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