our greatest strengths.

Had President Clinton been thinking with his brain instead of his little head, or Ms. Lewinsky had stopped to consider the possible ramifications of Bill Clinton’s solicitation, perhaps either would have made a better choice. (Why do I sight Monica? Those who cheat are culpable for their actions, but those who are party to cheating are equally culpable.)

Like a gun sitting on a table, the Butterfly Effect is neutral, but it can generate productive outcomes by simply starting from a positive position. Awareness that no man, or woman, is an island is the key to directing the Butterfly Effect to consistently positive outcomes. Every day we touch the lives of many others, whether we’re at home, on the internet, at work, or shopping at Target. Holding a door open, giving a compliment, or showing appreciation for service rendered can make someone’s day a bit better. We affect those around us, our environment locally, even globally with our consumption of resources. Choosing a Prius over an SUV, and picking the appropriate sexual partners; helping someone in need, not just during the holidays but any day improves all our lives collectively.

Be acutely aware of your connection to others, and the cascading Butterfly Effect, and it may just be the lives you touch in your hometown today will indeed lead to the cure for cancer from someone on the other side of the world tomorrow.

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