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I have been driven mad by Christmas this and Christmas  that.  Even NPR is a steady drone of that ugly music over and and over and over and over and over ...(repeat about a million more times)!  Now they add this ridiculous chant about there being a "War On Christmas".  Hey maybe folks like me just have had too much crammed down our throats?  There is noplace you can go to escape it.  It is everywhere.  The need to inflict one's superstitions on others is not healthy behavior.  Possibly the largest mental health problem in our our country is this superstitious neurotic behavior and the evangelism that accompanies it.  having been Roman Catholic until age 21 and then a "Born again" type for almost a decade after that it is not as if I have not tasted the drug.  The idea that we spend useful time and discuss this matter is a sign of something deeply wrong in itself.  I am in the process of writing a book to put together the ideas I have evolved to hold in my almost 76 years  the last 50 or so spent as a "scientist".  Read on below and I'll share a few with you.

We live by our myths.  We do this because we have no other choice.  The world has always confronted our species with tough problems and we are not all that well equipped with cognitive tools to deal with it.  We have created some real potent belief structures to draw upon, science and religion being the pair that seem to satisfy most folk.  I mention them together because I have come to believe that they are complimentary. Even the most heated disputes between people who claim to be on one side or the other are basically mutually strengthening rather than  any progress toward resolving differences.  The fact that they go on and on and get no closer to resolution should be a clue.

And why not?  We human creatures are very much into "knowing".  Neither science nor religion have been all that helpful in my humble opinion.  My concept of "knowing " starts with being aware that we only have very crude models of reality to go on.  Some models we get from science some from religion because they have been happy to share the collective ignorance about our real world.  None of the models we are saddled with are baggage free no matter how hard we try to believe otherwise.

The core problem for us in Western Civilization is the way our models from science evolved.  We were led astray early on by the likes of Descartes, Newton, Bacon, and many others.  We have been given a wold view based on Cartesian dualism, the machine metaphor, and total misunderstanding of how we need to deal with causal relationships in our picture  of how things happen.

A group of us have been developing this thesis for a long time and have been successfully isolated from influencing either the scientific or the religious communities.   We sent out a skeleton of our book and were clued in on a book that just came outIncomplete Nature HOW MIND EMERGED FROM MATTER  by Terrence W. Deacon  Here is another neuroscientist who has come to so many of the same conclusions we have without really knowing about us!  That is very encouraging.  I'll have lot's more to say about this in future diaries, but I want to get back to this war on Christmas illusion and what it really means to me.

The science/religion collusion has evolved because people need a model of the complex world they live in.  People also have a particular problem in that they don't like to believe that when they die they cease to exist. That, in fact is what I believe.  The apparent conflict between science and religion arises because of the incompleteness of each of them.  Science fails to deal with the mortality issue and religion is not all that good with providing ways of putting off death.

So our culture in particular needs this constant mutual reassurance that we really don't just stop existing at death.  The package the religions sell keeps that thought in its place.  If there is a overdose reaction to Christmas hype could it be because by drumming and drumming this theme the confidence that these myths have any basis is weakened rather than strengthened?  Oh my!  It is so well know that the birthday of Jesus was not this season at all but that the Roman Church moved it to capitalize on the popularity of the Solstice reveling.  Once you are had in that way is it possible that you have been had in others?  

Now let's get to a real problem about all this.   The Christmas season is, in fact, the biggest materialistic orgy I am aware of.  It is not trivial!  it is hard to estimate how Much our economy needs this and is actually based on this.  Is it a coincidence that Faux News is behind much of the hype?  Is it possible that the 1%  see other threats to their hold on us but losing this one could be big!

Lots to think about and as I wrote this the crap on NPR was less conscious to me.  We keep NPR on 24/7 as a sensory stimulus.  Part of my way of keeping my brain as active as possible before it finally quits forever.


The "War on Christmas"

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 06:19:42 PM PST

  •  And they get their own Federal (3+ / 0-)


    Help, help were being oppressed!


    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 07:03:35 PM PST

  •  More fuel for your fire (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    The American Family Association has created a Naughty or Nice list of retailers categorized as Christmas Friendly or Against Christmas.

    AFA lists 54 retail chains as Christmas Friendly and 14 as Against Christmas.

    AFA also as a Marginal category into which 8 chains have been plunked.

    Thanks for this Diary, I'll look forward to more of the same.

    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 07:13:50 PM PST

    •  AFA picks greediest company (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msmacgyver, don mikulecky

      and drum roll please......Family Dollar!  No, not Exxon.  Not Bank of America.   Family Dollar!  Why - because they are going to be open 'Christmas'.  They try to rationalize some of it as quoting internal memo saying only 2 people per store will be working and need to bring in sales of $1100 to break even, but their main objection is that they dare to be open at all.  (I won't link to AFA - not giving them more hits.)

      What about us atheists, Jewish people, Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, etc...?  Wonder what would happen if, instead of Christmas and Easter, we have mandatory Federal holidays for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.  Or that Sharia Law I hear is an epidemic in America, goes nationwide?

