29th January 2020

Humans are lepidoptera, their early years centered upon food, comfort and safety. Adolescence represents their chrysalis, a dark and confined space where the unremarkable can develop the extraordinary ability to take wing. When the changeling emerges they are moist and ill defined, but within a few moments will stretch their now fully developed external form and take flight.

Some people become butterflies, beauteous creatures with gossamer wings, serenely fragile, easy to net, disable, mount and display within society’s existing specimen drawer. Others are moths, less gaudy but more resilient, less reliant on sunlight for survival, able to cope with seemingly unwelcoming habitat, yet still destined to be victims in a world ruled by predators.

A lepidopterist inhabits a world of silken luxury, the air heavy with the hypnotic scent of mulberry, surrounded on all sides by the luxurious textures of flora, flower, bush and tree. A collector above all else, desiring to mark each variance, however miniscule, in search of a complete physical record of his subject. No oddity is rejected, no malformation disallowing, the awaiting well oiled display cabinets have room for all.

Obsession of any kind is an expression of manic behavior, collecting but an acceptable form of what would be otherwise described and diagnosed as mental disorder. Compulsive behavior manifests in all humanity to some degree, even in the obsession to disavow irresistible urges.

 A particularly malignant form of obsession is the need to attract, capture, possess and retain other individuals for multifarious purposes. We see this heinous and most manipulative of traits in the hierarchies of cults, religious and societal sects, secret or illicit societies, in psychopaths and any variation of the power hungry, criminal, social or political.  Such often subtle behavior, shrewd, cunning, deviously designed, can be easily misrepresented by the protagonist and mistaken by the victim as genuine concern, interest, affection and protection. Individuals who are attracted, enveloped and ensnared by such advances will often conclude that the rather obvious and blatant manipulation exists for the very best of reasons and for their eventual good. Such is invariably not the case. Such prey, for prey they most definitely are, will often require intensive deprogramming before, if ever, emerging from the blanket beneath which their will, their ability to think independently of the all-consuming beast, has been stifled.

To be pinned, preserved and displayed inside a specimen case is never a solution, particularly to isolation or loneliness.

‘The scars upon the countryside, like the scars upon our bodies, are reminders of the events and trauma that created its form. Change the view and you change the ambience; eradicate the flaws and you dismiss the very process of creativity.   Perfection is inclined to be a chill and uncomfortable abode.’

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