Eco-Shock and Mythic Imagination

“Mythic imagination is a primordial resource of the human heart that combines heart-felt intelligence with a reverence for life in its myriad forms. When times become tragic and dark with uncertainty, what is missing is the touch of eternity and a mythic sense of being woven within the ongoing story of the world.”
The Water of Life by Michael Meade

I found myself awake the other morning in the yet dark of the night with the full moon building. Sitting and breathing and falling into that state of simply being present to what is, to the deep silence, to the resource of self and of oneness within…

The word Eco-Shock jumped into my mind and began to repeat itself like a mantra. The phrase defined itself to me as “the loss of connectivity to sustaining environmental references and requirements.”

“That’s where we are in the world!” I said, to myself, of course. We are in a state of shock, of disorientation, as to where and how to collectively turn. Some are still in active denial; more are recognizing the circumstance of our conditions, and yet more than ever before are also leaning hard into solution oriented thinking, into seeing and sensing the world differently.

Morning came and I did the requite Google search for eco-shock. What came up was surprisingly little, in that it is a phrase with less usage than I would have imagined. What also came up was a lot; a deep resource,, the “Net’s largest green audio download site.”

A quick look made me wish for hours of listening time. First catching my eye was “a new speech by Dr. David Suzuki.” Then I found my way through the web to cluborlov, where the author has a new book out, Reinventing Collapse.

Rather than focusing on doom and gloom, Reinventing Collapse suggests that there is room for optimism if we focus our efforts on personal and cultural transformation. With characteristic dry humor, Orlov identifies three progressive stages of response to the looming crisis:

Mitigation – alleviating the impact of the coming upheaval
Adaptation – adjusting to the reality of changed conditions
Opportunity – flourishing after the collapse

He argues that by examining maladaptive parts of our common cultural baggage we can survive and thrive and discover more meaningful and fulfilling lives, in spite of steadily deteriorating circumstances

What strikes me as the connecting thread is the greatest opportunity and leverage we possess in our current circumstance is the revisioning of who we are, of what it means to be human, of what it is to be a self, of what it is to live within community, within the larger than human world community… belonging. It is our mythic imagination that can help us reconnect to the larger wholeness of who we are, and then it is our cleverness that can help us mitigate, adapt and flourish… after the collapse.

Anticipating this collapse and recognizing the state of eco-shock prevalent in the world, A Shift in Action, the recent winner of a One Minute Shift video competition declares, “Change is happening. Everything is interconnected….” And then in a mere 60 seconds they proceed to shift us into the primordial resources of our mythic imaginations, into the intelligence of our hearts.

This intelligence and our wild resiliency live innately within us, awaiting but the re-awakening, which is perhaps not as far away as we might sometimes think.



  1. Marc Choyt

    08/26/2008 at 4:56 pm

    I think this ego shock is partially tied to the destruction of indigenous life ways– perhaps in the European tribal sense the last knife in the heart driving that deep connection was the witch burnings…
    Right now, so many generations later, people are struggling to find some sense of basic connection but they do not know where to look. The accumulation of possessions has become a kind of shadow expression of the real need to be in contact with the earth.

  2. The Realization of Oneness as an Ecological Change and Hardiness Strategy « wild resiliency blog!

    11/07/2008 at 2:57 am

    […] known individual life form on the planet utilizes it as a strategy to thrive through what is eco-shock or eco-trauma for others, these are not reason enough to dismiss Oneness as a change and hardiness […]

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