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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Earthrise: The Mythic Images of our Time

Earthrise over the moon's horizon.
They are some of the most iconic photos ever taken -- the Earth rising over the moon's horizon. The Apollo "Earthrise" and "Blue Marble" photographs were beamed across the world some forty-five years ago. They had an astonishing effect and in fact transformed thinking about the Earth and its environment in a profound way that reverberated throughout science, religion, and culture. Gazing upon our whole planet for the first time, we saw ourselves and our place in the universe with a new clarity. The photographs of Earth represented a turning point. In their wake, Earth Day was inaugurated and the environmental movement took off and began to have an impact on our national policy. People turned their focus back toward Earth, toward the precious and fragile planet we call home.

Joseph Campbell was a writer and mythologist, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. Campbell achieved enormous popularity and influence addressing the disenchantment of modern life with a message of hope and renewal. Campbell once spoke about the famous images astronauts took of the Earth rising over the lunar horizon. The space age, he felt, had brought us an awareness that is still slowly sinking in: The world as we know it is coming to an end.

"Our world as the center of the universe, the world divided from the heavens, the world bound by horizons in which God's love is reserved for members of the in group: That is the world that is passing away," said Campbell. "Apocalypse is not about a fiery Armageddon and salvation of a chosen few, but about the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end."

To view a collection of these remarkable NASA photographs, please watch my new HD video "Earthrise" at https://youtu.be/mPCUJlO_qNQ

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