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In this MythBlast, The Air We Breathe, our own Stephen Gerringer presents us with connections between the current coronavirus pandemic crisis, climate change and the mythic power of breath. Here we have a disease which literally takes our breath away and has forced a large percentage of the world’s population to just stop. We’ve found ourselves quarantined and forced to find a different way of being as our daily routines have been shredded. One hopes this has resulted in some degree of global inward reflection as we take stock of our 21st Century lives. What have we been doing that so needs to change? Stephen points out that the earth’s atmosphere, the air we breathe, has cleansed itself as our cars, factories, airplanes and the rest of our internal combustion world have minimized or gone idle.
It’s only natural that our human capacity for structure puts these continuing events into the form of a narrative. And from there, one can’t but think of the journey of the hero, but on an epic scale as it puts us on some quest both inwardly and collectively.
In my capacity as the Rights and Permissions Manager of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, I have been in regular correspondence with publishers all over the world during this crisis from Seoul to Milan to Sophia, St Petersburg, Kuwait City, and Beijing. Every email, without exception, has contained wishes for safety and good health as we all go through this unprecedented moment together.
There’s so much more we can address here, including and not the least of which are the many “essential workers” who have continued to work and have suffered higher infection rates as a result. This is another area in which we need to rethink our new norm.
I would question Stephen, though, for his thoughts on this moment as a call to adventure.
Previous incarnation: Clemsy
Rights and Permissions Threshold Guardian
Joseph Campbell Foundation
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