Perhaps you have heard the philosophical hypothesis that, depending upon whether one saves or kills the butterfly in the middle of nowhere, the entire history of the world could be drastically changed. We could ask the same “what if” for a lot of things. For instance:
What if the people who couldn’t stand Mohammed had decided to kill him instead of letting him return to Mecca?
What if Jesus had never come?
What if George Washington hadn’t been spared when he accompanied the British soldiers who were massacred early in his career?
What if John Kennedy had not been wearing a full body truss and had been able to bend and duck Oswald’s fatal second shot?
What if people had really understood what a fiasco the ACA was before they re-elected Obama?
I know. All of these cases involve something a lot bigger than butterflies. But there were a lot of butterflies flying around before Obama’s election. And a lot of people were swatting at them or simply ignoring them. The butterflies were all of us small voices who were trying to warn people of the truth.
Sometimes I write an article that I know is one of the best articles out there, only to have almost no one read it. Sometimes this distresses me. After all, crafting a well-written article of term paper length is not an easy task. Between research, writing, rewriting, proofreading and editing, there’s at least a good day’s work involved, and sometimes more. Some of my posts are book reviews, which take only a fraction of the time to write as the week or two it takes to actually read the book. I am often tempted to think that my effort is in vain. But then I think about the butterfly effect. What if just one person, the right person, somewhere in the world, reads just one article, and it changes his thinking in some way? And what if that person is destined to be an international leader? Perhaps everything I have ever written would be worth it for that one connection.
The other thing that I now have the luxury to understand is the time value of everything. Some articles, such as an article that endorses one candidate over another might have a rather short time value. I can see this in how quickly readership falls off after the initial spike. Other articles, such as those on the Obama presidency, have a value as at least as long as Obama remains in office.
There are other articles, those that teach about a philosophy or that bring to light relevant truths about health or finances–universal and timeless subjects–that have a time value that lasts throughout history. People are still reading Aristotle 2500 years later. They are still teaching the fifth century Art of War in military schools. People are still reading about the woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet, a seemingly insignificant event in Jesus’ life. Some of my articles that no one read in the first week or month have gone on to have hundreds of readings.
There are very few Osama Bin Ladens or Billy Grahams in this world. Most preachers in this country preach to less than 200 people. Yet none of them is insignificant. It only took one Jeremiah Wright to inspire Obama. It only took one insignificant monk named Martin Luther to forever change the face of the Christian church. All of us are insignificant. And yet, none of us unimportant. The sum of our efforts over time determines how the next generation will think, perhaps even whether the next generation will be free citizens in a sovereign land or cogs in a statist new world order. Like a tug-of-war, the difference between victory and defeat, between veering left or right, can hinge on some small sentence or some seemingly trifling article that ends up, over time, making all the difference.