As we enter into another holiday season, we recommend to our readers that they don’t become so caught up in the endless festivities and the tolls they take and step back even for only a few minutes to reflect. This is the first quasi-post Covid holiday season. Many will be attempting to replicate their memories of past celebrations by a conscious attempt to mimic them as best they can.
Maybe it’s an unavoidable consequence of our social and technological progress as a species, but it seems like we are becoming more and more like fictional caricatures of our true selves, more obsessed with how we appear to be than how we actually are, which opens the door to a major psychological disconnect between images of an ideal reality and a our real selves. What can lead to great bouts of depression and even suicidal tendencies is grounded in that disconnect. How much effort do we put into cultivating an image as opposed to simply living life as it comes with compassion and love?
Nobody in particular is to blame. Often it is alienated parents who put fantasy burdens on their children in seeming desperation to achieve moments of “happy.” The “happy times” attend special days like Thanksgiving, where no matter how unhappy in reality one may be, great pains can be taken to achieve that moment when Norman Rockwell appears to elicit an image of the happy, happy family. That is the big photo opportunity, the illusion that all is well when, so often, it is not. The sad part is that real happiness is there to be had in the simple pleasures of human connections, but that gets ignored in favor of an idyllic image of something that isn’t but ought, in the minds of some, to be.
People trying desperately to be happy. It can be sad because most of them are so close to being truly happy, but simply aren’t. Consider, this may be the final holiday season that our naive and quaint humanity lives with the illusion that earth, our home, is all there is. The James Webb Space Telescope at some point in the next year, is going to discover conclusively that intelligent life does reside outside of earth. It will be like that time when a child ventures out of the front gate of a happy home to discover that there is a lot out there confronting her with far from ideal realities.
Are we as a species occupying this tiny speck of our known universe prepared for what it will mean, conclusively, that we are not alone? Clinging to myths, religious ones, fantasies about a perfect childhood and denials of our own mortality and imperfections, we can be so cloaked in our own fears that as desperately as we may hope for a perfect memory, we are missing this real life, fraught with dirty nails and acne and peddlers of half-truths.