What a caterpillar is doing, in its self–imposed quarantine, is basically digesting itself. It is using enzymes to reduce its body to goo, turning itself into a soup of ex-caterpillar — a nearly formless sludge oozing around a couple of leftover essential organs (tracheal tubes, gut).*
They want the things that are truly worth wanting. They elevate their desires. The world tells them to be a good consumer but they want to be the one consumed.**
We resist change.
As Arthur Brooks writes,
Even more powerful than our urge for more is our resistance to less. We try even harder to avoid losses than we do to achieve gains.
He explains how this hard-wiring would make a lot of sense
in the days of our ancestors
when losing some of the little they had was more
life-threatening than obtaining some extra.
David Brooks describes those amongst us who are
willing to take a risk,
Letting go of the life they have
which they admit to be dissatisfying –
Achievement, power, popularity, wealth
(he calls these extrinsic goals the first mountain) –
For something I imagine as
What I often find myself reflecting on as
honour and nobility and enlightenment.
You’ll have spotted why I put the opening quotes
The caterpillar is totally consumed and yet experiences transformation;
This is the nature of possibility
the metamorphosising caterpillar teaches us:
What you experience in the universe outside you also exists in the universe within you. The universe literally flows though you. … The universe has one intention: to create life.^^
This may not be easy,
Or even pleasant,
But it is your nature of possibility.
*Austin Kleon’s blog: Advice from a caterpillar;
**David Brooks’ The Second Mountain;
^Arthur Brooks’ From Strength to Strength:
^^Erwin McManus’ The Way of the Warrior.