First please bear with a prefatory rant to help set the context.
I’ve always struggled with Halloween, and each year it gets worse. I enjoy embracing the Latin world’s Day of the Dead to remind us of deaths clutches waiting right around the corner; it’s a healthy reminder that is celebrated in a way that is not morbid and yet still respectful. But Halloween… it touches upon all the things I don’t like – dressing up to be something you are not, asking/demanding candy, commercialization. A silver lining is that you get out of your house and is the one chance to meet your neighbors – but then under the cloak of darkness and the falsehood of costume. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of pageantry and tradition, just not falsehood.
So then I got to thinking about Christmas, and realized it’s not too far from it either. The American version is largely built on a lie, and again heavy wrapped with gluttonous consumption and commercialization (a lament everyone knows well). But the lie bordering on global conspiracy – what are we teaching our kids? Are we really trying to preserve magic for them just a little longer, especially in the light of modern harsh existentialism? I use to fall in to that trap – the trap of believing in “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” is really written for kids? I am coming to the realization that such rationalizing reasoning not intended for kids to help them over the hump after the bubble bursts. Rather, that editorial is written to adults to help them rationalize why to promote the lie to begin with.
Isn’t there enough magic in the world to promote, than to do something false and then have the harshness of reality be unveiled without backup? There is so much wonder, why do we promote it with Halloween and Christmas, back to back, with the gluttony of Thanksgiving aside?
So yeah, maybe I’m in a dispiriting mood, and I need to lighten up. But I’m here to think and challenge. And so to take this question to the next level, I ask, what lies do we tell ourselves? What costumes do we don in the day to day? What grand illusions do we self promote to ourselves to keep not just consistency and order (those lies are plentiful), but false magic? What sugary sweet do we consume that dulls our senses to the much broader magic in existence at the expense of immediate endorphin rushes?
So on that brainstorm – specifically self-illusions for magic, I had the following ideas:
- Faith – this is the easiest magic, the catch all for all illusions, a junk drawer accumulating all sorts of irreconcilable issues for the human mind – from harsh existential realizations to personal insecurities. Like any junk drawer, the moment you allow its presence, so quickly it will be filled with all sorts of crap you just don’t know what to do with – but you know it can’t just be thrown away. So you ascribe it to the junk drawer, if only to give you a false sense of sanity.
- Identity – too often we present a representation of who we want to be rather than who we are. Even worse, we attach our sense of self – a deeply personal concept – to the former and not the latter. “You can’t be committed to your bullshit and to your growth; It’s one or the other.” Rooting these out requires immense diligence, and worthy of sustained digging.
- Intent – I did an exercise while falling asleep to imagine myself as the paper clip machine. If I really am deterministic with only a hint of chemical randomness to simulate will power, do I really have the right to claim intent above mere intelligence – the one thing that the paper clip machine lacks? Strangely, it’s so easy to envision the veil being pierced or removed – but not the chaos that ensues after choosing to residing entirely beyond the veil. It’s like seeing the structural cornerstone of a building – so easy to identify it and imagine its disappearance, but the resultant destruction caused by its removal is so difficult to envision. The identity falls away without the right to claim domain over intent, and so another grand lie lies dead in the wasteland of absurdity.
Well, that is enough for now. But I’ve planted the seed to seek out grand illusions. I’m done with being committed to them – or at least, so says my ego.