Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas with V-RADIO!

“Christmas” with V-RADIO.

So a little while ago, I did a show called “Thoughts on Thanksgiving”. I did the show while I was sitting in seclusion during a Thanksgiving dinner I had been invited to on my way to Occupy Flint. One of the things I mentioned was a picture called “Define Necessity”. A picture with a starving African child next to a picture of a typical American Christmas. Complete with a tree, presents, etc. I remember the picture well, as I had put it up on my V-RADIO Facebook page. I went to look for it again today and found it had been deleted. I did a search for it, and found out that it had been deleted from many Facebook pages.

So I decided to share the photo again. And was not surprised that many people clicked like on the photo. But I was surprised that a few people very loudly protested the photo being posted on Christmas. A couple of comments that come to mind:

“Hey man, I support TZM but why would you post this on Christmas???”

Lighten the fuck up! Xmas is the only day of the year when you and your family can feel free! TVP really needs to re-evaluate some stuff!”

There were some other comments that were even less polite. And the conversation is still going on there. I found it interesting that people would still be protective of their feelings about Christmas.

My point in posting this, just as my points I made during the "Thoughts on Thanksgiving episode" is to try and pair up two realities that people usually refuse to link. And that is that we are doing well in the 1st world, usually at the expense of the people in the 3rd world. People do not want to be reminded that there are people doing terribly in other countries because we are doing well in the West, or in the more wealthy countries of the world. The people who were upset with me mostly seemed to be angry that I rattled their cage and want to be left alone in the bubble they put themselves in. They do not want to face that they constantly turn their backs on the economic reality that there are people not only doing worse then they are, that they are doing absolutely horribly. 

Later on in the conversation on the facebook group, one of them said that he didn't like that this was happening, but that he lived a hard life working for his boss at home and all that, so therefore it was OK that he practiced Christmas. I have a feeling the boy in the picture would happily trade his life of not having anything or the ability to work to get anything for the drudgery of wager slavery that most people in the West are so hounded by. The holidays are a time when we are the most brainwashed by the advertising of this consumer culture. And the notion that we somehow feel "free" then is absurd. 

So I decided to talk about Christmas, and really dig into the issue. So there are two major elements to this issue I want to touch on. The first would be the religious aspect, and the second would be the consumerist aspect. The two are linked in many ways. But both deserve their own attention.

I recently found a video called “Why was Christmas banned in America until 1820?” The video was posted by a Christian who no doubt was part of the few sects that do not practice Christmas, Halloween, etc. Most of these Christians are upset that the holiday is not being celebrated with enough emphasis on Christ's birth. The problem is that the holiday was designed from the start to attempt to attract pagans to Christianity. And that Christ was according to the bible born in the Spring anyway.
The same can be said of the “Easter Bunny” and “Easter Eggs” being fertility symbols and being used during the spring festival of fertility. No mention of using rabbits or eggs in remembrance of Christ rising from the dead in the bible.

Point of fact the majority of Holidays practiced in the supposedly “Christian West” all have Pagan origins. The truth is, Christianity is kind of boring. You will notice that virtually every symbol that is used to “celebrate” Christmas is not in any way related to anything biblical. At no point does any of the prophets or other supposedly divine influenced individuals in the bible even suggest a holiday for the birth of Christ. There are many holidays practiced by Pagans around the same time as what we understand to be Christmas however. Including the birth of the sun god Mithra. And in fact, some of the practices that are seen in most Christian homes that are supposedly about Christmas are even pointed out as something Christians should not be doing at all.

Jeremiah 10:2-5

King James Version (KJV) 2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
 5They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

So here we have a tradition honored by Christians all over the world. Despite the fact that their bible calls it out specifically as being an incorrect practice. There are many others like it:

Mistletoe: In the pagan tradition if you catch a lady under mistletoe you can pretty much have your way with her. In the “Christian” tradition you can just give her a kiss and she is not allowed to resist. I would say that is pretty self explanatory as to how it is not Christian.

The Yule log: An element of the pagan holiday “Yule” dates back to Vikings and Norseman. They would cut down the biggest tree they could find, drag it through the streets and light it on fire. They would use Holly to help keep the fire hot. The goal was to have it burn for twelve days. During those twelve days drunken orgies and revelry would take place, and every day a different sacrifice would be offered to their gods. Sometimes these sacrifices happened to be human beings. So consider that the next time your family lights up the “Yule log” to honor the birth of Christ.

