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This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nothing Father from the Truth

My 100th Blog entry. It better be good!

I've gone thru my blog history and re-read it all. There's posts on everything from bad science to virtual travel, figments of imagination to arguments about pigments. But one topic keeps coming up and so spurred on by my DVD salesman confiding in me yesterday that he hates all Americans and that 'did I know that the Iraq war was all about oil', and he as a Muslim knows that Lucifer and the Free Masons are to blame, I have resisted my intention to write about the joys of X-plane and laminar flow. Instead....

17th March 2010
Nothing father from the truth..
When I was younger, so much younger than today, I always looked forward to December. It was my annual chance of being Father Christmas. I especially recall one year in Cape Town, it must have been 1987 and Sarah and her brood of cousins were a captive audience. I took the opportunity to give them all a jovial lecture of how privileged they were to be getting gifts and how we should all pause for a moment to consider those kids on the flats (poorer areas) who would not have any evidence that Father Christmas had been their way at all.
I particularly liked donning the cottonwool beard and red dress because that was all it took for the kids to totally suspend their disbelief. There were no questions asked about how I had managed to get to see all the billions of children all over the planet nor how I had known what each of them wanted for Xmas. I felt and acted like an all-knowing, all powerful, all nice god....and they believed every word I spoke. So did the adults. Well, if they knew it was me, they certainly didn't let on. It was after all the season of good will and nobody was going to rock the boat by telling the Truth! Heavens no!
The next day we had all forgotten about Father Xmas and were happily finishing off the spoils of the excessive feasting of the day before. Boxing day we call it and it's a short and necessary recovery period for us to get our brains and bodies back into reality mode as smotthly as possible. Relaxation and leftover food normally does the trick.
22 years later, I still fervently believe in Father Xmas. I give myself over to the absolute reality of the magic that he brings to each child whose cultural norms entertain this particular annual manifestation of a lesser god of good deeds and benevolence. The great thing about Daddy Xmas is that he pops up but once a year and then disappears. Make no mistake, my belief in him is no imaginary illusion, no faith-based blind belief. I can easily test the hypothesis - simply go up to any Father Xmas around town and peep behind the beard and you find a real human being who is trying very hard to be nice to children. He really does exist!
Then there is the first Xmas when your own child becomes a co-conspirator in the grand illusion. He or she knows by now that Father Xmas is really Uncle George but has loads of fun not telling the younger kids, content that in time they too will see the light and hand the baton over to the next generation.
I know not of any child whose parents have conspired to keep Father Xmas' real identity hidden from their children past about 4 years old. Even if they tried, little Joe is by now mobile and intelligent enough to have his own tug at the cotton wool beard and woe on the hapless parents whose child makes that fatal move at the company kids' party!
All good physical theories hold on the basis of being able to be replicated experimentally. There is ultimately no absolute surety that the next time you test it it will be validated again. On the other hand, a theory can be utterly disproven by finding only one instance where the prediction is contradicted. This applies to physical phenomena as well as experiments of the mind or logic. This is why the myth of Father Xmas has to die for each and every child eventually. There comes a time when there is incontravertable proof that he is just not divine.
The reason Father Xmas stays alive in the Christian culture is simply because nobody over the age of 4 years old thinks that he is really supernatural. With that out of the picture his fans can get on with enjoying all that the Xmas ritual can offer.
So, on my 100th blog, the question I ask is: When will we, as humans, realize that it is entirely possible to sing joyfully, meet our mates on Sundays (or Fridays or 5 times a day or in a trance), to do good deeds because it the right thing to do, feel humble in magnificent architecture, be inspired by poetry from books written 2000 years ago, have parties where we pretend that wine is magic, all the while accepting that what we are believing is no more real than Father Xmas coming down the chimney.
Ah! you say.....big difference! We can prove that Father Xmas isn't all powerful, all knowing and totally good. You can't disprove the existance of God.
Actually, we can.
It's those kids on the flats, the ones that don't have Xmas joy because they have been abused or simply have no food at all. Their existance proves absolutely that there can be no super being who is all powerful, all knowing and all good.
So, if your parents forgot to tell you at the age of 4 that the God, Allah, Big Mo and Jesus stories are all much like Father Christmas then by now you are probably not going to believe a word I say. Instead, you are happy to suspend your sense of disbelief and surrender yourself unto some greater power. Gosh.

1 comment:

  1. Budgie! I stumbled on this post from Clive's. I very much like your writing. I will be sure to visit it again.