On Starfishes and Community

Purple Linqia Starfish

The Linqia starfish is one of the most resilient creatures in the Great Barrier Reef. When a piece of that starfish breaks off, it regenerates, and the cast off piece also has the remarkable ability to form an entirely new starfish. So not only does the original starfish survive, the piece that it lost becomes another member of the community. The loss is actually a gain.

We see this in our daily lives, as well.

Companies send their best people out to open up a new branch to develop a new area. If done right, the company will see more market share, resulting in higher profits.

Churches send their missionaries off to plant new communities of followers around the world. The loss of a couple of hands from one church may result in the creation of a thriving community.

Our children go off and create their own communities and families. It doesn't hurt us that they're gone. We miss them, of course, but they go on to thrive in the world and hopefully, have a positive impact on it.

At one point in time, the Linqia population grew so large that they were deemed a nuisance that needed to be gotten rid of. Someone thought it would be a great idea to set off underwater explosions to kill them, but what ended up happening was the broken pieces regenerated and the population grew even larger. Eventually, scientists came up with a way to control the population of Linqia.

What was the one thing that killed this community?

Poison.

Poison comes in many forms. Companies, churches, families... they can all fall prey to some form of poison or another. Secrecy, lack of communication, resentment, anger... ignoring those potential poisons will undo the strongest of communities.