Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa, etc.

A fellow was talking on the radio yesterday about his interest in the fact that when children are little, many are encouraged to believe Santa Claus is real. Sooner or later they outgrow the belief ... only to teach their children that Santa is real. It was a curious matter, the fellow said. He couldn't quite get his mind around it. He wasn't being suave and sophisticated in his curiosity ... not some upscale psychologist or academic pretending to have some last-word explanation. He was just talking what sounded like human-speak.

And it was curious -- at least to me.

To believe, to outgrow belief, and then to re-instill a worn-out or discredited belief . Or, more generally, to outgrow one belief and then replace it with another after having found that the first belief didn't quite square up with reality.

If you did this often enough -- or simply looked back on things once believed and subsequently disbelieved -- wouldn't it suggest that the format of belief was worthy of investigation? Not necessarily up-scale criticism or disdain or I'm-immune sarcasm -- just investigation? Personal investigation of personal activity?

My own take is that belief invariably relies on the past and the fact is that we all live in the present. This apparent dichotomy leads to uncertainty and discontent.

I've made this observation too often in the past to regurgitate it all over again in the present. I guess people will either consent to take a look or learn to live happily ever after with Santa.


  1. Sets 'em up to believe in god and country.

  2. I'm still undecided on this one. I guess everyone likes to see the wonder in kids eyes when presents mysteriously appear under the tree or whatever. Don't know what I'll teach my son yet but in any case I think it's pretty harmless.

    But what about the wonder in Zen students' eyes when they talk about "the unconditioned place beyond right and wrong", etc.? Ultimately the same as believing in Santa Claus, but just as harmless?