I’ve recently been viewing the 1988 PBS presentation “The Power of Myth,” 342 minutes of fascinating conversation between American mythologist Joseph
Campbell (1904 – 1987) and journalist and former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers. The depth, rather the height of their intellect humbles me.
A passing clip and statement captured my attention. The picture was of our own planet, Earth. The picture appears on the intro to the Joseph Campbell Foundation website. As the picture flashed on the screen in the video I was watching, Campbell commented, “I see no national boundaries… ” I’ve reflected on that statement for nearly a week. “I see no national boundaries.”
Here is a picture of Earth taken in 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17 — the final manned mission in the Apollo space program. As I look at this photograph of our planet, I see no conflict, I see no hunger, no poverty or illness. I think of Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” as she sang
“We are Stardust, We are Golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.”
Humankind is inclined to ignore our relative position in this vast cosmos that God created.
The late great astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996) made a wonderful observation about the Pale Blue Dot,
“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
As we move forward in 2012, let us be mindful of our position in the cosmos and heedful of our collective needs and ressponsibilities. Lip service and jaw-flapping accomplish nothing. If we are to get back to the Garden, we must continue throwing starfish back to the ocean… one by one.