This afternoon, I heard of “imaginal cells,” the first time, from Peter Merry. I’ve immediately googled the term but found mostly bio-science references, except one webpage that had some thought-provoking excerpts from Butterfly , a bookby Norie Huddle , published on Earth Day, 1990.
I thought if fans of collective intelligence are a little bit like me, then they’ll appreciate Norie’s beautiful story about the butterfly’s ‘imaginal cells. It evokes images of possibility to escape to a higher level of intelligence and fitness, with utter naturalness and eloquent simplicity.
Here’s the story:
“The caterpillars new cells are called ‘imaginal cell.’ They resonate at a different frequency. They are so totally different from the catepillar cells that his immune system thinks they are enemies…and gobbles them up–Chomp! Gulp! But these new imaginal cells continue to appear. More and more of them! Pretty soon, the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough. More and more of the imaginal cells survive. And then an amazing thing happens! The little tiny lonely imaginal cells start to clump together, into friendly little groups. They all resonate together at the same frequency, passing information from one to another. Then, after awhile, another amazing thing happens! The clumps of imaginal cells start to cluster together!.., A long string of clumping and clustering imaginal cell, all resonating at the same frequency, all passing information from one to another there inside the chrysalis.”
“A wave of Good News travels throughout the system– Lurches and heaves…but not yet a butterfly.”
“Then at some point, the entire long string of imaginal cells suddenly realizes all together that it is Something Different from the caterpillar. Something New! Something Wonderfull!….and in that realization is the shout of the birth of the butterfly!”
Happy Birthday Butterfly!!!
“Since the butterfly now “knows” that it is a butterfly, the little tiny imaginal cells no longer have to do all those things individual cells must do. Now they are part of a mult-celled organism– A FAMILY who can share the work.”
“Each new butterfly cell can take on a different job.—-There is something for everyone to do. And everyone is important. And each cell begins to do just that very thing it is most drawn to do. And every other cell encourages it to do just that.”
“A great way to organize a butterfly!”