Friday, 21 December 2007

Gulliver on Christmas Island

I think I finally managed to pinpoint the source of my strange feelings towards the holiday commonly referred to as Xmess.
It's comes down to this: Virtually everyone around me is in this seemingly lunatic holiday mode; I'm not. Now there's nothing wrong with being in a seemingly lunatic mode; some great fun can be had in the process, and in this regard losing yourself to Xmess is not that different to losing yourself at a football game.
Problems start, however, when you lose your grip on reality in the process. If you continue behaving like a loony long after the game of football is over, or if you let your life get totally consumed by the football experience, everyone around you would say that something is wrong with you. Yet people all around me are totally consumed by Xmess, mostly locked in this frenzy of gift shopping and family coordination to the point of excessive loss of grip on reality (as in, the world would continue being the same as it is after Xmess, high hopes should not be placed on Xmess because a date on the calendar does not change a thing in your life, and things would go along just fine even if you don't get uncle Mike his favorite perfume).
People are so into "celebrating" Xmess they don't even realize that they are, in fact, lost. It's only me, a person for whom celebrating Xmess is the exception rather than the rule, that sees things this way. I am the Gulliver!
The reasons why people are so locked into the Xmess fever is clear: most of them do not know better. Most of them have never experienced anything else during this time of the year, and some of them are even willingly committing themselves to the ordeal in the name of religious reasons. Anyway you put it, it comes down people simply not thinking about the "why" when they do the things they do; they just do it, usually because enough people around them do the same thing.
What I find most thought provoking about all of the above is this: How many things do I do just because of a force of habit? How many things I can do without or do differently to come up with a better result, yet I don't because I'm too much of a stupid ignorant to realize that I'm a stupid ignorant? I suspect the answer is "quite a lot" and more than likely "much more than what you can ever dream of". I guess all I can do is read and travel, the activities that so far I have identified as the most eye opening of them all (and no, watching TV doesn't help; it only makes you dumber).
Another potentially interesting way of countering this ignorance is through parenting: by striving to be a good father to Dylan, I can probably learn quite a lot in the process of teaching him how to live.

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