From Caterpillar To Butterfly
It has been a while since I last wrote and that is because every so often I need to 'sit with' what is happening and not do or say something. The current epidemic and its consequences had a domino impact on many levels for all of us.
In this article, I wanted to discuss a bit more something that has always been present in my writings but, maybe, in not such an explicit way: the constant transition of oneself.
Most of the times we consider ourselves as that fixed entity that moves from one thing to another. Perfectly understandable as we live under that physical, emotional and mental skin all the time. The way that each one of us knows we are present in space and time, is by experiencing at any given moment how our bodies function and feel, what are our feelings, what are we thinking and what is it that we want- a need, a drive and a quest-. This experience is unique for each one of us every moment and we can only describe or even consciously understand ourselves some part of it.
Contemplate for a moment that right now you are reading this, your body continues doing all its internal processes, you might be drinking or eating something at the same time, you are hearing noises inside and outside of the room that you are in, you are experiencing certain feelings and having certain thoughts. The complexity of our presence is really a wonder!
As this wonder is not enough, it is also continuously changing. The very next moment we are feeling something different, we are thinking another thought, we are engaged with something else and altogether having a different experience. How could we still be the same 'person' that experiences all these?
Are we not being influenced, touched and affected by the smile of another person, their touch, the view from our house, the noise from the street, the internal demands? How, then, can we still be the same person every day?
It is true that in order to make sense of our lives we need a reference point, something that will remain somehow static, still and stable in this 'madness' of constant change inside and around us. Hence, we invented the sense of self, that entity that consists of things that we are and we are not, that we know of ourselves, that we can and can not do, that have formed us and are part of our history. We feel we are that narrative that describes us exactly and, partially, is true because it consists of all the experiences, processes and truths that we have understood to be. It is like being a library that is made of the building, the books and the people who work in it.
Lets entertain for a while the thought that the entity 'library' could also include the books that were ordered and never arrived, the builders that build it, the repairs that were ever done to it, the weather conditions that touched its exterior, the people that ever visited the library, the sentiments that the people left by being there, the missing books that were never returned to it and so on. That makes the library a much 'bigger' entity that consists of so many more processes and material than our initial perception of it.
That is also what is happening to us. Like caterpillar that turns into chrysalis and then into a butterfly, we have the ability to change. In fact our bodies change without even asking us, destroying and creating new cells every day. For other animals contemplating a change, like the one of caterpillars, for themselves is probably considered impossible. Somehow, though, the caterpillars in their evolutionary journey they managed to imagine themselves differently, they created and followed a different narrative of that that they can not fly and they managed to transform into a being that can fly, even if that meant that they will live only up to few months more.
Imagine the fragility of the transition from a body walking onto the earth into a being creating (beautiful) wings to fly. It stays there from days to months semi-protected, vulnerable to weather conditions and external threats. Yet, this is its journey, this is the journey that completes and fulfils its existence, this is its destiny!
I find this a very powerful and important symbolism of the human evolutionary journey. We, too, have evolved from other species. It is absolutely miraculous, if one really contemplates the amount of achievements humanity has achieved. From rough, egotistical, language less survivors, we became the creators of societies and civilisations, religions and laws all driven by a desire for something. That desire or desires, whatever they were, made us commit to and pursue our expansion further and further.
It is really wonderous to realise that we have been driving a ship with such eager without knowing exactly
where it is going!
What is really driving us? What are we truly devoted to?
They both feel very important questions right now, which they need to be answered on a personal and collective level. We are triumphants of the earth, we came, we evolved, we conquered, we managed to survive and thrive on it. What is it that we want to do now? Destroy it and, along with it, our lives?
The creation of political and financial systems helped us for many centuries to put things in order, to organise our library and make it function as smoothly and productively as it could. It feels like they have taken a life of their own now. People have identify so much with what these systems mean to them, that they are so resistant to change. The same happens in several systems such as family, companies, societies.
It is like the employees of the library have taken it over and keep piling up books considering them to be the most important good in the world and the library gets so full that no one can visit it anymore, gets dirty and so many things are breaking down.
What is, really, the point of having so many poems, when we can not read and appreciate any?
What is the point of creating music and sound, when we can not sing our own songs to one another?
What will it take until we realise that caterpillars become butterflies because they survive better and prettier and not necessarily for longest?
The answers are always personal...
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