Caught in a Catch 22


Though the idea seemed fairly obvious…

…a gong sounded in my head when I read this passage from Karen’s Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth:

“We need myths that help us to venerate the earth as sacred once again, instead of merely using it as a ‘resource’.

“This is crucial, because unless there is some kind of spiritual revolution that is able to keep abreast of our technological genius, we will not save the planet.”

So, tougher regulations and innovation coming from science won’t be enough to protect our environment.  According to Armstrong, we also need a change of mythologies.

However, the situation is not without its Catch 22:

That which blocks us from protecting our environment also blocks us from developing a new mythology.

So what are these blocks of ours?

Obviously, greed is one.  We also seem extremely resistance to changing old mindsets.

But to focus on either is to ignore what’s behind both: fear. One purpose of religions and mythologies is to help us deal with our fears.


…our fear of change hinders the formation of a new mythology that would help us deal with that fear.

And so, I’m doubtful that a mythology can arrive in time to prevent major environmental disaster—the gross crash, the aggregate effect of all the ways in which we abuse this earth.

It’s more likely, I believe, that our new mythology will come after we have managed to survive such a disaster.  When we see the destructive power of our fear, then we will begin to deal with that fear.  Our efforts could help create a new mythology.

After such a disaster, we will change the way we relate to the earth.  In the process, we will develop a mythology that shows us how to respect this life-giving planet.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
dream steps


About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, and fabulist...A new mythologist, a peace miller, a dream worker...I don't qualify as an illustrator or photographer--I just "make pictures"...I have thirteen books available at amazon... I currently reside in northwest Arkansas, but have lived and worked all over the United States... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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