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Reply To: The Air We Breathe


    Hello Stephen and everyone; this is a great conversation you have going on here; I’d like to add a few things to broaden it out a bit if I may:

    1.) The idea of “Gaia” or Earth Mother principle would be one since we are now talking about the planet as a biological entity; (especially since the Coronavirus is a biological species and could be seen as an agent of change). And 2.) the idea of the individual as separate but connected to this idea of a global tribe; a tribe without borders filled with unique human beings; each as individual agents with their own left-hand path not directed by the village compound. (This would a one of Joseph’s key ideas I think; that of the “Hero” and their individual Adventure into their own Dark Forrest to find the Grail of their lives.)

    Science and myth within Joseph’s interpretation “do not conflict”; yet here we are in 2020 facing a global crisis of epic proportions and we are still having trouble coming to grips with how to deal with it despite all our technological advances. (Yes; the old ways of looking at things die hard don’t they?); and people still have problems coming into agreement on the same solutions no matter what the scientific or medical facts reveal. One could say this is all “political theater”; but shouldn’t facts concerning the greater good and welfare of all over-ride this insane absurdity?; (sadly it doesn’t seem so).

    When Joseph talked about the “Free Fall” into the future our present situation seems to back this realization up. Whether referring to the internet and computer-based communication such as smart phone technology; walking on the Moon; or the Human Genome; science has changed man’s ability to interact with his world in ways unimaginable in previous times. (There is also the problem of archetypal Jungian shadow integration; (or man’s ability to control his inner animal nature); but that may be something for another time that may require a separate discussion thread; so I’ll leave up to you to decide if you want to go in that direction or not.

    So here we are trying to grapple with Climate Change and Global Warming while at the same time patching together a shredded global economy; addressing a Racial meltdown; and fighting a global medical pandemic while at the same time attempting to navigate and interpret whether the news or data we are digesting is “misinformation” or not. Would this be a convergence of some sort; looks like it to me. (No wonder people are stressed out when recommended confinement keeps them prisoners in their own homes for months with no foreseeable end in sight!)

    I liked Mary’s idea about trying to look at this situation as an opportunity for self-exploration and growth; thinking about new ways of positively shifting it’s focus instead of becoming a prisoner of one’s own frustrated depression. Also thinking of others is an important thing to consider as well; phones and email can be more than just information tools.

    Nandu brought up something I’m not sure everyone is thinking of; and that is this is a “Global” situation; and we don’t really know where this thing is going to take us. Looking across the planet with all the various political and religious spins on the way this is interpreted is going to be a continuing problem for people to come to an agreed consensus on. Just getting aid to anyone right now is a problem; so this will be a “work-in-progress” I think.

    But the thing that scares me the most is this is a “virus”; and viruses (mutate); and people spread them who willfully disregard public safety by not wearing masks; not keeping safe social distances; and not washing their hands; and breathing on each other in large gatherings. (Yes; I understand about the importance of protesting injustices; and you can say this is like herding cats; but this is different because it is so extremely dangerous; and can spread this virus beyond our ability to contain it.) And one last thing to consider is there will be more viruses to come; (you can count on it)!

    I think Stephen’s point about the new Hero Journey this may offer is an extremely good one and there may be other manifestations that may yet present themselves as time goes forward. We don’t really know what environmental challenges may surface; increasingly violent storms, food shortages,  water and air pollution, vulnerable refugee and migrant populations; this list could get quite long. But I remain hopeful because Joseph’s insights have helped to bring me this far; and I feel there will be better days ahead; it’s just getting through this rough stretch first.

    As proof if Joseph was optimistic about the future on page xviii in the introduction of: “The Power of Myth”; Bill Moyers asked him if he still believed — as he once had written — :”that we are at this moment participating in one of the very greatest leaps of the human spirit to a knowledge not only of outside nature but also of our own deep inward mystery.” He thought for a minute and answered, “The greatest ever.”