“In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”
In the modern world, it’s easy to see that we as individuals have a lot in common. Even before the rise of social networking, it was clear that we (humanity) share a lot, ideologically, from the need to explain why we’re here, to our need to know what lies beyond mortality, down to our base desires and life goals. There’s some manner of psychic architecture below the surface of consciousness upon which we build upward and outward to become semi-unique individuals.
What Jung didn’t count on, though, was that this collective was malleable. Just as it provides a framework for who we are, we collectively alter it over time. This Top-down change comes slowly, but when you factor in an unnaturally large population of individuals, the process accelerates, and, in the case of Our Story, destabilizes catastrophically.
Where did it all start to fall apart? Take your pick; this story has a thousand beginnings, a million paths, but only one present. No end. Not yet. Some of us are still alive, struggling so that tomorrow we can wake up and say that again. Maybe the beginning was the second Korean War. Maybe it was the riots across Cyprus, Spain, Greece, and the US. Maybe the beginning was further back, around the global recession, or even further when giant corporations began consolidating the world’s wealth. How about World War 2? The Holocaust? The first time humanity stumbled out of the its caves with dreams of taming the world? We’ve been on this course for a long time.
It was in April 2014, when everything fell apart. Half of Europe was engulfed in riots as the EU started to unravel economically. A few thousand miles away, the US wasn’t looking much better. Occupy Wallstreet: The Sequel hit the made the rounds, and this time, it didn’t end peacefully. The Isreal/Palestine conflict took a nasty turn. North Korea finally made good on its threats against its southern neighbor and kicked off another gruesome war. Everywhere you looked, the world was turning to shit. For a minute there, a lot of us thought the world was going to end.
And then it did.
The moment it happened was when there were so many people on earth with overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear, and despair that the collective unconscious shifted with enough speed that we were all affected. It was a resonance cascade; all of our negative thoughts and feelings were welling up under our collective psyche, causing even more panic and chaos. Suddenly, everything we had ever known or thought became real. Historical and fictional, legendary and common, magical and mundane. People, places, and things. Everything. For but one brief measure of eternity, the world we knew, and everything in it, was overlapped by everything else.
Regrettably, this was no hallucination. Real buildings were crushed when ancient or fictitious structures decided to inhabit the same physical location. Monsters, demons, behemoths, leviathans and all manner of horrors mankind had always feared manifested and preyed upon them. Magics of legend wrought havoc upon our cities. How long the chaos lasted is anyone’s guess, but it did finally end. After a majority of humanity was annihilated, the upheaval ended. The fear and panic was greater now that it had ever been, but our numbers were very small indeed. The cataclysm turned out to be temporary.
The change, however, was permanent. Those of us who are left (and sane) need to pick up the pieces of our ruined world and try to rebuild some kind of future for ourselves. Most of us don’t want to become extinct. It won’t be easy though, a lot of those horrors still exist, roaming and hunting whatever they can find. Also still here is the one good thing to come out of it all: Magic. Some of us can do some decidedly unscientific things with a little concentration. Hell, with a little effort and a lot of luck, maybe humanity could become something greater than we ever were. Here’s hoping.
TL;DR: The world sucked so bad it blew up and now there’s magic and monsters everywhere. Deal with it.