The Wings of Butterflies

A barbaric group of teenagers breaks into a home and wallows in the muck of what it considers a great time. “The greatest day of my life,” said one of the festive litter of irresponsible parents. He was referring to the hedonistic brawl that included deliberate damage to the home in the amount of an estimated $20,000. The owner of the home, Brian Holloway, maintains that those three hundred or so teenagers can be redeemed. As he sees it, that’s the one significant positive outcome possible because of the event’s notoriety. Okay. But, I’d like to add another dimension to this mindless event.

My addition is prompted by the unseemly rush of parents who seek a lawsuit (!) against Mr. Holloway for his posting some photos of their spawn. In addition to the fact that his action is perfectly legal, the teenagers had posted their own photos of the event prior to his appeal for their redemption. While researching the incident, I saw some of the photos that passed as images of human faces. Redemption? I don’t think so. The photos loudly speak for themselves.

The Holloway incident triggers a metaphor for weather patterns wherein a butterfly flaps its wings in still air and initiates a miniscule breeze that, in turn, produces a slightly stronger breeze pressing against a nearby leaf, and so on until a category 5 hurricane is created. On a larger scale, this meteorological metaphor is applicable to the formation of real weather patterns.

The same is true of enormous cultural movements, e.g., ancient Greek culture, the Renaissance, the French, Russian, and American revolutions. Yet, while historians provide us with their extensively detailed interpretations of geopolitical upheavals of the past and some analysts include predictions about future movements, the butterfly metaphor applies to cultural winds at the global level. The Dark Ages and the Renaissance did not occur by chance.

Lots of butterflies are flapping their wings. They have always done so. I’ve been tracking their eventual cultural impacts since the 50s. I first recognized the power of butterfly wings when a young honor student was killed by a gang of subhuman teens “just for the fun of it.” They were rewarded by social workers that were assigned to rehabilitate them with fieldtrips that included fishing. Of course, when one of the mothers was asked if her killer ‘child’ had been given a ‘fair shake,’ she happily replied “yes,” but she made no mention of regret for the death of the honor student. The efforts to rehabilitate the honor student’s killer were celebrated on television, and in highly visible headlines and articles on page two of several newspapers. Shortly thereafter, the student’s heartbroken father left the city. That event was briefly mentioned, buried deep within only one of several New York City newspapers.

I thought then, “Oh, so this is how civilizations begin to die.” In the form of a vicious gang, a butterfly had flapped its wings.

Other butterflies have flapped their wings since then. Certainly, the Holloway incident is one of them. It doesn’t matter whether or not the grossly irresponsible parents of those horribly deformed teenagers obtain unscrupulous lawyers to sue Mr. Holloway. What does matter is that it occurred to them to do so.

On June 20, 2011, I posted an article titled, Devouring the Egg. Not too subtly, the Holloway incident demonstrates the ultimate crime that most parents inflict on their children. The crime begins with bribery in the form of excessive toys, expensive gifts, and (worst of all) a total lack of moral discipline. The crime rears its ugliest form when parents rush to their darlings’ defense. In this case, the crime was compounded by their search for lawyers. Children who can see through their morally destitute parents will hate them for this ultimate betrayal, or go on living their meaningless lives, or (rarely) begin their journey through the genuine rehabilitation that can come only from within.

On the surface, those teenagers appear to be no more than an anomaly. In reality, they are an integral part of current global decadence. Many people believe that civilization will be destroyed by an apocalyptic war. Their belief may prove to be true. But by whatever means civilization may collapse, it will have begun by the wings of butterflies.

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