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Mythos: The Anthropocene in Stories, Symbols and Creative Imagination

Mythos: The Anthropocene in Stories, Symbols and Creative Imagination

Organised by the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA)

On Sunday 9th June I attended a one day workshop “Mythos: The Anthropocene in Stories, Symbols and Creative Imagination” organised by the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA).
It was the title that intrigued me. I do not describe or think of myself as a climate change activist and wasn’t sure what to expect but I love stories and I love that they seem to live on in my mind and change the way I think. I went to hear stories.

I was also curious to hear a bit more about The Anthropocene but will leave you to look that up for yourself!

What has really stuck with me is the way myths and stories (Jonathon Marshall) work in our unconscious, creating lenses through which we experience our reality. In this context “we” could be us as individuals, as communities or a society or indeed as a species. 

These lenses shape our thinking and sensing, are not in our conscious awareness and yet powerfully act on our unconscious. 

Through our unconscious they affect how we shape the world and define our place in it often in dichotomous terms: master or steward, entitled or responsible; for or against.  They affect how we behave in and toward our world.

In the context of climate change it seems that our lenses have lead us to a pretty bleak place and my emotional response is complex: fear, shame and guilt, anger, hopelessness, despair and probably a whole load of other stuff too.

I admit to feeling some relief as research (Sally Gillespie), and the event itself, confirmed that all those emotions, and the sense of teetering at the edge of an abyss, are shared by many others. Those feelings are a human response and not simply an individual response. Not that that makes the emotions any lighter but somehow it seems more hopeful not to be alone in feeling them.

If you want to find out more about the CPA I refer you to the website: www.climatepsychologyalliance.org 

Jonathon Marshall is a Research Fellow and Anthropologist at the University of Technology in Sydney.

Sally Gillespie writes, talks and facilitates workshops on climate psychology, and lectures on ecopsychology at Western Sydney University

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