      "There is no barrier of people's acceptance. The only barrier is the media. Remember what people cannot see or hear, they cannot think about." - liner notes of Soft Cell's 'The Art of Falling Apart'.

      by dugjxn on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 06:06:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, at the top of the Christmas Friendly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky

        List is (drum roll please) AFA Online Store.

        The Comments make for good reading, particularly those from anti-xmas posters.

        It's well known that December 25 is not the date of birth of the historical/mythical Jesus and that the date was chosen to mimic, then over-ride a Pagan holiday.  Most of the symbols and practices which are used to represent xmas, i.e., tree, gift giving, are Pagan.

        "Christ" was never IN xmas.

        Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 07:18:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  In my city (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BYw, don mikulecky

    they put up speakers on the lampposts blaring religious and secular music all the time. I went into city hall and asked if my taxpayer dollars funded it, and the clerk said they were put up by a private civic organization. I asked if they get money from the city. Yes, they do. She sounded kind of embarrassed.  My tax dollars at work.  

  •  Winter Solstice/Jesus' Birthday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    It was genius for the Roman Church to change Christmas to the celebration of the winter solstice.  If it were not changed--and presents and Santa were not added, the holiday would go pretty much unnoticed.  We had to do something similar to Easter.  Without bunnies and egg hunts, few would participate.  The Church is not stupid.  It knows how to get a following!

    Peace to you all.  Jane

    Old Hippies Never Give Up!

    by ravenrdr on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 04:03:41 AM PST

  •  Idiotic diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    . . .and I am sure a stupid assed book as well. Just what are you effing talking about? "Incomplete science"? "Does not deal with mortality"?

    I am sure the book will sell. You can sell idiots anything as long as it's not the truth.


    Maybe you need to google Galileo's letter to the Dutchess of Tuscany. You can print a copy of that letter in your book. Come to think of it, maybe your book won't be necessary at all once you have read the letter.

  •  The good thing about Christmas. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    . . .IS. . .the commercialism. Capitalism barely works at all. . .each and every fall and winter business activity falls.

    Without the commercialism of Christmas, it is likely that capitalism would not survive each winters doldrums.

  •  Decide What Works (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    In our case, it was a big cut down on the stuff we give each other and we went back to the heart of the holiday--spending time with each other and with friends and relatives we don't often see.

    Your solution may differ.  And that's fine.

    This year, I made half my presents and picked up a new hobby in the process.  Instead of spending a huge amount of money, I ended up learning more about electronics and made nice gifts that didn't cost a fortune.

    The other half I bought.  Somebody needed a new computer, and I'm not THAT good with a soldering iron...  :-)

    Christmas also marks my yearly appearance in church, but the music is intolerable.  It would be fine if the choir could stay on key.

    It also marks my yearly excuse not to take Communion as I'm quite happy in my agnosticism and would find taking it to be rankest hypocrisy and really bad manners...

    (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 06:42:37 AM PST

  •  Accommodationist much? (0+ / 0-)
    We live by our myths.

    No, Santa is not real, just like unicorns, faeries, and god are not real.
    The fact that they go on and on and get no closer to resolution should be a clue.

    Yeah, that they are incompatible.
    My concept of "knowing " starts with being aware that we only have very crude models of reality to go on.

    The scientific model produces accurate results that all of modern technology is based upon, or do you believe that the moon landings were faked? The only thing religion seems to be good at producing is war.
    Science fails to deal with the mortality issue and religion is not all that good with providing ways of putting off death.

    Religion fails to deal with the 'mortality issue'. Wishful thinking and absurd fantasies do not qualify as empirical conclusions.

    I can understand your deep desire to kiss that religious ass, don; hell, there may be a templeton prize waiting down the road. So pucker up buddy, but leave science out of your base objectives.

    •  You seem to like to misrepresent even quotes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      My concept of "knowing " starts with being aware that we only have very crude models of reality to go on
       If you believe that physics is a good model of reality tell me how physics led to the words you wrote. Far too many of us in science have come to watch physics worshiped like religious diety is.  If you think this does either physics or humankind any good you have been misled like many others.  There is enough in the scientific literature that has been published after review by outstanding scientists often Novel winners to make me not have to defend this tautology.

      Now let's see about your honesty:

      I can understand your deep desire to kiss that religious ass, don; hell, there may be a templeton prize waiting down the road.
       Were I reading this comment to anyone's diary I would give it a hide rating.  You know nothing about what I have written about the futility of religious myths nor about how the incomplete way reductionist science has led to a strengthening of those myths.  We have proven conclusively that if one replaces the limited model produced by reductionist science  with good sound complexity science a causal model of real world complex systems does away with the need for the creation of a deitiy to solve the failure in reductionist versions of casuality.  These writing are all available here on Kos.

      Your use of Faux News, Rush and other's ways of arguing are troll like and should be stopped.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Dec 25, 2011 at 07:44:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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