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The Butterfly Effect

March 16, 2011

They say that the small flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a tsunami on the other side of the world.  Rousseau brings up an interesting way to look at the state of nature.  He creates a unique perspective to see the state of nature through his comparison of animals and people.  They may vary upon instinct now-a-days, but back in the days they must have been pretty similar.  He states, “The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society.(p 395)”  It’s crazy, that it took only one man to corrupt the entire system.  Even if someone had stepped up to this person it still would seem to be late, because the idea was implanted into minds.  The same thing has probably happened in our society today with robbery, killings, and suicide.  If no one ever thought of it, it most likely wouldn’t be a part of our world today.

Above: Curveball is seen in an interview with 60 Minute's Bob Simon.

              Same thing is applicable to the reasons that the United States invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction.  The whole story was covered in 60 Minutes Sunday night, and the whole story left me in question.  How could the CIA fall for just a silly story?  For those of you who haven’t seen the clip the link is posted below, but I’ll catch you up to real time.  Basically there is a chemist called “Curveball” who left Iran to help Saddam Hussein escape.  He initially tried convincing Britain that there were WMD’s in Iraq, but that plan fell through.  Years went by, and Curveball ended up in America.  Then on February 5th, 2003 Sectary of State Colin Powell announced that Saddam had WMD’s, with his only source being curveball.  One man with a very ridiculous, yet convincing argument put the United States in Iraq.  Rousseau would see this as the same type of action that civilized society.

               In lecture on Monday a slide was posted about how natural inequality has no correspondence with social inequality.  I wonder what kind of egocentric group or person could have implemented such an idea into the society.  They would need to find enough people to believe that one group is inferior, and is incapable of having enough power to be recognized as an average social group.  This all can be related back to the butterfly effect and Rousseau’s idea of one person changing society.  Sometimes these people corrupt the society, and then others are forced to make it fair again. 

               This makes me want to emphasize my main point about how one person can change society all over the world.  We have all read about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. making impacts in the United States flawed society of inequality.  A single voice, with a simple idea can reshape an entire society.  Which is why Rousseau’s idea of the social contract seems so convincing in comparison to other theorists.  I would like to hear about other stories that others have heard, been a part of, or read about, that have made large impacts on society.  Were these corrupting, or repairing the society that we are in today?  Would you support their ideas?  Some ideas that are corrupting may be for the best.  Let’s find out.


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