"I saw a vision of us move in the dark. Everything we did and dreamed regarded each other... "
Frequently, in both the creative process and myth, as one moves towards the transformative moment, a similar pattern appears. First there is a disintegration of form, a breakdown of what used to be working, and a descent into the shadows... followed by a turning around, at the last minute, which leads to transformation and the creation of something new.
It is no surprise that great scientists, chefs and entrepreneurial visionaries speak of similar processes. Were it possible to see clearly that the innovation that will change everything simply awaits us, possible to get the whole picture in advance, then the future would be a given, and the creative process – the process of transformation – would be little more than an algorithm, a series of steps taken in broad daylight towards a fixed goal known in advance and visible in the distance. That no creator has ever described his or her life and work in such terms means that mystery and creativity are inextricably bound. We invent precisely when we can’t invent. We create when it seems no longer possible to do so. We innovate when it seems certain that we have no vision.
And crossing these dark valleys, we create the future. We put it together in the dark, through a million clever attempts.
The future is not a given. And while of course it’s the case that we create our collective future as a group and our individual futures on our own, the reverse is also true. My future is something I invent with you; just as the world’s future is something we create by ourselves.
The paradoxes of the butterfly effect, long ago internalized by a new generation, are remaking our eyes. We act, and everything changes.
We look – and even ruins can come back to life. Every action is a turning point both for us and the world. In a sense, the butterfly effect is a gift to and from the future. It lets us glimpse a world of diaphanous beauty, while keeping us mindful of something astounding, which has always been true: we transform; we create.
We are caterpillars, with infinite possibilities for future transformations.