(This article is a chapter of my book Butterfly Communities – the Heroes of a New Metaphysics)

In human societies, the transition from one social state to another was always perceived as a rite of passage – a time of our life especially dedicated to a specific transformation. A rite of passage provides a frame that helps us to evolve and find our way further. Each rite of passage is marked symbolically by two ceremonies – one that marks the beginning – the initiation ritual, and another that marks the ending – the celebration of the successful metamorphosis.

What about a Butterfly Fellowship rite of passage? What if you and some of your friends unite in a temporary fellowship, for two years, to live solidary, learning and doing everything that it takes to deepen a more symbiotic way of life? This rite of passage will be marked by initiation rituals – that will last 6 weeks, enough time for the participants to be initiated into this new kind of relationship. At the end of this journey of discovery and transformation, there will be celebrations that will mark the successful transition from an individualistic to a cooperative human being.

I am searching for various cultural creators to start a community that will pioneer a cultural environment conducive to partnership (that will be organized as a co-op enterprise). We will be among the pioneers who will open a new frontier! I invite you to join me in opening this new frontier and modeling the partnership culture of the Butterfly Fellowships!

The power of open-projects

This book, framing an open-project, invites you to join it. In general, stories are about the story-teller or about some heroes, but they are not about you, the listener. Open-stories are open-ended: there is no resolution yet. There is some kind of opportunity in the future and it is not clear whether it will materialize or not. The resolution of the open-story hinges on you, the listener: the resolution depends in part on the choices you will make and the actions you will take.

An open-story is a call to action directed at the listeners, stressing the role that they can and need to play in resolving the story. Effectively framed open-stories are designed to inspire and motivate others to come together to accomplish something that none of us could fully accomplish on our own. That requires a project that is deeply meaningful not just to ourselves, but to others as well. It should be an opportunity that can be shared by others. It will be even more powerful if the opportunity grows as more and more people join the quest to achieve the opportunity. This provides a powerful sense of shared interest: the more who join us, the bigger and more attractive the opportunity becomes. People are likely to surface from different places, seeking to learn more about the opportunity and how they can participate. The Butterfly Community open project is such a call to action, because it is a transparent invitation toward collaboration from equipotent positions.

Let’s frame together a cultural environment conducive to partnership!

I am looking for various cultural creators to establish a co-op enterprise that will have as its main lucrative purpose the creation of the educational framework that will initiate those who want to engage in a “Butterfly Fellowships” rite of passage. We can conceive of ourselves either as a nomadic caravan of dancers, musicians and educators, traveling through Europe or as a sedentary community, an “eco-village”. In both cases, we will offer the cultural environment necessary for the initiation of those who wish to engage in the Butterfly Fellowship path.

As travelers, we could stay a few months in the big cities of Europe, offering not only theoretical courses but especially the possibility – for those who want – to live with us and deepen a new culture conducive to cooperation. The same thing happens when we choose to form a temporary eco-village where people can find us, co-learn and co-live with us. We need artists to create our songs, dances and art, our symbols and rituals. We need educators able to engage the students in transformative courses. We, with our students, will be a learning community, but also an economic enterprise, organized as a co-op (see co-op movement and philosophy).

Come with your needs, ideas, creativity, resources, aspirations and visions!

There is another element of open-stories that helps to enhance their potential: they encourage new ideas. An open-project could frame an opportunity with enough specificity to be credible and inspiring, but it doesn’t develop the opportunity in such detail that there is nothing left to be said. The most inspiring open-projects are those that invite participation to the opportunity – as it emerges and evolves. Open-projects also leave a large open space regarding the detailed actions required to achieve the opportunity. As a result, people are encouraged to come with their imagination and creativity. Open-projects have the potential to build a deeper, long-term meaningful relationship as we join together to pursue what inspires us. 

“Butterfly Fellowship rite of passage” represents an invitation to contribute ideas at multiple levels, both in developing a deeper understanding of the opportunity ahead and in evolving more and more effective approaches to achieve that opportunity.

From individualistic to cooperative ways of living

In joining this open-project there is a “first threshold” we need to cross: from individualistic to cooperative ways of living. If we want to address an opportunity that extends way beyond the possibilities of our self-centeredness, we have to switch to cooperative life strategies. We need to understand that only together could we fulfill that opportunity. The rewards could be enormous. We could achieve an opportunity that would have been beyond our reach if we sought to pursue it on our own, an opportunity that is likely to be even bigger as more participants join in the quest.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

“When a system is far from equilibrium, small islands of coherence in a sea of chaos have the capacity to lift the entire system to a higher order.” (Illya Prigogine)

“We carry inside us the wonders we seek outside us” (Rumi)