Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas is the Gift Everyone Gives Themselves

What is the universal theme of all the heartwarming stories emanating around this time of the year? It is that Christmas is what every individual makes of it -- for themselves. For many, it is about more things -- which of course leads to great disappointment, “Is that all there is?”

It’s not that nice things are not good to have -- but it’d be far more enjoyable if it was spread out over the course of the year, or a lifetime, rather than bunched up all at once -- at which point it becomes a celebration of gross excess rather than appreciation and gratitude for the richness of daily living, and all the little surprises.

The great anticipation usually leads to that kind of great disappointment rather than great fulfillment. For many adults, Christmas has become nothing more than an eating contest -- to see how much they can stuff themselves -- way beyond the enjoyment. That is just their tradition.

One also reads the story of those who feel life should be endless guilt and a sense of unpaid obligation -- ot others, as though that made all wrongs right. So we hear such platitudes as, “I’m giving back (what I should not have taken in the first place),” as high praise for themselves, in endless self-service and promotion.

For really, true charity is not running a public service announcement to proclaim that fact, as though they really care. They have their reward, for whatever that is worth -- but it is not in Heaven.

Just the use of the word “giving,” already connotes the idea of a benefactor and a beneficiary which is damaging, because the true spirit of Christmas would be the idea of “sharing,” because the former is about the transfer of ownership and title, rather than the recognition that it is a gift for everyone -- to be shared.

It is that feeling that creates the abundance in the world -- which is also the recognition of the realities of this world, if it was not truly so before this time. When everyone thinks that the objective is to secure as much as possible for their exclusive use and enjoyment, or to have more than anybody else, there is never enough to go around, no matter how much they have. But when there is this feeling of sharing, whatever they have, it is plenty.

That is the lesson of the multiplying of the loaves and fishes.


At December 28, 2006 9:58 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

One of the great problems of these times is the failure to make maximum use of what we already have. We have buses -- but in the drive to obtain rail, they're being totally disregarded and disrespected.

It'd be cheaper just to make the bus system free -- than to build a rail that will be underutilized too.

As long as our senior congress people can deliver unlimited pork barrel money, they'll be this culture and tradition of waste. And what we really need to do -- all people the world over -- is learn to handle the new realities of abundance and overconsumption.

When the cost of gas goes up, people have to change their behaviors to consume less -- and not pass laws that fix the prices so they can consume as much as they want. That is sheer idiocy -- and unresponsiveness that is responsible for the greatest dangers of our times, which is obesity, overconsumption and excesses.

And the media is leading in the denial -- as our worst offenders.

At December 29, 2006 12:11 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Despite there being virtually unlimited resources -- the information of those resources, is very limited, and in many cases, suppressed and denied -- because the self-interests are entrenched in their control of the information.

The problem of information is that in the past, that privilege was paid for by advertisers -- while information of the greatest benefit to the consumer, would not be promoted, because there is no profit in it, and such information might limit the many profit opportunities ignorance and deception creates.

The function of information distribution was largely left to the media, schools and universities -- which all have their own self-interests in promoting themselves. In the media, it is shameless -- while the schools and universities still try to maintain some dignity and decorum. But simply maintaining that they "know it all," is no longer enough, especially since the rewards of tenure, go to those whose information is the most obsolete and useless.

When the world is changing so quickly, those who should be most valued are those who have the newest information -- and not the oldest, which is what the institutions have going for them. But many are questioning the value of that information -- in a world in which the newest information that probably didn't even exist when they were learning has since come into being, and the only way for anybody to learn them, is on one's own.

That creates quite a conumdrum for the traditional powers that be -- whose major function is to pass on the tradition of their knowledge, as though it was unchanging over time.

So the whole information infrastructure has to be rethought -- in view of the new world we all live in, but many still think it is the world of a hundred years ago -- and so they are failing badly in their responses, and the challenges of life in these times.

At December 29, 2006 12:22 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The traditional model is to control the thinking of the mass of people -- while reserving that control to a self-designated few. In traditional society, those challenges to the status quo hierarchy were few and fairly easy to fend off -- because all the status quo institutions regarded an attack on one as an attack on all, and so they would band together, circle the wagons and keep the interlopers out.

In the world of "intellectual" property rather than the real and tangible, the turf is much more difficult to defend, or even define, since it is always shifting with new discoveries.

The big mistake in the traditional response has been to defend turf that is indefensible and impregnable -- simply because it hasn't been challenged before, and found to be only an illusion made inviolable.

At December 29, 2006 12:53 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Societies are defined not by their "lowest common denominators" but by their "highest common denominators," but with the obsession on how to control the masses, all the attention has gone into that direction and objective -- for which there is no escape from our current dilemmas, because the solutions will come from the best and not the worst.

But by pandering to the worst, letting the worst dictate the agenda, the problems get worse rather than better -- quite predictably and understandably -- and are perpetuated eternally as the inevitable "human condition."

So rather than publicizing the worst of the ideas as all that is possible, what the newspapers, media, schools and universities need to do is identify and publicize the best rather than arguing over the worst -- as though that was all that is possible.


Post a Comment

<< Home