The Gift Season

I do wish all of you a peaceful and regenerating holiday season.

It is the holiday season. in most parts of the world, people lay down work and celebrate something about the birth of a modern day idol. Wrong! Most people go on a consumption binge, eat too much, drink even more, and quarrel with their relatives. Funeral parlors are appealing at this time of the year. The bit with the modern day idol, is the excuse. That is, I just relegated the Bible to the category of boulevard press.

The birth that took place some two millennia back and is invoked as cause here also inspired all sorts of narrative that, in turn, has led to war and bloodshed again and again. I will never get over the stupidity of the Crusades. When is war justified? When are acts of aggression justified? Give me one good example of when war is justified, just one. And if you give me that one example, I will still argue with you. Every year, at this time of the year, as this season returns, I return to this theme. I return to what sense does religion make, and I do wonder why families must quarrel. I think the time has returned for me to head back to the desert, the sands, the oasis, without electricity, with paper and pencil, a blanket and a compass.

(In Islam, the modern day idol Jesus is considered a prophet. Do the math, remember that the Hindus and Buddhists are pluralists, and that there are thousands of religions in our globe, what makes you think that only one of them has the claim to the truth?)

Why am I so negative, you ask. I am not the least bit negative, my mood has not been this good for a while; life works. Life works even when you call it failure. I have been reading a lot of Paul Feyerabend and Ludwig Fleck. Another book that I got to read over the break has the cute title of Chasing Reality. It is the kind of book that has a title like a glossy pretty picture; I could not resist.

I am off the grid for the next few weeks, those who need to know, know. It has always been that way: I am shy, love seclusion, and remain unapproachable.

Allow me to quote from Feyerabend’s autobiography Killing Time as in the last chapter he writes about marriage and retirement.

And when speaking of love I do not mean abstract commitment such as “love of truth” or a “love of humanity,” which, taken by themselves, have often encouraged narrow-mindedness and cruelty. Nor do I mean emotional fireworks that soon exhaust themselves. I can’t really say what I mean, for that would delimit a phenomenon that is a constantly changing mixture of concern and illumination. Love lures people out of their limited “individuality,” it expands horizons, and it changes every object in their way. Yet there is no merit in this kind of love. It is subjected neither to the intellect nor to the will; it is the result of a fortunate constellation of circumstances. It is a gift, not an achievement.