Sunday, July 15, 2012

Processional Caterpillars

Processional Caterpillars eat pine needles. They move through the trees in a long procession, one leading and the rest following behind. Each one, his eyes half-closed, fits snugly against the rear of his predecessor. A French naturalist, experimented with a group of these caterpillars. He successfully enticed them to the rim of a large pot and eventually connected the first one in the line to the last one, thus forming a circle with neither beginning nor end. He fully expected that after a time, they would figure out the joke, get tired of their futile march and head off in a new direction. But they didn’t. Through force of habit, the creeping circle of caterpillars kept moving around the rim of the pot. Round and round they went, keeping the same relentless pace for seven days and nights and probably would not have stopped then were it not for exhaustion and starvation. Incidentally, there was an large visible supply of food near by, but it not within the range of the circle they walked, so the caterpillars didn’t get to it. Instead they followed their habit, custom, tradition, precedent, past experience, “standard operating procedure” blindly, one behind the other, until they died. They interpreted activity for accomplishment. They meant well, but got no where. Which of your habits, traditions, procedures, methods, customs are getting you no where? Are you ready to open your eyes and notice what you’re doing and where you’re going? If you are covering the same territory, learning the same lessons, and not progressing, it might be time to choose a different route, pattern, or goal. Resistance to change, holding outdated opinions, staying on the beaten path because that’s what you’ve always done can lead to a lifeless redundancy and stagnation.