Aloberhoulser: “Does a global pandemic like Covid 19 require a collective catharsis? Is that even possible in our modern society?”
Al; this is a great question to add to the mix of this conversation; and one I think is very relevant to what the world’s collective unconscious is experiencing right now. It brings a number of issues into play which I think have deep resonance within the global psyche that are demanding to be addressed and will no longer sit on the back burner for another time and place to be heard.
There are two in particular which I think have collided that have added an extreme urgency to this demand for catharsis here in the US; (1.) as you mentioned is the coronavirus; and; (2.) is the long overdue acknowledgement of slavery grievance from the African-American community that has long kept the American psyche from becoming whole. (Race has never been adequately addressed and like a deep wound infected with gangrene has brought this concern to a boiling point that is threatening to tear this country apart.) There will be other issues no doubt that will begin to surface as time and the state of this pandemic moves forward; but at the moment radical social change is demanding to take place.
I particularly like the thoughtful way you have framed this question for it raises many possible factors that “catharsis” as a psychological dynamic can play into this topic. Not only the physical components of the economic realities human beings must have to live; but the emotional and psychological concerns that are tethered to the spiritual dimensions of myth.; (the biggest of which asks the question: “where do we go from here?”; because as you have suggested: (something has changed that may forever alter life as we once knew it; and we must adapt to this new normal going forward if we are to survive).
As economic instability and growing social unrest; (highlighted most recently by the race riots taking place across the US and in other places across the globe); continue to take center stage with the issues raised by social inequality and are no longer something to be seen as minor concerns. And indeed a sociological catharsis may be just be what is happening right before our very eyes. American protest movements brought on by the collective outrage of the public murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota are being expressed with a vehemence not witnessed since the 1960’s when the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy; his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King sparked a race war never before experienced by the American people. Not since the American Civil War that threaten to destroy the entire country have we as a people understood what was at stake.
The growing concerns of the lasting impact of the coronavirus with it’s increasing uncertainty of what may lie ahead is no less urgent in it’s demands. We are now facing a new paradigm of how to fight a virus that continually presents new challenges to overcome; whether medically, economically, or sociologically; and how we are to navigate something that has no roadmap looking ahead. (We also have not even begun to address issues involving: Climate Change or Global Warming; but that opens another completely different can of worms. So for now this is enough for the moment to deal with.)
My point is that we are experiencing a “collision” of issues of extreme importance where a “catharsis” within the human psyche may be just what is call for to address them. (An example of this I saw last night as proposed on one of the late night news interviews where the question was posed: “How does the American position on Race differ with that of South Africa and the way the handled the transition from: “Apartheid” when Nelson Mandela was elected as President of the country. His answer was a complete dedication of the social consciousness to equality; and that this meant the white population had to acknowledge “their” part within the horrific tragedy of violent injustice that had been endured by the African population and could no longer be hidden from public view. (A crime the American white population has never completely acknowledged and allowed as a hidden racist view of superiority to be used as a weapon of fear. This absolutely must be abolished if we are to move forward toward real equality within all races if the promise of it’s documents is to be fulfilled and realized as one people.)
Again; Al this is a great compliment to this topic. And I’m sure others will be more than happy to add their impressions and thoughts on how they see it’s application to this discussion.