Thursday, August 28, 2014

Domino Effect vs. Butterfly Effect

The Butterflies flap the wings to make big Impact; the Dominos accumulate the energy to release the power. 

The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then causes another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes. It typically refers to a linked sequence of events where the time between successive events is relatively small. In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. (Wikipedia)

Scale: The difference between this two effect is mostly a matter of scale. The Butterfly Effect can start from very tiny events and spread to massive change downstream, so from narrow scale triggers to broad scale outcomes. The Domino Effect, on the other hand, seems to usually refer to a narrow scale trigger that creates narrow outcomes, in a few areas. We see domino effects a lot in politics or economics, or 'rolling blackouts' when they happen. On the other hand, a butterfly effect would be consistent with a small change in water temperature in one area of the ocean creating an altered weather pattern for months or even years in a completely different location, though a butterfly effect could also be a political or economic event as well.

Non-linear vs. Linear: Butterfly effect is about a space lag interconnect (not time lag). A small change in an entirely different arena causes a big change in a very different arena. Because ultimately all 'systems' are also interconnected. While domino effect is the effect of how a trigger in a system can lead to big change due to reinforcing loops within that arena itself. The Butterfly Effect is subtle, possibly spread over a very long time period, and almost impossible to detect. Is it possible that the butterfly effect is one of indirect cause and effect - nonlinear causation over space and time so more in alignment with the paradigm of complexity? See the butterfly effect as an example of inputs into a chaotic system, so it is inherently unpredictable.

Traceable vs. Unpredictable: If you could trace the input to the eventual output that would be an example of the Domino effect, no matter how big or small the consequences. The butterfly flap of the wing may be a necessary, but by no means sufficient cause of the changes. The adjacent butterfly's flap might have been necessary, but not sufficient for making weather changes. So the set of all butterflies in their grove and their specific wing flap times might be considered equivalent to the initial domino.

The world has been impacted by multiple effects, either Domino Effect or Butterfly Effect, with the cognition of their difference, humans can adapt to nature and influence the environment in more positive and proactive way.


This is a very good read. Explains the difference quite well.

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