In the story, Stripe is born as a young caterpillar and begins to eat everything around him. Before long, he questions his purpose in life, thinking “There must be more to life than just eating and getting bigger. ” As humans, we sometimes have similar thoughts. Deep reflection upon one’s own purpose can cause us to question everything we do as humans. We may believe our purpose is decided by a God, decided by the greater good, that we decide our own purpose, or perhaps even that we do not have a purpose at all. Stripe is pondering such concepts stumbles upon a mass of other caterpillars that seemed to be purpose-driven.
The other caterpillars were moving toward a type of caterpillar-pillar, in which many of the animals had formed a living mass that grew upwards, reaching into the clouds and out of sight. Stripe decides to follow the rest of these creatures, essentially deciding that his purpose in life should be, like his fellow caterpillars, to reach the top of the pillar. This is identical to our own human beliefs in purpose in that Stripe has, like us, placed his “faith” in some purpose. This story displays how one may doubt this faith, but that faith is ultimately necessary.
After a long while of climbing, Stripe meets Yellow in the pillar. Both of them have begun to question their purpose in climbing to the top of the tower; they have a short conversation about this doubt. Forming some type of bond, they decide to keep climbing, until finally Stripe must step on Yellow to climb any higher. He does so, but feels bad he must step on her to reach his purpose. This moment makes him lose faith in the pillar, so he returns to Yellow and resolves to go back down to earth with her. She was like minded, she told Stripe “I just want to do something like crawl with you and nibble grass.
” Stripe and Yellow form a bond in the grass. Eventually, Stripe begins to lose faith in this decision as well, he is too intrigued by the pillar, and he must make it to the top of the pillar. Stripe parts ways with Yellow. She cannot put her faith in the pillar and is compelled to stay behind. Stripe returns to the pile stronger than before. He climbs up to the top, but looking out, sees thousands more caterpillar-pillars. They are all fooled by the same trick! He loses all feeling of purpose, and heads downwards, having had enough of the pile.
He gets stuck, but is rescued by Yellow, who is now a butterfly. She believed in her faith against the pillar and found the truth as a butterfly. She cannot speak directly to Stripe, but she teaches him of the cocoon. Stripe is scared, he must put his faith in this, but his faith has already let him down. Finally he decides to put himself into the cocoon. Stripe emerges as a butterfly and he and Yellow seem to live happily ever after. Essentially, this story says that although it may be easy to doubt faith, you must have it to succeed in your purpose.
This story seems to allude that the ultimate purpose of caterpillars is to become butterflies in order to reproduce. 5. )What do you think about the realization that there is nothing at the top of the caterpillar pillar beside occupying a space that others want to occupy – “To be so high and not high at all! It only looked good from the bottom…Millions of caterpillars climbing nowhere”? Have you been confronted with the realization that you were climbing to nowhere? How did you respond? I think this realization a rational feeling to get upon completing some life goal.
After striving to get to that place for a lifetime, finally reaching the point makes you realize that the destination isn’t really what you had hoped it to be. With anything in life you desire, there is a bias in favor of exaggerating the good parts of it. It is a type of “building up” the object of your desires. One old phrase sums up this thought well: the grass is always greener on the other side. There have been times in life when I have had this realization. I have in fact thought about this realization in regards to my entire purpose in life, specifically towards death.
I once troubled over what the end of life must mean. I envisioned some type of afterlife, some way for my soul to live on. I realized that I believed in this because the thought of no life after death was scary, that I didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of me not existing. I wanted to exist forever. But I questioned why I wanted to exist forever. If living for a short period wasn’t good enough for me, why would living forever give it any more meaning? So, if I wasn’t moving towards something after life, I must be moving towards nothing.
That gave me a sense of lost purpose, just like the climbing to nowhere realization. But I came to think that that just meant that it wasn’t about what I do by the end of my life, but rather the getting to the end itself. The destination is just a goal, it isn’t the point. The point is the journey, the sights along the way. When you realize it isn’t the place you are going, but the going itself that matters, life becomes much more enjoyable. That doesn’t mean to abandon your destination, because if you aren’t going someplace then you aren’t going anywhere at all.