Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Butterflies and Karasses

I watched a Nova special last night called "The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies". In short it tells about how four generations of butterlies make their way across 2,000  miles in a migration between Mexico and Canada. (and back again).

A couple of things struck me about this. First off, yes, it is quite an accomplishment but the fact that is a repeating multi-generational cycle really got me thinking.

Here is a rough sketch of how this multi-generational task happens:
The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies
Generation 1 leaves mexico and adventures into the US and dies along the journey
Generation 2 continues the northward quest
Generation 3 continues northward into Canada and finds the final destination
Generation 4 makes the trek all the way back from Canada to Mexico

Each generation does it's thing and lives it's life as it was "supposed to". And each generation is a critical component of a successful whole, yet totally unaware of the grand plan of the whole thing. ( I can't really speak to the philosphy, wisdom, or Omniscience of butterflies but it's a good guess that they are unaware of the plan)

You can probably see the simile coming but doesn't this seem like it could be plausible when it comes to us human beings? 

Is there a grand plan that we are only a part of?  A plan that spans more than the 80 or so years of one life?

If that is the case then it begs the question of whether or not I will be able to appreciate this "Grand Plan". Will I still be around as it continues it's unfolding? Or will I have just been food in a spider web somewhere between Mexico and Canada.

It brings to mind Vonnegut's concept of the Karass.


Paul said...

Love this post, its so up my street.
I mean this is the Butterfly effect bigtime!
On the surface its butterflys and flowers. But under it all, a bigger picture unfolds.

Will said...

Thanks Paul, You are right about the butterfly effect. Thanks for commenting.