The symbol for psychology is the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet, “psi” (Ψ). According to the article “The Story of the Psychology Symbol (Ψ),” by psychologist Valeria Sabater, “psi” (Ψ) came to represent psychology through its own metamorphosis:

In ancient Greek, the word psyche meant butterfly. This insect was also a symbol for the breath of life, a breeze, a life-giving wind… Little by little, thanks to the Roman Empire’s influence, the word ended up symbolizing the human soul. What they saw it as was our life-force, also known as “ka” in Egyptian culture…For them, butterflies represented light, change, and hope.

The above picture is in fact that of a butterfly, in the end. I presume it is called a caterpillar in the above stage of life due to the fact that it looks nothing like a butterfly. It undergoes a complete metamorphosis and in doing so became a symbol of the soul and of the field of psychology.

The butterfly offers a robust mental model for viewing the present and the future as it unfolds. Applying the butterfly model to investment opportunities is especially powerful. After all, an investor’s job is to clearly see the present (a caterpillar) while keeping sight of the vast possibilities (a butterfly).

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