Tuesday, December 20, 2005

the season of consumption.

the festive season is on us. the great festival of consumerism, high point of our current religion and culture. one feels happy just walking the streets of colombo. malls and shops so full of people and goods. wallets and purses so full of cash. television playing mushy movies nobody ever watches. offices filled with christmas music. soon there will be lunches, dinners, parties and dances. meeting cousins and their children. giving and getting kisses and gifts. getting drunk by afternoon. feeling romantic for no reason. daydreaming about all the smart women one meets. (for some reason at this time one can develop crushes on conservative well dressed women only, gypsies, hippies and radicals will have to wait till middle of january ). feeling smug and happy after helping the less fortunate. life is good.

then there are the usual spoilsports. tigers and buffaloes mainly, but one can ignore them for the moment. then again there are the ones who rant about the increasing commercialization of christmas. what they do not get is that christmas has nothing to do with christ or religion. it has nothing to do with saturnalia or birth of mithras either, even though as catholic church admits the date was derived by it from those pagan festivals. even those festivals got the date from winter solstice. it's a curious fact (though perhaps not that curious) that all the festivals the world over falls at one of the two solstice days or on the days on which the sun goes directly above the country of origin. in fact most people would have celebrated the various festivals on the same day in ancient times. it's in the invention of calenders of various types that actually separated them. anyway even the solstice is not the main reason why we have this festival now, it is there because we need to enjoy and indulge and be happy. period.

world will be boring and poor (literally) if not for the rampant consumerism of this season. there would not be malls or amazon.com or other cathedrals of new religion if not for this season.millions of people who turn out all those goods and foods from around the world will be without work. in the west retailers lose money till the saturday after the thanksgiving, called the 'black saturday' because it is on that day that the bottom line changes from red to black. anybody who inveighs against the consumerism is a hypocrite.

of course we need peace and goodwill on earth too and one can never get tired of hearing the story of birth of christ. imo that story is a miracle in itself, who but the god will invent it. only the easter service can beat the midnight christmas mass in getting one to almost believe in god. but it is always better the be honest with oneself and be aware of one's real motives.

happy holidays, christmas and a new year to every one! and do spend that money.


Keshi said...

yessss! Im first :)

U r right Sittingnut...it's all abt consumption indeed! It's abt selling, buying and indulging...unfortunately that's what most humans r like...only very few know the true meaning of Christmas...

**feeling romantic for no reason.


**what they do not get is that christmas has nothing to do with christ or religion

can u elaborate on this plzz...cos I read it somewhere else too but it didnt have the reason why...

U have a great holiday season...a jolly one ok HUGGGGGGGGZ!


**feeling romantic for no reason.

Capitalist said...

There is an excellent article on this topic written by a leading objectivist intellectual Dr. Leonard Peikoff.

Christmas Should be More Commercial

A section of that article -
America's tragedy is that its intellectual leaders have typically tried to replace happiness with guilt by insisting that the spiritual meaning of Christmas is religion and self-sacrifice for Tiny Tim or his equivalent. But the spiritual must start with recognizing reality. Life requires reason, selfishness, capitalism; that is what Christmas should celebrate -- and really, underneath all the pretense, that is what it does celebrate. It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.

I have haven’t heard of explicit advocacy of further commercialization of Christmas outside of the Objectivist movement.
How much of an Objectivist are you?

Merry Christmas!

capitalist said...

I'll place another quotation from that article because it has some valuable info on the origins of Christmas -

Historically, people have always celebrated the winter solstice as the time when the days begin to lengthen, indicating the earth's return to life. Ancient Romans feasted and reveled during the festival of Saturnalia. Early Christians condemned these Roman celebrations -- they were waiting for the end of the world and had only scorn for earthly pleasures. By the fourth century, the pagans were worshipping the god of the sun on December 25, and the Christians came to a decision: if you can't stop 'em, join 'em. They claimed (contrary to known fact) that the date was Jesus' birthday, and usurped the solstice holiday for their Church.

ashanthi said...

hey - hope everyone's gonna be around for christmas - was hoping to sing some carols together!

merry christmas, happy holidays & all that - but aren't we having super together ... i'm cooking a roast duck, cured with orange peel/conitreau & carraway seed...instead of a big fat turkey - what do you say?

it's a season of consuption & i have to say al the stingy scrouges who never give anthing to anyone stand out - but I always like to buy a little something for everyone...


sittingnut said...

:-) yes you are first, but this is not like your blog, most ppl who come here never comment.

can u elaborate on this plzz........only very few know the true meaning of Christmas
well it is about consumption .. selling, buying and indulging and i think we should accept that fact to ourselves. and it is not a bad thing imo.

**feeling romantic for no reason.
ha ha , so you feel that way too?:-D lots of ppl feel that way at this time

you too have a jolly a christmas and holidays as only you deserve to have.


thanks for the extracts and the link.
How much of an Objectivist are you? - well libertarians accept commercialization of christmas. :-)
he origins of Christmas -yes the author of that article is right. in fact as i referred to in the post catholic church frankly accept that they got the date from pagan festivals like saturnalia and from now extinct religion mithraism. they in turn got it from winter solstice.

merry christmas to you too!


ho ho ho!

was hoping to sing some carols together! how are we going to do that! pl explain, i am in.

about the food, i have no idea what that is, bt like the sound of it and hope somebody here will have it.

I always like to buy a little something for everyone good for yo , now what did you buy for me?

merry christmas, happy holidays & all that to you too :-)

Keshi said...

HO HO HO Ashanthi lolllz! Me Keshi Santa here :) I wanna come shar ur roast duck with ya..hehe will u invite me cos it sounds YUMMMMMM!

Sittingnut...lol I do feel romantic for no darn reason...hehe..but it's ok as long as it gets me in the merry mood ;-)



Niroshan said...

You're right. Christmas time is like Sinhala/Hindu new year time. It's time to spend,party,give and basically have lots of fun. I think I am kind of lucky b'cos my mom's mother & rest of the family is catholic and my father's mother is buddhist. So I get to enjoy both festivals, very closely. And as for those who are against consumerism? Well I think it's just a lame excuse they give for not being able to enjoy themselves. Frankly, I cannot say that I have met anyone like that either! Everyone I meet basically want to enjoy the season!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you too!

sittingnut said...


yes, that's the spirit be merry! and romantic :-)


ha! well my father is a buddhist and mother a catholic so i am in the same boat as you! i also think i am very lucky bc of that fact though i ended up not believing in any religion.

And as for those who are against consumerism? Well I think it's just a lame excuse they give for not being able to enjoy themselves
that says it nicely.

merry christmas and happy holidays!

Yaaro said...

Have a Merry Christmas s/nut. And yes it's indeed the season of Consumption!