Small structural changes in complex systems like our biological system can have dramatic effects. The complex set of behaviors we broadly call “maternal instincts” is actually driven by tiny hormonal changes. Oxytocin and vasopressin are two of the tiny proteins we call hormones that involved in this particular dramatic behavioral change. This is not the only example of small things affecting large systems. The rabies virus causes dramatic behavioral changes in mammals. In fact this tiny virus actually edits the brain and thinking mechanics of the mammal to hijack the complex biological system in order to reproduce more copies of itself.
The point here is to recognize the real significance of the introduction of certain small structural changes on complex systems. This does not mean to say that all changes are equal. A small bit of sand eaten by a complex mammalian organism is very different in terms of effect than a rabies virus. Not all small changes in complex systems are equally capable to drive large scale behavioral changes. The take away point is that some small changes can and do have a powerful impact.
Let’s look at the collection of behaviors we do to carry out our day and connect this to their potential to impact humanity as a whole. If we apply this simple message to our everyday lives we can begin to see the connective tissue of cause and effect on the whole of humanity. Greeting the clerk at the store, letting someone in on a crowded highway, holding a door for someone or simply smiling cheerfully and greeting someone becomes a powerful unit of change and influence. Understanding how small changes can affect large scale systems can help us see the importance of each moment and our significance in powerfully contributing to something far greater than ourselves. These small changes can affect the way our education systems are geared, whether or not someone will later become a murderer or a leader for the betterment of mankind. It can ultimately affect such things as the way governments relate to each and whether we tackle the tough problems of hunger and poverty. It is important to remember that we should not confuse small with powerless. Each of us has a voice in this massive choir of mankind and the power of one voice should never be underestimated.