Monday, December 10, 2012

Butterfly Effect goes "Sophie's World"

N.B. Sophie's World is a novel by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder about a young girl's introduction to the world of philosophy. It was either that or The Matrix for the title.

Now that the title has been explained, let's move on...

As I was sitting with 2 others having one of those truly entertaining evenings filled with the right amount of laughter, random conversations and interesting discussions, one of them says “I wish so-and-so was with us”. This of course was said out of love, wishing the presence of another to enjoy the evening with us. However, had this person been with us, would we have had the exact same evening?

Once that thought was up in the air, we went into deep discussion on what that meant, and we have settled on the following:

Each person on this Earth has a certain link or relationship with another person that is unique to that person. What that means is that, for example, if you can say you are friends with two people, your friendship with one person is not identical to your friendship with the other. The dynamic between two people is a two way street, and it is the combination of both ways which ultimately creates the unique relationship between the two of you. This can be felt most when socializing one-on-one. You have the friend who you tell your every thought to, the friend who makes you laugh, the friend with all the gossip, the friend with all the answers, the friend you don’t really know much about but just thoroughly enjoy their company. You could be friends with someone despite obvious differences, but a shared experience or hardship brought you closer. Did you ever meet two people who were so close but surprisingly so different?

You never have the same conversation with two people; even when you’re talking about the same thing, it can never be experienced twice - exactly identical - even with the same person. It is the amalgamation of everything you've ever been exposed to in your life from personalities, backgrounds, experiences to ideals and opinions, etc., along with where you are in your life journey, that make us all who we are as individuals, and more or less define what kind of people (e.g. friends) we will be. And when two beings come in contact, all aspects of you come into play somehow. The dynamic is created by feeding off of what is happening before you and you respond accordingly.Therefore, if you change the person before you to someone with a different combination of life exposure (or lack thereof), the dynamic will alter with it according to how your being interacts with theirs; two-way street. Add a third person, and the dynamic is no longer a two-way street but six, maybe even more. Once you increase the number of players, the setting becomes all the more complex and harder to control because you're adding more variables as well as various combinations of those variables flying back and forth between all those present.

So we have established that no two relationships can be identical. That does not mean that you necessarily love one person more or less than another, you could say you just love them differently. I can say I love both my parents equally more than any other living thing on this planet, but there is no doubting that my relationship with my mother is nothing like my relationship with my father, similarly those relationships are unique to any others.

Okay, so at this point our theory is starting to make sense to us, and the discussion is heating up as we all fight to say what we’re thinking only to find we are all thinking the same thing but saying it differently. It is because of these different dynamics among people that no scenario can occur exactly as it has if one person was missing or even added. As the three of us were sitting, we realized that this discussion has resulted from the combination of dynamics between us, and it would not have played out the same way if there was a fourth person, regardless of who that person was, even if they were just sitting quietly in a corner or in another room altogether. We didn't know if we could attribute it to one’s ‘energy’ or ‘aura’ or if we could say this was some form of the ‘butterfly effect’, we just felt we were onto something here.

Then we pushed it a little further; had we had different seating arrangements, had we been sitting in an entirely different location, had it been slightly colder or warmer, had it been earlier or later, had there been food or had there been a TV playing 90s music videos, would this evening have played out the same way?

For example, had a certain song been playing which lead one of us to tell a story about that song, or perhaps refer us to another song, the conversation would have been steered in an entirely different direction. We might have gone down the YouTube path introducing song after song to each other, or we may have spent it telling similar stories to the one the first song sparked up initially. Imagine the possible different routes that night could have taken based on that song in the background. Imagine how different those routes could be from song to song. The song could very well have just played in the background with no effect to the evening at all. Or it could have gone by barely unnoticed if not for the one person who suddenly had a change in mood.


At this point our minds began to spin and we called it quits. But it did get me thinking about relationships in terms of the unique dynamic between any two people; how can you expect the kind of relationship you will have with your significant other before meeting them? How can one have expectations when there is no saying what kind of dynamic you two will create? Not just that, but once officially a married couple, who knows what kind of changes to this dynamic could occur when under one roof. Such a change in the situation of the relationship could very well destroy it. Maybe you two worked as a couple when each of you led separate lives, but not so much when you shared one? Maybe you worked together three years ago when you first met, but grew up and grew apart? Or even vice versa, you didn’t work then but you could very well work now. Maybe you work when away from family and friends in total isolation, otherwise you allow people to get involved in your relationship and ultimately ruin it. Perhaps you are the perfect couple to be in the public eye, but do not work behind closed doors.

Such unforeseeable circumstances I attribute to the final pillar I called ‘Life’. This, to me, is the miscellaneous category of marriage. It is ultimately the hardest category to face and accept because it does not exactly affect how you feel or interact, but does in fact govern your life together or at least the probability of it ever happening. This isn't limited to aspects of emotion and personal growth, it also includes general circumstances in life. It is painful to accept not being with the person you really and truly feel has been catered to be your partner because, say, you come from different parts of the world, or you are at different stages in your life. This is something that may be overcome, yes, but in some circumstances, they are not. Sometimes it's not outside influences keeping you from being together, but between the two of you, your individual life 'lines' have not yet met on the all-encompassing plane of life.

But, hey....that’s life.

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