“Red Wood Cutting” makes visual reference to the ancient aphorism wherein the wise tree tells the woodcutter “Don’t forget, you could never chop me down without part of my body in your hands.” It is also a metaphor of introversion, of the fragility, instability, and mysteriousness of the world. The Tree of Life gives birth to its own downfall. The presence of a butterfly emphasizes the variety of outcomes of events that occur in the world. Our world turned out to be more complex than that allowed by the determinism Pierre-Simon Laplace (mathematician, astronomer, and physicist) argued for in his work, “A Philosophical Essay on Probability.” The most insignificant events have far-reaching consequences.
In every given moment, a cause-effect relationship is maintained, but after some branching, the relationship is no longer perceptible. The flapping of a butterfly’s wings gives rise to a chain reaction of events that can become unstable. The painting displays the dynamics of the chaotic motion of three bodies in celestial mechanics. From its initial state, the system is brought to a rapid rotation and at the same time, slowly spirals toward the breaking point. There after, the system moves to the lowest plane and slowly spirals to the edge from where it bounds to the uppermost plane and the cycle repeats. Since the breaking point- the moment of transition back to the uppermost plane- is unpredictable and random, this yields chaos.
The same laws are present in the hierarchy of living organisms and in society. A small, insignificant event (the flapping of a butterfly’s wings) is sufficient to push society into a distinctly different state!