There is a theory that suggests that small actions can have large effects on the world around us – that a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado months later. This is the butterfly effect. Another way this effect has been described is with throwing dice; the angle, the force, and the direction that the dice was thrown affects the outcome of the throw, so that no two dice throws are the same. It’s also been suggested that the various effects can be far more drastic, resulting in accidents, deaths, and disasters. Whether or not this theory has the far reaching consequences as has been suggested is another matter, however.
It can be a little hard to believe that tiny, seemingly insignificant actions can have greater and/or devastating effects on the world around us. Does it really matter what we decide to get for lunch, if we make that left turn over the right turn, or if we decide to hold an elevator for someone? Regardless of whether this is true or not, all of our actions have far reaching effects, and the theory does make you pause and think about your actions. Whether our actions determine someone’s fate or what events occur around us or not, it can be a good idea to keep in mind that what we do can affect people to some degree.
You never know who you will run into each day and you can never know for sure what they have been through recently. You may be having a bad day, so you are a little short with someone, which makes them upset, so they are aggressive with someone else, causing events to snowball. That’s the butterfly effect in action, affecting one person after another and causing a ripple effect.
In high school it can be difficult to find real friends who you will stay friends with even after you all go off to separate colleges and make more, new friends. I have a few friends from high school who I still talk to all the time and see when I go home from school on vacation or breaks. My parents, especially my mom, used to tell me to make sure I was friends with people who wanted me to succeed and were happy for me when I did. Some people can be deceiving and secretly want you to fail instead of be the best you can be.
When I came to college it was weird at first because I really didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know who to be friends with and who would be a real friend to me. I remember talking to my mom on the phone my freshman year and talking about certain people on my hall and how I felt something was off about them because they never seemed happy when I was doing well with soccer or my grades. My mom used to give me advice on staying close to a few people I really enjoyed being around and we all wanted each other to succeed and lift each other up.
I have found my group of close friends who I trust with anything and know that they are happy when good news comes my way and vice versa. It’s nice when you’re around people who are positive and have a good attitude towards life and experiences. There is a huge difference surrounding yourself with positive people than with negative ones.
You can almost feel a shift in the environment and energy around yourself when you go from negative to positive. You feel uplifted and content when you’re with your real friends because they are positive and want you to be the best you can be. It’s a good feeling knowing you have friends who will be there for you and be proud of you and you can be equally proud of them when they succeed and do the best they can at something.
If you have a Facebook, you’ve probably seen a Humans of New York (HONY) post at least once. HONY was started in the summer of 2010 by Brandon Stanton as a photography project. Stanton walks the streets of New York City and photographs the intriguing people who live there.
Stanton has a remarkable talent for talking to complete strangers and photographing them in a way that lets you see just a glimpse of their everyday lives, including a quote by the subject. Sometimes these quotes are playful and innocent, but sometimes they’re extremely personal.
For example, one post showed a young man with a Mohawk and tattoos wearing spikes and leather. In his quote, the man explained that he went to jail for threatening to kill an older man who was stalking his younger sister. Many times Stanton photographs people’s hands or feet as they confess something personal, to keep their identity hidden. But even the photos that don’t show the hardship in people’s eyes somehow manage to show emotion.
Although the photos from NYC have always touched my heart, HONY’s newest adventure has done something incredible. In August, Stanton set out on a 50-day adventure around the world to photograph a whole array of people. While on this adventure, Stanton visited the Middle East.
Since 2001, the Middle East has been depicted as a desolate land full of barbarians and terrorists. Since then, it’s been hard to humanize the Middle East. But in the 13 years since 9/11, Stanton has done something that no one else has: he somehow overcame that barrier, and humanized the Middle East in a way that is absolutely beautiful.
If you’re a faithful HONY follower, you can appreciate the conversations that Stanton has with his subjects in New York. When you compare the posts from New York and the Middle East, you can see the same issues come up. One post in particular, a college-aged girl in Jordan explains that she pushes people away because she’s afraid to get hurt. I don’t know about other girls my age, but I’ve felt that way a million times.
Some of the heavier stories include a shop owner recalling the day the Taliban ripped apart his store and killed his friend. Seeing the sadness and terror in his eyes as he recalled the event is truly amazing. We hear about these things on the news, but we brush them off. Seeing a photo of the person, and seeing the words they have said really bring it home.
Since 9/11, there’s been so much judgment and hate towards Middle Easterners. I can recall snide remarks being made about some of my high school classmates who were of Middle Eastern descent, even if they lived in the US for their entire life. What HONY has done in the Middle East may be the most beautiful art project I’ve ever seen. Reading what these people have to say and what they’ve been through is heart wrenching.
No matter what stereotypes an area has, we must remember that the stereotypes are only true for a small group. As humans, we have to open our hearts and see that there are others who have the same battles, and there are some who have seen horrors beyond our imagination. Regardless, we need to start realizing these are people, just like us.
I challenge everyone to spend just 30 minutes scrolling through HONY. It will give you an amazing new perspective on not only the Middle East, but the people you pass on the streets. You never know what amazing stories someone has.
The Masquerade Ball that took place on Saturday, Feb. 23 was a lot of fun.
It was put on by Hillel (a Radford University organization revolving around the Jewish faith) in celebration of Purim, a Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from a corrupt royal named Haman, and is discussed in the book of Esther.
There are many things in this world that annoy people such as political commercials, loud noises, traffic, etc. But there is one thing that is universally annoying: rude people. Continue reading Stop talking or leave→
I love the “Iron Man” franchise. It’s rare to have a sequel that’s arguably better than the first, but “Iron Man 2″ did it. Now with the third installment, it looks like they’re trying to make Iron Man (or at least someone in the Iron Man armor) into a robotic Captain America, which I’m apprehensive about. Though with the Mandarin as the villain, you know that this movie is going to kick tail regardless. Continue reading Weekly time wasters: “Iron Man” and the deer crossing→