Archive for December 20th, 2019

I believed in Santa Claus long after my friends had stopped, until about 9.  This may seem strange to those who don’t know me very well, because I’m so intelligent, skeptical and hardheaded.  But looking back on it, I realize that I expended considerable mental effort to make myself believe, long after doubts had become well-established in my mind.  Then about ten years ago, Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather made me realize the probable reason for this:  deep down I knew that once I stopped believing in that one powerful symbol of goodness in the world, the rest of the pretty lies such as “justice”, the goodness of “leaders” and their henchmen, the notion that there’s “someone for everyone”, the silly canard that “following dreams” often results in something other than disaster, etc, would fall as well.  And of course I was right; by 13 I had rejected organized religion and my teachers and parents were criticizing me for being so cynical; by 16 people were saying I was “born adult”; by 18 I was an anarchist.  Once I lost the ability to believe in childish fantasies, all of the childish fantasies – including the ones most adults still cling to –  went down in flames.  But even though I no longer believe in a literal Father Christmas, I still have a very high regard for the symbol, and at this time of year I make sure to do whatever I can to act in a way that would make him happy.

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