Thursday, January 6, 2011

Butterfly Sex: when females are seducers

Randolph E. Schmid (AP science writer)

Cool weather during youth (caterpillar phase) makes female seducers when they grow up.

(ABC News) The way male and female butterflies relate to one another as adults may depend on how they grew up -- sort of like people.

Except for butterflies, it's not whether they had a happy youth. It's the weather.

When certain caterpillars are raised in warm, moist conditions they grow into what some would consider traditional roles -- males pursuing demure females.

But new research has found that when they are raised in dry, cool conditions, it's the ladies that become aggressive adults, actively courting the guys.

Researchers led by Kathleen L. Prudic of Yale University report their findings in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

They studied Bicyclus anynana, known as the squinting bush brown butterfly because of the eye-like patterns on their wings.

While not visible to humans, pattern reflections make the ones doing the courting appear brighter in the eyes of those being courted, Prudic explained in a telephone interview. More>>

Youthful Experiences Affect Later Sexual Behavior?
Wisdom Quarterly (COMMENTARY)

Does butterfly behavior relate to human behavior? Just because females exposed to sexual, emotional, or physical abuse as children often grow up to be maladjusted, promiscuous, and often very spiritual individuals, that's probably just coincidence.

"Correlation does not equal causation," as science likes to say.

After all, who still remembers social butterflies like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens... and their seductive antics?

Then it would also be a coincidence if there were a rudimentary animal study showing such a finding in the most unexpected of ways in, say, butterflies.

Whatever the reason, and whatever people may say or deny, it is clear that our youths affect our adolescent and adult selves. If there were an unchanging, immutable self, this might not be true. But we are products of our environment and our karma (present responses as well as the store of our past intentional actions).

Is this good? This is good. We can affect both our future nurturing and our future nature by our conduct right now.

Past karma gave rise to our bodies -- as we find while practicing Dependent Origination during insight meditation: Childhoods, past lives, and past actions can be reviewed by a mind purified by meditative concentration (samadhi).

As we review, we see that one thing leads to another -- and all along our current choices in the present moment are shaping our lives. This is the "Power of Now."

We are not controlled by the past, but we are shaped by it. We are not determined by the past, but it does have an influence. The profound doctrine of karma as taught by the Buddha emphasizes that we will become what we focus on because everything is led by the mind. So we are wise to:

  • watch what we think, for it leads to our words
  • watch what we say, for it leads to our actions
  • watch what we do, for it leads to our habits, character, and future.

Our destiny is not predestined. It's being made and remade, shaped and reshaped all the time. That's "karma."

It's even true, as surprising as it is to find, that the future affects our past. How we construe it, understand it, respond to it -- all of these are affected with little regard to linear time.

"Mind is the forerunner of all conditions" (the Dhammapada begins), which is to say, our present circumstances are the karmic fruits (phala) and mental-resultants (vipaka) of our past and present karma.

Echoing this great Dharma lesson, the Upanishads state:

"You are what your deep, driving desire is. As is your desire, so is your will. As your will [volition, intention, underlying motivation, or cetana] is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny."

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