Now, heres a cool fact about butterflies (& moths);
Researchers found that moths can remember things they learned when they were caterpillars — even though the process of metamorphosis essentially turns their brains and bodies into a homogenous goo. (Blackiston, Douglas J et al. PloS one vol. 3,3 e1736. 2008)
Georgetown University Researchers trained the caterpillars by associating a specific (otherwise neutral) odor with a negative stimuli. The caterpillars learned to avoid this odor.
Metamorphosis occurs with the release of enzymes which dissolve most of its tissues into their constituent protein. Then a group of specialised cells proceed to reconstruct the broken-down caterpillar body into that of a butterfly/moth.
Amazingly, despite this breakdown and reformation, the adult butterfly still exhibits the learned response from its caterpillar days, of avoiding that specific odor.
As I watch the leaves begin to change color and fall, the days shorten, and the weather shift, I’m thinking about the butterflies metamorphosis as a symbolic pattern. Fall is the symbolic “Death” (with vestigial cultural remnants like Halloween) Winter is the Chrysalis, and Spring is the Rebirth.
I’ve found a lot of value in allowing these types of patterns to influence my internal states of mind; where and how I focus (or unfocus) my attention throughout the year. I’m curious what internal forms in me will be dissolved into goo and which memories will carry on after the winter, into spring when I feel like pretty butterfly again. 😄 🦋
“Perfect as the wing of a bird may be, it will never enable the bird to fly if unsupported by the air. Facts are the air of science. Without them a man of science can never rise. Without them your theories are vain surmises. But while you are studying, observing, experimenting, do not remain content with the surface of things. Do not become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin. ”
– Ivan Pavlov