The natural tendency of humans is to look for order. In general, the progress and development of technology and society have enabled us to live in a world that is much more organized and predictable than the one of our ancestors. However there are moments in which this order is disrupted and things become chaotic. We are living one of such moments now, with the Corona virus spreading fast across countries.
But what looks like chaos is not necessarily the total lack of order. Actually, chaotic states may also be studied, and this is the purpose of Chaos theory. According to Wikipedia:
“Chaos theory is a branch of Mathematics focusing on the study of chaos—states of dynamical systems whose apparently-random states of disorder and irregularities are often governed by deterministic laws that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. Chaos theory is an interdisciplinary theory stating that, within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, interconnectedness, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, and self-organization.”
One of the most popular concepts of Chaos theory is the Butterfly Effect:
“The Butterfly Effect, an underlying principle of chaos, describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state (meaning that there is sensitive dependence on initial conditions). A metaphor for this behavior is that a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane in Texas.”
At this moment, the Corona virus is disrupting the life of hundreds of millions of people globally. Factories have been closed, travelers have cancelled their trips, conferences have been postponed, children are studying from home.
There is a rumor that everything started with a Chinese guy eating bat soup. Imagine that: one person eating bat soup in China causes Billions of dollars of losses in the economy worldwide. Exactly like the Butterfly Effect.
But it is not really important if the Corona virus started with a bat soup. The fact is that at some point a single person got infected accidentally, and now all the world is suffering the consequences. This is Chaos theory, in practice.