Thursday, February 7, 2008

If only someone had knocked on the door

As a child I had a morbid fear of sci-fi and would desist from reading anything that required imagining objects and beings that I hadn’t come across in my life as a human. After all nightmares replete with my school principal and the creatures that infested his interminable moustache were predicament enough for an 11 year old. But then, reeling under the might of peer-pressure – I succumbed.

The world that I dreaded to death had gone nuclear with The Matrix and the subsequent cerebral coup had brought about the capitulation of the rest of my brain. Could I be just a battery? All I needed was a sign or perhaps a red/blue pill and I would renounce everything materialistic in the world and embark upon an epic odyssey in pursuit of the Truth/Golden Fleece. Am still waiting for that flash….

Last week I watched a movie called The Butterfly Effect and was flabbergasted by the basic plot, which can be gathered from the statement below:

“A butterfly flapped its wings 60 years ago in Brazil, and today an earthquake hit China.” –Chaos Theory

Basically a small variation in the initial conditions of a dynamical system can produce large variations in the long-term behavior of the system.

Those of you, who are contemplating about leaving this blog right away to safeguard yourself from the tortures of another ludicrous hypothesis, bear with me for a while. The fact that you are reading my blog right now instead of doing anything else is affecting the future in profound ways. Because of your decision - everyone in the future will be different people than they would have been had you made a different choice.

“and it is this simple act, now, which unleashes the fires of life
from rock on a far away world six hundred million years from now”

At least, so the theory says.

Illustrating the principle is a sci-fi tale A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury, in which a future time traveler goes back to the dinosaur age, breaches protocol by stepping out of a restricted area and accidentally tramples a butterfly. Upon returning to the present, he finds the world to be a somewhat different from than the one he left. All of history has been changed slightly by the death of a single butterfly in the distant past.

A parallel can be drawn between the effect and Karma (the totality of a one’s actions in any one of the successive states of one’s existence, thought of as determining the fate of the next stage) - the law of cause and effect. Your actions create ripples that spread out, echo and interfere with the ripples from the actions of others. Quoting Kofi Annan, “The world of human activity also has its own "Butterfly Effect" - human actions can either save the world or destroy it.” The Butterfly Effect reminds us to be conscious of our actions, the brittleness of life and our inherent liability in the disposition of all things.

Imagine the world today if someone knocked on the door of Hitler's parents’ house the moment he was being conceived.


Nilo said...

Back with a bang, huh!!

Anonymous said...

Oye hero,

have u given up humor for sci-fi :O
please tell me this is not the case.
but this piece was interesting nonetheless :-)


Ram said...

Just got to read all your blogs. You should seriously consider writing full-time. Coming from someone in publishing, I'm surely not joking.

Anoushka said...

What in god's name ave you given up your witticisms for? Sci-fi!!

firefly! said...

interestin blog u've got there....
(and upon reading the other comments, please dont leave humour for sci-fi!!)

and, yes, u must be the thousandth person to tell me I like coldplay a lil bit too much.... but, they're my current absolute favorites!

Do u read Vikram Seth btw? Because wht u wrote had a very seth- feel to it! thanks nonethless for the comment... I'm really glad to have taken up 15 minutes of ur online-time!

Jerine said...

hi, thank you for visiting my blog. actually butterfly effect is a literature before they turn it into a movie.

notgogol said...

@vira: I have not given up humour for sci-fi. Would you give up a trip to Peru for a cycle?? :P

@ram: lol :D

@anu: Ditto as vira (only, replace Peru with Bali :D)

@firefly(with an exclamation): No one can like coldplay a little too much :P. If we see TROUBLE they ask us not to PANIC and when we cant understand the TWISTED LOGIC they PUT A SMILE ON OUR FACEs.

@jerine: reverted back 2 you on your blog. ah. Belated Happy Chinese New Year 2 you.

CaprivillA said...

hey, I was pathetic in science. So it gets a lil bit difficult for me!

I tried to understand and successfully read it all. Now don't ask what have I got from it though ;)

Thanks for dropping onto my page though. Its encouraging. Will write more.

Keep scribbling ;)

Rijula said...

will i be called a wit or a moron, if i suggested you call your piece serendipity??


notgogol said...

@caprivilla: what have u got from it? I'm curious :)

@nymph: It isn't quite serendipity, but u shant be called a moron (at least not on my blog) ;-)

Aditi Subbiah said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog - very different from yours...
Anyway, thanks for stopping by! you a runner?

entwined said...

gud one....tho the 'colorful' pic of the butterfly on top cracked me up :P

notgogol said...

@entwined: Why would a butterfly pic crack you up? :P And your blogger profile said you're a journo; I didn't know that journos enjoyed sci-fi :)

entwined said...

that is the point....journos don't follow a stereotype...each weird in their own way...i'm fairly tech phobic if tht puts things in a better perspective :P

notgogol said...

@entwined: I wonder what 'tech-phobia' entails - do you flip out when you see all-in-one mobile-cum-mp3player-cum-TV-cum-Juicer-cum-Mixer-cum-Grinder that can fit into one's pocket :P
Lol, kidding :P

P.S. A journo says - "journos are weird"... *my hand itches to reply*, but I shall not :D

entwined said...

@ notgogol

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