The Invisible Staircase of Small Event Series

Pendant ces six semaines d’absence, il s’était passé en France tant de petites choses qu’elles avaient presque composè un grand événement. [Alexandre Dumas, Vingt Ans Apres, 250.]

A series of pebbles linked by cause and effect so B builds upon A can be as significant as a single mountain…and with the additional significant trait that perhaps no one will notice–and thus no one will oppose–the rising influence of the staircase of pebbles; the mountain may be as high but invisible. A series of small events may go unnoticed because most observers will assume that after each individually insignificant event, the situation will “return to normal.” If, instead, each event causes a change in behavior that prepares the way for a new change that would otherwise have been less likely to occur, then the result will be: surprise!


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