Deck the halls with bows of holly....fa-lah-lah-lah-lah, lah-lah-lah-lah...”

Toll the ancient yuletide carol....fa-lah-lah-lah-lah, lah-lah-lah lah...”

The use of holly, wreaths, all of it is borrowed heavily from Pagan traditions, and has no basis in the bible at all. There is lots of information available about this stuff, and some if it is downright grizzly.

The character Santa Claus, is another one of the greats. His origins start out with the same fellow they were honoring when they were burning that log for twelve days. “Father Christmas” to some. He took on many forms. But at one point he also had a side kick that was known to be a horned demon named “Ruprect”. The horned demon would sometimes take off with the really bad children. The horned demon eventually evolved into the reindeer. Though they don't really talk about that part of it anymore.

The fact that this entire story of Santa Claus basically re-enforces religion's tendency to scare people into behaving in whatever way the people at the top of that religious pyramid want them to, should be obvious. But it goes a bit deeper then that. We are taught to lie to our children about the existence of this being.

One of the things I found ironic in the video is that since it was made by Christians whining about how the holiday they stole in the first place was not spending enough time emphasizing on Christ, was that those same people complained about this tradition of parents lying to their children about the existence of Santa Claus in an effort to control them. And that even if children are naughty or nice the kids still get the presents on Christmas morning.

Hmm.... well I certainly agree with them. Lying about the existence of a being who punishes people for being whatever the church says is “bad” is pretty immoral. And I would say lying to someone about the existence of a being who rewards people for being “good” is pretty silly as well. Considering the fact that bad people prosper, and good people struggle constantly it would seem if there is such a being he has fallen asleep at his post. So sure, lying about Santa Claus is WRONG! It is a distraction for our children from the uh.... truth about that other guy we lie to them about! Oh yeah! GOD!

So people are for religious reasons very attached to Christmas. And one of the things that occurred to me when I was thinking about that took me back to a time I visited a church to get some extra food for my family when we were in need. Mind you, this church was actually a pretty cool place. Nobody was judging anyone. Everyone was gathering and having fun. What occurred to me though was that these people seemed to need an excuse to do this. It's like it kind of robbed them of the true reward for their generosity, which was the act of giving itself. They would say they were doing the “work of the lord” when in reality they should have been helping people in need because THEY wanted to. The Lord did not gather that food for them. The Lord did not spend the time giving it out. He did not provide any of it. It was the hard work of the people running that charity who brought that to the world. And they cheated themselves out of feeling that kind of well deserved satisfaction at doing something to help others. I caught myself wondering how many of them were doing what they were doing because they wanted to go to heaven? How many of them would still be doing it if they did not think it would get them into heaven?

I also remember the various charities who get together and ensure that the homeless get Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, which while I applaud, some of these people only do this kind of work on the specific holidays. As if the homeless don't need help the other 363 days a year. I also see people do each other favors or whatever they might not otherwise in the name of “well hey, it's Christmas...”. Like maybe they help someone get their car out of the snow. Or maybe they let someone keep the change from a transaction. Again, why do we need an excuse to be good to each other? And what is our excuse for NOT being as good to people the rest of the year?

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone behaved like they seem to think they only have to behave for Christmas? What if every day people went out of their way to help each other rather then only on these few religious holidays a year? THAT would be something. THAT would change the world.

When I was young I remember the second job I had working as a dishwasher at a Pizza place. I worked really hard that December because I wanted to buy gifts for everyone in my family. And that is what I did. I was really excited to see the look on their faces when they opened them. I eventually became addicted to giving people things. When I became an atheist I did not stop giving people things. But I no longer needed an excuse. I gave people things because I enjoyed sharing something with someone that made them happy. I was free of any religious guidance for the giving of gifts. And to this day I still do that. I will see something that I know would mean a lot to a friend of mine or relative and get it for them. I do this throughout the year. I don't need any one special day to do it. And I don't need to stomp on anyone on Black Friday to pull it off.

I feel the tradition of telling children that some mythical being known as Santa Claus gave them the gifts under the tree robs the child of feeling that connection with the person who actually gave them the gifts. And that is what it is, it is a connection between the person you are giving the gift to, and yourself. In that one moment you have reached out and enriched the life of another person with a selfless gift of your own. You also rob yourself. You are the one giving the gift, it should be a powerful moment between you and that person. Not them and another non-existent entity.

