Have you ever looked closely at a butterfly’s wings? Microscopically?
Butterflies wings’ have light-reflecting scales–photonic crystals. Looking more closely at the photonic crystals, examining them under high-resolution micrographs, scientists discovered they contained crystal “irregularities.” Defects.
Butterflies’ wings are flawed. These faults are chinks in the atomic algorithm making up its design. Whereas most solids have repeated crystal lattices (atomic patterns), the butterfly’s wings contain small pattern breaks, atomic slips. Such disordered crystals cause instability in most solid forms, making them more fragile.
Not so with the butterfly. Defects increase the butterfly’s strength. The butterfly’s wings are tiny solar panels that absorb sun energy. Defects boost the butterfly’s ability to scatter light back out to the world.
The faults are no mistakes. These defects serve a purpose. The flaws are also what give the butterfly such beauty. It makes their wings more vibrant.
Like the butterfly, humans are designed as imperfect creatures. Unfortunately, we tend to view one another under micrographs, closely inspecting each other. Finding fault. If we could stand back and look at the broader spectrum, we’d likely see the strength in ours and others’ flaws.
Being too nearsighted, we blind ourselves:
We see “pushy.” We miss “persistent.”
We see “lazy.” We miss “laid back.”
We see “impulsive.” We miss “inventive.”
We see “lackadaisical.” We miss “imaginative.”
We see “routine.” We miss “reliable.”
We see “conceited.” We miss “confident.”
We see “loud.” We miss “energetic.”
We see “shy.” We miss “observant.”
We see “talkative.” We miss “friendly.”
We see “fearful.” We miss “careful.”
We see “rigid.” We miss “precise.”
We see “over-sharing.” We miss “honest.”
We see “immature.” We miss “humorous.”
We see “obsessed.” We miss “hard-working.”
We see “stubborn.” We miss “determined.”
We see “weird.” We miss “original.”
We see “forward.” We miss “fearless.”
Our design isn’t accidental. We are damaged with purpose. By reframing our perspectives of ourselves, we allow defects to localize our light. Then, like the butterfly, we can scatter our energy into the world.