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Everything Matters

Lesson 9 Module 2

Perhaps you have heard of the scientific hypothesis referred to as the butterfly effect? Wikipedia states that the butterfly effect refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events (compare: domino effect). Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not ‘cause’ the tornado in the sense of providing the energy for the tornado, it does ‘cause’ it in the sense that the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions. Without that flap, that particular tornado would not have existed. Although this may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ball placed at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on only slight differences of initial position. The butterfly effect is an often used in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with "what if" scenarios where one story line diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes.

You have probably figured out where I'm going with this essay. Our actions really do matter, all of them. Every decision we make, big and small affects our future and the future of those we share our world with. That is a pretty big responsibility isn't it? Yes it is, but I also believe it makes life simpler as well (Keep in mind that I said simpler, not easier). Being mindfully aware that everything matters helps us to shape our decisions both unconsciously and consciously. All we have to remember to do when we are faced with a challenge is to do what is right. Sure, sometimes it is hard to know what is right, but more often than not, we know. We just don't always DO.

So the next time you are faced with a difficult decision, try not to think about the easiest solution, or the quickest solution, or the solution that most benefits you. Instead try to think about what is right and then try your hardest to do it.

Because remember, Everything Matters.

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Pen