To conclude the point about religion, I would suggest that when we give gifts for specific holidays in the name of beings who don't exist, we are basically making “sacrifices” to these “entities”. Is it the same thing as burning someone on the Yule log to keep Father Christmas happy? No. But you are sacrificing the real connection that man should have with man, absent any supernatural excuse.

You are also sacrificing your own justly earned satisfaction out of doing something for someone when you credit it to the service of a being who for some reason is not around to help when it comes time to feed or clothe those in need. He seems to be around to take the credit though. Yet for some reason is never around to do the work.

To segway into the next part of this, one of my favorite quotes I once heard from a child. It's really perfect when you consider it covers the economics and religion of Christmas in one statement:

Mommy, why does Santa Claus like rich kids more then poor kids?”

The dark side of social engineering has been seen by people who listen to my show, members of the Zeitgeist Movement and supporters of the Venus Project. It saturates every part of our culture. We live in a culture that was socially engineered to create people who are nearly religious in their pursuit of consumerism.

There are so many social stigmas associated with giving people a “good Christmas” and all of them revolve in some way around money. The fellow I quoted above kept talking about how Christmas is the only day a family can “feel free” meaning that they somehow feel free on that day.

I imagine in some families they might do a good job of convincing themselves of that. But the reality is that the consumer holiday creates all kinds of mental mayhem. One of my most vivid Christmas memories came from my early twenties. I was renting a room from someone who's family had invited me over to Christmas. Due to a car problem we were late. Eventually the guy's mother showed up, furious that we were not there on time. And I got to watch as an adult woman started physically assaulting her adult son in front of his wife and children for not being to Christmas on time. This might be somewhat of an extreme example. But I have seen the same thing play itself out over and over again to greater and lesser degrees in homes all around the country. A great deal of stress goes into ensuring that the holidays are “perfect”. I have watched families get into screaming matches about it. I have seen them go absolutely crazy over the turkey, ham, stuffing, or whatever other implements that you absolutely MUST have in order to be having a proper holiday where everyone is supposed to be getting together to enjoy one another's company. I have seen families go into a frenzy that eventually leads to fighting and all sorts of drama if any one of these implements is not utilized to it's full effect.


The further pressure in the situation comes from having all the best gifts. This is generally enforced throughout our entire culture. Parents are not seen as good parents if they do not provide for their children a “Good Christmas”. So combine this with the already out of control fervor that false institutions such as fashion, novelty, etc and you have an orgy for the 1% at the top of the food chain. They have us trained to be good little consumer monkeys, and Christmas is if anything the ultimate culmination of all their hard work to get us to work hard to make them rich.

The sheer lunacy of the situation takes some very hideous forms.

Here are some excerpts from an article in “The New York Times” about shopping on Black Friday. The article is called: “Wal-Mart worker trampled to death by frenzied Black Friday shoppers...”

