Thursday, December 24, 2009
"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
The line from that old Andy Williams song is the real miracle of Christmas. My house is buried in snow, and the TV news just announced that a "life threatening" blizzard is on its way. The shortest, darkest day of the year was two days ago. This is the season when I have to pay hundreds of dollars just to keep my house warm enough that I do not freeze to death. This is when it really seems that Nature is actually trying to kill me. Why on Earth would anyone call the season of darkness and death "the most wonderful"?
The answer is obvious: humans invented this great holiday that spreads cheer and brightness and they put it in the darkest time in the annual cycle, the time that needs it the most. This is testimony to the fact that we are more the product of culture than of nature. By creating culture we triumph over nature, which, for all its awesome beauty, is also brutally indifferent to us. We can win.