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The Maastricht Diplomat

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The World’s Butterfly Effect

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

The Butterfly Effect is a complex mathematical theory that essentially describes how the minimum flutter of a butterfly could cause a hurricane somewhere else in the world. This concept, which is applicable to the world we live in, entails that everything that happens somewhere will bring about consequences somewhere else in the world. Habitants of the planet are indeed interconnected to each other more than ever, as dynamism and mobility represent the main features of our society. In particular, globalization, the internet and various social platforms greatly contribute to the creation of a worldwide and complex network of relations, resulting in an unprecedented level of connection between the people. Moreover, the world’s population has access to a myriad of communicative platforms and the news spreads at the fastest rate in history, enabling us to virtually be everywhere with a simple click. In this globalised world, change represents the only constant in an increasingly complex and diverse society, leading to feelings of insecurity and instability among the world’s population.

The complexity of this world in endless evolution and transformation, in which the world is a network of relations and contacts, has encountered much resistance among the people who are scared of their economic, political and social position in the uncontrollable and ever-changing society. The rise of populist political movements in all over Europe, such as Alternative Für Deutschland in Germany, the Front Nationale in France and UKIP in Great Britain among the many, as well as Trump’s ascent in the United States; they all play the winning card of nationalism in order to simplify reality in the eyes of the people and guarantee them a certain degree of security in a time of great worldwide instability. Indeed, the strength of these political parties consists in the revival of nationalist feelings and the invocation of the need to protect the borders, the cultural identity and wealth of the people. Furthermore, the unifying feature of these movements is the fierce reaction against a globalised world in which instability and uncertainty create feelings of fear. As a consequence of this, the affirmation of the nation and the people above everything reduces the complexity of reality to a simple ‘us’ versus ‘them’ and is incompatible with direction and the shape the world is moving forward.

Climate change, terrorism, the refugee and economic crisis represent global issues that require a coordinated and shared plan of interventions by the governments, since the interdependence between the various parts of the world further implicates that the sovereignty cannot remain on the level of nation-states, which are absolute entities often in conflicting relations with each other. In particular, the deep crisis in which the European Union is immersed in nowadays is mainly due to the fact that nationalism, which arouse again recently as a counter-reaction movement, undermines cohesiveness and represents a disruptive force of the delicate decisions that are made collectively.

Today more than ever, we have to perceive ourselves as part of a broader and more universal order than the nation we belong to and begin to realize that everything that happens in the world, directly or indirectly, will have an impact in some way or another on us and will necessarily bring about consequences. This prospective doesn’t represent a naïve dream of a worldwide brotherhood, but rather is a crucial element for the development of a global consciousness that aims to overcome the identification of individuals with a single portion of the planet’s vastness.           


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