Imaginal Cells

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The full name of our home is the Euclid Von Imaginal Manor. It’s named after Dr. Euclid Von Imaginal, who once lived in the very same house. He was a pioneering figure in the early years of Oakland, CA. A pillar in the nascent Adams Point community, he once hosted President Taft at the Manor. But his greatest achievement came after years of scientific toil in his private study, when he discovered what soon became his namesake: Imaginal cells. As we create this coliving community we take inspiration from the astonishing biological properties of imaginal cells, as well as from the mysterious doctor himself. Here’s why.

Dr. Euclid Von Imaginal in his private study at Euclid Manor.
Dr. Euclid Von Imaginal in his private study at Euclid Manor.

Imaginal cells are the only cells inside of a caterpillar that understand that in the future, the caterpillar will turn into a butterfly. Caterpillars reach a point in their growth when it’s time for a metamorphosis. As a caterpillar prepares to transition, almost every cell in a caterpillar’s system starts freaking out, because suddenly the system is failing, nothing seems to work, and it’s clear that everything the caterpillar understands about how its world works is now unsustainable and obsolete. At this critical moment, the imaginal cells awaken, to show everyone else how to become a butterfly. At first, these individual imaginal cells are attacked as heretics by the caterpillar’s immune system. But the imaginal cells find one another, and when they do, they cluster together in the same place, and grow stronger together. They don’t wait for permission, they just start creating a butterfly. Finally, as the rest of the caterpillar dissolves into goo, it stops attacking the imaginal cells, and begins to follow their lead. In the darkest hours, the imaginal cells can not only inspire others, but they can create and execute a plan to make the future more beautiful than anyone else can possibly imagine.

Today we live in a challenging time. Our society has grown to the point where it’s time for a metamorphosis. In a world facing big problems, the coliving community we’re building is for the people who want to create and advance solutions to those problems. We are here to spread new visions of how our world can thrive in the future. This house is for the pioneers who everyone might initially think are crazy, but who will ultimately help lead the rest of the world into a bright new future. If imaginal cells like us cluster together, we will make each other stronger. On the day we leave this house, we won’t crawl away. We will fly.