Your life is a chaotic network effect

Part I: Meaning

How did you meet your friends? How did you meet your spouse? You were at the right place at the right time. Unconscious decisions were made by you, by your spouse or friend, by the several persons you have bumped into before meeting the person. Had one of the persons you bumped into made a different unconscious decision, you might have missed your spouse. Your life would be an entirely different one if it wasn’t for the guy in the car who blocked the crossing, delaying you, leading to you meeting your friend. Or the lady in the supermarket queue, who you helped bag her groceries and dropped something — you saved her life because the car that would have hit her if you hadn’t helped her just passed by.

Our lives are the result of tiny chaotic interactions, leading us to meet people seemingly at random. If we interact, if we provide help, love and wisdom, we change people’s lives even more. Irvin Yalom termed this principle ‘ripples’ — your tiniest actions change the lives of other people, quite possibly for generations. Your larger actions and your existence will make its mark in history and, in some way, will make you immortal. In light of our finite existence, I find this principle very satisfying and soothing.

You don’t have to do anything. Be out there and your life will have meaning.