On “Taking a Knee”

On "Taking a Knee"

Joseph Campbell once told me that “If you want to change the world, change the metaphors.” That is, help people understand what’s new and strange by describing it as comparable to what they already know: “A mighty fortress is our God.” “The city is a jungle.” “Chaos is a friend of mine.” “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” “Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.” As we struggle to grasp the implications of the routine killings of Black men by police and the surge of consciousness about the evils of racism, a small circle of kindred spirits at the Archives for Research in Archetypal Symbolism – burnishing the art, if you will, of deciphering signals already sent – wanted to find their way to communicate something deeper than the news reports. They call it: “On Taking a Knee.” Read their brief introduction, then watch the video, which runs for exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time it took George Floyd to die before our eyes. — Bill Moyers