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Reply To: The Air We Breathe


Hey everyone; your posts I have been reading have been so inspiring and have addressed so many different aspects that have broadened out this subject I hardly know where to begin. There are several in particular though that I think really focus on what we are dealing with in a very succinct way that have to do with some of the more intense dimensions that are really affecting us in ways we have not been prepared for; namely emotional and psychological; not just physical.

Richard’s incredibly thoughtful article articulates many of the political, sociological, and historical considerations in a breathtaking sweep with a nuanced understanding that informs areas not usually covered. His intricate time-lined approach connects the dots of a comprehensive overview in a way that not only informs but brings many of the often left out historical aspects into play thereby leaving the reader with a much better appreciation of not only where we are now; but how we got here. Really well done and a most welcome addition to this discussion. (Unfortunately it seems the “Snow White” piece did not appear; perhaps a technical issue of some sort is the reason for this mishap.)

Mary; I can’t say enough about your and Richard’s contribution of Brian Swimme’s ideas to the topic; and yes; I think the mask problem is becoming a central issue we are having to deal with; and so much so that it is posing a severe threat for the spread of this virus quite possibly defining in many ways how much of this situation is going to play out at the moment; at least at this stage.

This leads me to Johanna’s point; (whose name I misspelled last time; sorry about that because I couldn’t fix it then because of a technical issue); about the “global” aspect of this virus which to me is a huge deal. Her insights about the mythic, behavioral, and cultural dimensions are important I think; especially where Joseph ideas play into all of this because it underlies how we as psychological creatures respond to this crisis in the way we interpret it. And for me this says: “The Shadow” is now part of the conversation; and Jung’s ideas I think play a big part in this crisis drama we are now living in.

Emotions are extremely ramped up by the anxieties we are all experiencing right now; and because we are all different we are going to experience and perceive it in different ways. Anxiety breeds fear and apprehension which can mean projection of content in how we interpret something. And if there are unconscious elements involved; which no doubt there will probably be depending on the circumstances; then I think it’s important to add this area of subject matter to the discussion.

For instance; being in a closed confined space for extended periods of time with limited access to freedom of movement is going to add tremendous stress to an already emotional charged outlook. And because fear of the unknown; such as; dealing with something you can’t see and it’s possible health threat one is constantly aware of the dangers involved all around them in their everyday movements. Things like: don’t get too close to someone; don’t touch something that might be contaminated; be sure and keep at least 6 feet apart for anyone outside of your safety zone; and the big one: “You need to wear a mask!”

So all day you move about; and every so often you are checking on the latest news report about the current state of the virus and how it is affecting the city you live in. And then there is navigating the outside world where the real danger of infection resides. (Nerve-racking?; you betcha!) There are more issues to add like what is your income and food situation? The people around you and how you get along on a day to day level over long extended periods; and do you have an area to get personal space when needed? Perhaps you are working and there are navigational and workplace concerns; a whole different set of circumstances to add to your situation. For those who are able there is of course lots of computer time on the internet and all kinds of influences to assimilate in your head; and then there is sleep; that is if you are able to because you are always thinking ahead to what’s next. Now for some what I have laid out may seem a bit extreme; but what many may be coming to understand is the term: “New Normal” is a realization that your old world has changed; quite possibly in a very dramatic way and you begin to consider getting back to your old normal may not be possible; and for some this can be a tremendous jolt to their sense of security. And then there are all those things you have buried in your unconscious; what Joseph called the: “landfill”; issues you have pushed down that are now they starting to surface because of all this stress and fear. And they affect you and how you feel about stuff and in the way you interpret things in a not so pleasant way.

Now I don’t want to take this post too far away from the topic at hand; but I think this aspect of the emotional and psychological state people are dealing with as part of this discussion because; IMHO; I think it’s a major factor in the way the pandemic is unfolding; not only for those in one country but: “globally”. And here I think is where we are going to get into this idea of a new myth or way of looking at the world; culturally, biologically, and mythologically. Joseph had a number of thoughts on how he saw the future looking ahead; but he also stressed the individual myth was a major theme he referred to again and again. One of the things he mentions in: “The Power of Myth” is there two things that glue a society together: “aspiration and terror”; and he uses the great 12th century Cathedrals as a spiritual example of what he called: a seizure or madness; And because today’s cultural boundaries are disappearing; as he referred to with Spengler’s: “Decline of the West” he stated: “the individual is thrown back on him/herself and must learn to find their own way; and here is where the Hero/Adventure motif comes into play. So the idea of a new myth he said probably would not come about for a long time; if indeed at all because he said it seemed like this was a new and better way for a global society to come about. (Most of this was covered in Moyer’s POM series.)

At any rate I’ll leave off here and see if this subject is something anyone want’s to pursue in relation to this topic. But I’ve started a separate thread on the Shadow with a couple of clips from the JCF collection of Joseph’s” Mythos I – from the: “Psyche and Symbol” section on Jung for anyone who may be interested listed in the Video section of the Forums.