Webs of life and cocoons we weave

The best-known association of the cocoon as a protection of life and a rebirth through metamorphosis, is the lifecycle of a butterfly. The staggering changes that take place from a caterpillar to a butterfly bring into sharp focus one of the outstanding wonders of nature.

Steven James captures this as follows: “Think of a caterpillar entering a cocoon. Once he does so, one of two things will happen: He will either transform into a butterfly, or he will die. But no matter what else happens, he will never climb out of the cocoon as a caterpillar.”

Of course there are also the figurative cocoons of life. In many ways most of us live cocooned lives as we go through childhood and our teenage years. Then comes adulthood and maturity, which bring responsibilities and a necessary escape from the constraints and protection of youth. Dana Arcuri depicts the essence: “Similar to a butterfly, I’ve gone through a metamorphosis, been released from my dark cocoon, embraced my wings and soared!”

But then, there are those who choose — or are forced through circumstances — to protect themselves from certain people, situations and aspects of life. Some realities and challenges are too much for them. Their method of escape is reflected by James Russell Lowell: “The mind can weave itself warmly in the cocoon of its own thoughts, and dwell a hermit anywhere.”

For the vast majority, however, much like the butterfly, we soar into the adult world, participate in its workings and become a part of the tapestry of the universe. The ‘webs of life’ become our framework, and our actions and practices are connected to all that constitutes its realms. Our status is vividly reflected in these powerful quotes:

“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the children of the Earth.”

— Chief Seattle

“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.”

— William Shakespeare

“The web of life both cradles us and calls us to weave it further.”

— Joanna M

Humankind would be well-advised to consider, reflect upon and then embrace the assertions of two of the leaders in the field of man’s position in the universe and on our planet:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

— Albert Einstein

“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

— Chief Seattle

The very survival of life as we know it depends on how we interact with the ‘Cocoons and Webs of Life’. And we have not factored in the World Wide Web and its ugly cousin, the Internet of Things… that introduce a whole different dimension.



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