“The breath of a butterfly changes the world.” I have no idea who first realized that truth, or who first formed it into words. When I heard the expression as a youngster, I questioned it with thoughts along these lines…
How can something no one can possibly see, do anything that affects me?
And if it doesn’t affect me, then how can it possibly change the world?
It took years for me to realize the errors in my thoughts. I erred by including the center of my universe in my thoughts. Namely, “me”.
The arrogance of youth…
There is no requirement for things to affect us to make them matter. The universe does not center about any individual, certainly not around me, and not around you either. Indeed some of the things that matter most don’t affect us at all. Some unethical company can dump toxic waste into a river on the other side of the world. My drinking water is still clean, so that doesn’t affect me. Some unscrupulous monster in the guise of human flesh can torture, rape, maim, and murder people deep in Darkest Africa, but that doesn’t affect me! After all I don’t live in Africa anymore, I live in the safety of suburban America.
However those deeds do matter.
We can remain completely unaware of something, and it will still change the world. That isn’t an opinion, it is an inescapable fact. Everything affects everything else. There is no ripple too small to change the world, and no ripple ends until it has.
The world is the way the world is, but I don’t for a moment believe the world is the way it is meant to be.
Would I have the world be another way?
Yes, I would have humanity be just. However if anything changed the past, this would not be the present we occupy, would it? Would the present from a changed past have you here, reading this post at this precise moment in time? Would it have you with yours, and me with mine? A present from a changed past would have none of the things we hold most precious. In a present from a changed past, you and I would likely not exist at all.
A butterfly’s breath changes everything.
A present from a changed past would likely be as terrible as the present we’re already in, so best we stick with our present, and make no vain wishes to change our past. By “terrible”, I don’t mean for you or for me. After all, we’re in the comfort of wherever, reading or writing this on some computer screen, somewhere. We, you and I, have it vastly better than the overwhelming majority of humanity. Indeed, we have it pretty damn good. However that doesn’t make the world a good or just place, it only makes you and I unjustly privileged.
No, the world is most definitely not as it is meant to be.
But perhaps we are who we are meant to be. Though we cannot change the past, we can change the future… So be the smallest ripple and change the world. But please, try to change the world for the better – not for the betterment of you or me, but the betterment for everything and everyone everywhere.