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Reply To: The Air We Breathe


Johanna writes

Stephen-I am catholic and while that is troublesome on many levels it has given me some inkling into the magnificent and what is beyond our limitations to only accept epistemological evidence of what is. So-a prayer is held in my heart for your and your family’s safety in dealing with the conditions where you are.


Thank you, Johanna, for your prayers, which I will never discount. And though I understand what you mean when you allude to catholicism as “troublesome on so many levels,” nevertheless I am blown away by the accent on so much mythological imagery within that faith (more so, it seems to me, than most other Christian denominations, apart from maybe the Greek Orthodox communion).

My wife and I visited Italy two summers ago, our first trip there. Even apart from so many mythological artifacts from pre-christian cultures (Etruscan and Greek as well as Roman), and the mythological themes of so much Renaissance art, I was inspired by the Christian (as well as pagan) mythological imagery found in church settings. St. Peter’s was a mythic epiphany, as was the Sistine Chapel – who needs a sermon when everywhere one looks are mythological images that, to borrow a phrase from Campbell, “bypass the head and dilate the heart.” Mass at the Vatican was every bit as moving and profound for me as Buddhist, Hindu, and Native American ceremonies I’ve attended.

I wish you the best as you embark on the new academic year – and I share your fears, and your hopes, for the planet.