‘Tis the season to ramp up the consumption madness. It’s a lonely time of year no matter what, but for doomers, you have to add in the extra special dose of pressure to be happy.
Christmas was magical for about six years before I started noticing the gap between the fantasy on television and what I experienced for myself.
The fantasies of miracles and magic and making memories impel otherwise rational human beings to become even more driven to be happy despite what the real world contains.
Nothing changes in the physical world, of course. Mutton birds are starving in the millions, whales still beach themselves, sea stars are still melting, the world is still crashing, but it is all not to be mentioned during this holiday season or you become Debbie Downer on SNL.
(I’m proud to announce that “black Friday” spending was way down this year, worldwide. Of course, when austerity is imposed by the big bankers, it’s hard to spend income you don’t have, but hey, let’s not pay any attention to that. I hope that some of the non-spending was a deliberate spitball at the corporations who are running the world.)
Family gatherings are fraught enough, but add in the pressure to ignore reality in favor of fantasy and it’s enough to ignite fireworks.
The strain of seeing past the illusory world we occupy to the real physical world is exhausting enough. At this time of year, the pressure to be happy and optimistic is overwhelming.
Last year at this time, the very idea of being around people dead asleep to the real world scared the crap out of me. As I was contemplating having to listen to inane chatter about stuff that does not matter, anxiety gripped me.
So, I tried an experiment and it worked, so I’ll share it with you. Note, this only works for an afternoon or so. Visits that go longer might require other measures.
I pretend I’m an anthropologist from another planet. I’ve been dropped onto the earth to study the species and report back. Since my role is a scientist doing field work, I can more easily assume the role of neutral observer. It helps to remind me that we’ve been programmed to be morons. How much of that programming is hard-wired and how much is culturally conditioned by an insane civilization is better left to bigger brains that I. It’s the distance that helps me to be a bit more understanding (dare I say, compassionate?) about my species.
Christmas is a pageant after all. Acting my way through it is a win for all concerned. I stay quiet, and others can continue to deny. Since it is for a finite period of time, it’s easily enough done.
Sure, it’s not authentic. I’ve noticed that people don’t really care about that. You murmur compliments about the food, or the kids, or whatever, smile on occasion, and then leave with a minimum of drama. Their fantasies are intact and you can get back to your real life with far fewer scars.
Works for me.