Ripples   Leave a comment


“Children have never been very good at listening to  their elders, but they have never
failed to imitate them.” ~ James Baldwin

A pebble thrown into a pond is a simple illustration of cause and effect, of ripples. Another is the proverbial stressed-out parent who comes home after a hard day’s work and yells at the spouse, who takes it out on the children, who mistreat the dog that chases the cat. How many times a day, are you feeling a ripple, good or bad.?
The Butterfly Effect is an interesting example of a ripple. It originated from an experiment done by meteorologist Edward Lorenz in 1960.  He had a computer with a  set of 12 equations to model weather patterns. The program was designed to theoretically predict what the weather might be. He decided to run the pattern again and the weather pattern did not have a similar result. Eventually he figured out what happened. The computer stored the numbers to six decimal places in its memory. He only had it print out three decimal places. In the original sequence, the number was .506127, and he had only typed the first three digits, .506. This should not have mattered according to math and science people who consider it good to get  a measurement with accuracy to three decimal places, but Lorenz proved that this idea was wrong by not using the fourth and fifth decimal measure, it can have a huge effect on the end result of the experiment. This effect came to be known as the butterfly effect. The amount of difference in the starting points of the two curves is so small that it is comparable to a butterfly flapping its wings.    “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.
So we learn that little things do matter. Maybe that comforting hand placed on a shoulder changes a person’s day, which changes another person’s day and it feels so good he notices a butterfly on his mailbox and smiles at the postman…
Another interesting ripple or connection comes from the medical doctor, author and philosopher, Deepak Chopra. His explanation of our own body like a flowing river constantly changes. He says that the physical body that you are using to sit on a chair and read this article is not the same physical body that you came into the room with a little while ago. When you take one deep breath you inhale 1022 atoms from the universe. That’s 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms. It is an astronomical amount of raw material that comes into your body every time you breathe in. Every time you breathe out, you breathe out 1022 atoms that have their origin in every cell of your body. So, we are all intimately sharing our organs with each other all the time. I am breathing everything that’s inside you and you are breathing everything that’s inside me. We are actually exchanging atoms all the time. Chopra goes on to say that it is possible today to compute the total number of atoms in the atmosphere on planet Earth. It is possible to compute what you are inhaling and exhaling in one breath. With a little more calculation, we can show beyond a shadow of doubt that right this moment you have in your physical body at least a million atoms that were once in the body of Christ, or the Buddha, or Michelangelo, or Leonardo da Vinci, or Saddam Hussein, or Osama bin Laden, or George Bush. You have a million atoms right now that have been in the body of every single being that has existed since the dawn of creation. In just the last three weeks a quadrillion atoms (quadrillion means ten followed by fifteen zeros) have gone through your body and they have gone through the body of every other living species on this planet. So think of anything in the ecosystem right now – think of a tree in Africa, think of a squirrel in Siberia, think of a peasant in China, think of a taxi-driver in Calcutta, think of a small child in Afghanistan – and you have raw material in your body that was circulating there only three weeks ago. In less than one year you replace ninety-eight per cent of all the atoms in your body.
Do you feel like a changed person? How do you feel about inhaling the atoms of Christ? How about Saddam Hussein? Fascinating? The connection and continuum of who we are and what we are made of may cause a ripple of emotions in you, and you may decide to share your thoughts with another and that connection of two people becomes a link that causes a change in their relationship, and may excite one to study this subject in depth based on that beginning conversation and that student may go on to become a person who changes the world or changes their next door neighbor’s perception and so the world changes, one person at a time, one exhalation, one moment of calm breathing out gives time to consider, ponder, wonder.
In the job of social work, it is not uncommon to hear, “I was spanked and I turned out all right.” “I needed it.” Studies on spanking children continue to prove otherwise. Researcher Jan Hunt states: Hitting children teaches them to become hitters themselves. Extensive research data is now available to support a direct correlation between corporal punishment in childhood and aggressive or violent behavior in the teenage and adult years. Virtually all of the most dangerous criminals were regularly threatened and punished in childhood. It is nature’s plan that children learn attitudes and behaviors through observation and imitation of their parents’ actions, for good or ill. Thus it is the responsibility of parents to set an example of empathy and wisdom.
And more ripples from a United Stares Bureau of Statistics, which reported that we had 2,304,115 people in prison in 2008:
    95% of child abusers were themselves abused as children (Groth);
    80% of substance abusers were abused as children (Daytop);
    80% of runaways cite child abuse as a factor (Denver Police Dept.);
    78% of our prison population were abused as children (Groth);
    95% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children (Conte).                               Dr. Ralph Welsh who has given psychological examinations to over 2,000 delinquents, has developed what he calls. “The Belt Theory of Juvenile Delinquency.” Dr. Welsh tells us:  “The recidivist male delinquent who has never been exposed to the belt, extension cord or fist at some time in his life is virtually non-existent. As the severity of corporal punishment in the delinquent’s developmental history increases, so does the probability that he will engage in a violent act.” And from “The Bradshaw Connection,” broadcast on November 22, 1996, WOR-TV.  John Bradshaw reports:”…People who justify physical punishment were almost always spanked and physically punished themselves. As children, we numb-out our bodies while we are being spanked. So, if we express anger about it, we get punished for that. As grown-ups, we now idealize our parents and justify their actions. This is not about bad people. It’s called “delusion.” Strangely enough, the more a child is beaten, the more they create an idealized parent. Doing what your parents did protects the idealization. When grown-ups, who were spanked, spank their own children, they are activating their unconscious need to pass the humiliation on. There is nothing loving about the act of hitting someone who is five times smaller than you, even if you do it with the best of intentions. Our parents and grandparents were not bad for spanking us. They were uninformed. They drove Model Ts. We don’t do that any more. Those who quote the Bible to justify their honest beliefs forget that the Bible makes its harshest judgment on those who hurt little children.“

Every breath is a ripple into the world, every inhalation is a chance to stop and consider your next ripply-opportunity into this vast and connected home of ours.


Posted August 15, 2010 by strongjacksonpoet54 in Essays

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