Social distancing has sparked a plethora of changes in daily lives around the globe. Some of these changes have brought hardship to individuals and families who are forced to stay home and interact with each other, while others may bring about positive changes, such as a slowdown of climate change and return of some sea-life to sustainable levels.
One group of researchers in Switzerland is looking to bring to light yet another, rather concerning effect of social distancing: a sudden and possibly calamitous reduction in world-saving quests being undertaken by chosen ones who heretofore had been unaware of their potential.
“We don’t know what the ultimate impact will be,” admitted Dr. Bennet Holm. “But since the institution of self-quarantine measures, the number of quests begun has suffered both a month-over-month and year-over-year decline.”
“We’re still waiting on data to come in to better understand whether the quarantine is affecting quests already undertaken,” Dr. Holm added. “Some parts of the hero’s journey actually require isolation and reflection, training, or other solitary pursuits. However, other stages can be stymied by present circumstances, especially any that rely on serendipitous meetings in public areas, such as a tavern or town square.”
The biggest factor affecting quest initiation appears to be the reluctance of elderly mentors in reaching out to their young charges to pass along the knowledge, confidence, and/or heirloom that sets them on a path to ultimately become saviors of the world. Cases seem to be split roughly evenly between mentors who do not wish to risk contracting the illness before they impart their wisdom, and would-be heroes who refuse leave the house despite their mentor’s exhortations.
Due to symbolism, spring is historically a peak season for such quests to get underway, though of course many famous world-saving expeditions have set off at other times in the year as well. Some quests often also begin with a period of relative leisure and dawdling, and it may be that by the time self-isolation is lifted, many quest goals will still be achievable.
What have really been bugging Dr. Holm and his team of late, however, are the metaphysical questions that accompany the situation.
“If a chosen one is fated to save the world, then it stands to reason that the Powers That Be have already taken the pandemic and self-quarantine into consideration and adjusted timelines accordingly,” Dr. Holm reasoned. “However, if free will exists and the future of life as we know it depends on someone turning off Tiger King and walking out the front door, we may all be doomed.”
Editorial note: In their study, Dr. Holm’s team also looked at variations of world-saving quests, including quests to save the solar system, galaxy, universe, multiverse, and all reality as it is, was, or ever will be known.