When I look at the inspired, devoted, and brilliant people at work in so many ways to repair and nourish the world, in families, communities, and sustainable enterprises everywhere on Earth, I see the imaginal cells of our own transformation.
Our struggle around money, and all the tension, fears, and excesses that go with it, has a parallel in nature. Evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris says that the caterpillar, at a certain point in its life cycle, becomes a voracious, over consumptive glutton consuming everything in sight and within reach. At this point in its evolution it can eat hundreds of times its own weight, and the more it consumes the more fat and sluggish it gets. At that same moment of developmental excess, inside the caterpillar the imaginal cells begin to stir. Imaginal cells are specialized cells, and in the minority, but when they connect with each other they become the genetic directors of the metamorphosis of the caterpillar. At some point in the caterpillar’s feeding frenzy stage, the imaginal cells usher in the process in which the over consumptive caterpillar becomes the “nutritive soup” out of which the imaginal cells create the miracle of the butterfly.
When I first heard this caterpillar-butterfly metaphor I loved it because it gave me a way to see the world the way it is, even its state of voracious greed, as a kind of evolutionary phase. It is such a fitting metaphor for our time. When I look at the inspired, devoted, and brilliant people at work in so many ways to repair and nourish the world, in families, communities, and sustainable enterprises everywhere on Earth, I see the imaginal cells of our own transformation. That’s us, people like me and people like you, people whose stories I’ve shared in this book, and people appreciating them, people creating new ways, seeing new possibilities.
The fall of unsustainable structures in business, economics, politics, and government—the collapse of companies like WorldCom, Enron,and Tyco in recent years—and the unraveling of corporate corruption could be the beginning of the voracious caterpillar’s becoming the nutritive soup from which will grow the miracle of the butterfly.
From THE SOUL OF MONEY: TRANSFORMING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY AND LIFE by Lynne Twist. Copyright © 2003 by Lynne Twist. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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