The New York Times
In a sign of consumer desperation amid a bleak economy, the annual rite of retailing known as Black Friday turned chaotic and deadly, as shoppers scrambled for holiday bargains.
A Wal-Mart worker on Long Island, N.Y., died after being trampled by customers who broke through the doors early Friday, and other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man. At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals.
Fights and injuries occurred elsewhere at other stores operated by Wal-Mart, the nation's leading discount chain, which is one of the few retailers thriving in the current economy.
Meanwhile, two men at a crowded Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, Calif., pulled guns and shot each other to death after women with them brawled, witnesses said.
While tussles and even broken bones are common when the doors open on Black Friday, this is apparently the first time someone was killed in the stampede. For some consumer psychologists, the mad scramble was a sign of the times.
"I think it ties into a sort of fear and panic of not having enough," said Joe Priester, a professor at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and a former president of the Society for Consumer Psychology. A herd mentality, he said, can lead individuals to feel anonymous, so much so that they are capable of trampling someone. "Fear combined with the group mentality?" he said. "It doesn't surprise me at all."
Walter Loeb, president of Loeb Associates, a retail consultancy, said there was shopping mania at Wal-Mart every year. But this year, he said, it seems "people are becoming irrational in their actions."
That seemed the case early Friday at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, on Long Island, where the Nassau County police had to be called in for crowd control about 3 a.m., and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order.
Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault.
Witnesses and the police said the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Queens, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him.
Some workers fought their way through the surge to get to Damour, but he had been fatally injured, police said. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.
Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman described as eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.
Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau County police, called the scene "utter chaos" and said the "crowd was out of control." As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. "I've heard other people call this an accident, but it is not," he said. "Certainly it was a foreseeable act."
Some shoppers who had seen the stampede said they were shocked. One, Kimberly Cribbs of Queens, said the crowd had acted like "savages." Shoppers' behavior was bad even as the store was being cleared, she recalled.
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,' " Cribbs said. "They kept shopping."
Outbreaks weren't restricted to New York. At a Wal-Mart in Columbus, Ohio, Nikki Nicely, 19, jumped onto a man's back and pounded his shoulders when he tried to take a 40-inch Samsung flat-screen TV to which she had laid claim. "That's my TV!" Nicely, 19, shouted. "That's my TV!"
A police officer and security guard intervened, but not before Nicely took an elbow in the face. In the end, she was the one with the $798 television, marked down from $1,000. "That's right," she cried as her adversary walked away. "This here is my TV!"
I did a little research on some other incidents on that day.
In another incident, a woman allegedly defended her two teenagers who were being physically assaulted by other shoppers when they were trying to acquire X-box game consoles by using Pepper Spray.
A child was shopping with his grandfather in another store in Phoenix when shoppers tried to strip a video game out of the hands of the child. The grandfather slipped the video game under his shirt so that people could not steal the game from the child. This resulted in police throwing the man on the floor on his head as they suspected him of shoplifting. His blood was pouring out of his head while his grandson watched helpless to do anything but try to explain to the police what had taken place while his grandfather lied unconscious on the floor.
Interesting that security was on task for protecting the merchandise but not the lives of the people who have been lost during Black Friday.
I ended up watching videos of various Black Friday riots, and that is really what they are. Riots. In many cases what you are looking at looks like people desperately trying to get out of a burning building. It's like a feeding frenzy.
So what does this mean? Where does it come from? Again, we are taught that if we don't give the best gifts we are not the best friends or family members. We are taught that our self image should be directly linked to this. I have seen the quality of Christmas being brought up in child custody battles, where the parent who can offer a “better Christmas” gets preferential treatment. It also is weighed in general, as parents who are more financially well off will be seen as “better parents” in the legal system. Even if the parents in question are not emotionally or mentally supportive of the children.
Children are of course put in an awkward position in situations like that, as they do want gifts. The advertising industry as shown in the film “Consuming Kids” knows this all too well and exploits it to create an almost insatiable thirst on the part of children for specific gifts. And that is further re-enforced at school where they are made fun of if they don't have the latest toys or fashions.
A great deal of businesses derive almost half of their profits from holiday sales. There are so many industries built around the holidays themselves including the decorations, and all other facets of these “holidays”. You see it when the holiday decorations for the next holiday are already on display before the food from the last holiday is even cold. They play music in the stores appropriate to those holidays to constantly remind consumers that they should be doing their “duty” to their family and friends by seeking to buy gifts for them.
You are taught that the amount of money you spend on someone for these holidays is a critical measure of how much you care for them. You might literally feel guilty if you did not spend enough on them.
Big business pushes these holidays as they basically enslave the consumer cult masses to give them sacrifices on those days. Hallmark, the company known for it's greeting cards decided there was not enough holidays, and that apparently Valentine's day was not making them enough money so they created another holiday known as “Sweetest day” out of thin air. They did not even have to have a religious excuse. They simply guilt tripped consumers into the understanding that if you didn't get your significant other something on their created holiday that it meant you did not care about them. And fostered the idea that if your significant other didn't get anything for you on this day that it meant they did not care for you.
So what is it I am against? Am I against giving things to my friends and family? Am I against spending time with my friends and family? Am I against the “spirit of giving”? Quite the opposite. As I stated earlier I feel that the real spirit of giving comes from one person to another. That it should need no excuse. And that it should also not be an obligation. You are socially punished for not giving gifts during these consumer holidays. People are taught to believe you think less of them if you do not give them gifts on these days. And that in turn makes you even more obligated to give them gifts for fear of being thought of as someone who does not care.
Personally I think the idea that I am obligated to give someone something means it is not a gift. Such a notion is actually more akin to settling a debt. Is that what giving is about? Is it about a debt I owe to the people I care about? Or should it be about the elation I feel when I make someone happy who has made me happy?
So my suggestion is this. Don't wait for the holidays to show those you care that you care. Don't go out of your way to do so on the days the corporations have chosen for you. Because that means that you are only doing so as you are “obligated” to do so. Give out of your own sense of caring and devotion to the people in your life when you are ready to. And when you find something that would truly make them happy. Do as I did, and free yourself from the consumer cult practice that gift giving belongs to corporations. Take it back for yourself. And those you love. 

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