Humanity right now seems on a collective Hero’s Journey. The question is, what boon do we bring back the other side of the abyss?
We could isolate further and break up into those In-groups that Campbell noted are vying for our attention. This does seem to be the dynamic underlying the emergence of nationalism driving global politics the last few years.
Turns out, though, that the cornavirus does not recognize borders. You just can’t build a wall tall enough to keep Covid out … biologically, this really is one world. Even North Korea, the most isolated nation on the planet, is suffering, best as we can tell.
What’s more, we’ve learned how closely we are connected to each other around the planet. We really do have a global economy: China’s shutdown rippled throughout the world, affecting not just a business here and there, but entire industries … and with each new nation hit by the pandemic, that interconnectedness is underscored all the more. Similarly the turmoil and travail in the carbon fuel industry, which turns out to be far more fragile than anyone thought.
At the same time, we are learning new ways of working and shopping and living in response to this crisis, some of which is bound to stay with us. And, at least in the United States, science –– which so many don’t trust when it comes to global warming and climate change –– turns out to be what we turn to and trust to keep us alive in the face of a pandemic, which I hope tempers at least a bit the collective distrust of scientists.
And then just about everyone, with their own eyes, is witnessing how quickly Earth heals when human activity changes … a lesson I hope stays with us.
This is a powerful mytho-genetic moment: there are plenty of boons to bring back from this collective death-and-rebirth experience of the hero’s journey.