Can you believe it? Black Friday is just around the corner, Christmas jingles are already flooding the airways, and the patriotic pandering to support the ever-flagging economy of the top one percent is gearing up for another festive season (i.e., high sales figures but disappointing profit-margins) to honor our material fixations in the cellophane guise of commercial-spiritual devotions.
Lest we forget the humbler and more hallowed origins of the season amid the frenetic frenzy of invented need-gratification, here are some little-known facts about the etymology of these treasured traditions:
Did you know?
That our traditional Thanksgiving dinner actually dates back to Julius Caesar? Shakespeare has immortalized the proletarian plea of Wimpy to Brutus, one of the powerful and wealthy ruler’s privileged inner circle: “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Some historians suggest that this was also the basis of the modern pay-by-installment system whereby one signs one’s entire life over to the one percent for the privilege of sharing (maintaining) its bounty and to offer its reward for good consumership: permanent Gold-Card Member of the Ninety-Nine Percent Club.
Though hamburgers were then a symbol of wealth and prosperity enjoyed only by members of the Roman senate on special occasions, they became plentiful enough that rotting surfeits followed the next century of Cesarean philanthropy to a vulnerable, war-torn Europe (Pax Romana), and annual celebrations were held to give thanks to those who shared their wealth and resources as welcome return for the wise but ultimately unsustainable and top-heavy guidance of an arrogant and self-serving ruling elite.
Did You Know?
That following an epicurean gala of “all the hamburgers you care to eat”, Roman senators “vegged out” on specially reserved stone couches in great stadiums (the prototype of today’s luxury “sky boxes”) to watch the Lions and Christians amid the dull, half-dozing revelry of inflated stomachs, mead-guzzling, and rude, noisome bodily emissions? The Lions still symbolize the old tradition, though somewhat less competitively today, and lite beer now eases the dispepsia of over-ingestion.
According to primary source documents, as a result of crude meat preservation, bacteria-laden overages, and the unrestrained excesses of the senators: “There were not a bare spote of grounde in the propinquity of the couches the size of a denarius wherein the Senators had not expunged some foule and variouse forme of excretium.”
Did you know?
That the tradition later re-emerged in the New World in more civilized form as Christianity gained momentum and spread its new gospel of love to a primitive, animal-like heathenry? Annual banquets were re-established — but this time, in accordance with the selfless creed dedicated to the service of humanity, the copious bounties of a devoted religious life were shared freely with the under-privileged in joyful anticipation of converting them and/or exterminating them and displacing them of their natural dignity along with whatever else the emissaries might deem proper return for the divine sacrifice of having to depend on savages in the name of God.
Did you know?
That our modern Christmas began as a pagan ritual marking the winter solstice? The shortest day and the longest night of the year translated to the ancient mind as a symbol of bitter hardship and deep depression, and this primitive heritage underlies the uncommonly high suicide rates which characterize the holiday season (compensation for the fantastic history of a divine ego which is yet subject to the laws of nature).
Intense outbursts of consumerism have replaced orgiastic sexual excesses, and boozy office parties and the suggestive lure of kisses under the mistletoe stand today only as fading silhouettes of the naked debauchery of our ancestors and convince us that the lowest forms of sensual greed, sexual or otherwise, have been magically transformed into lofty intellectual pursuits through repression and the pretense of belief.
Did you know?
That the jolly and venerable old St. Nick our children dream so wistfully of on Christmas Eve actually evolved from the ancient Norse god, Nikolai of the Twelve Engorgements? The terrible gifts he proffered were enslavement, abuse, and exploitation in return for the barest physical sustenance. He presided over the anonymous fates of humanity’s forgotten children whose self-serving mommies’ and daddies’ protective nurturing instincts had been overcome by the blind pursuit of immediate personal gain. Fortunately, they only comprise about one percent of the population.
His tragic, innocent victims were later euphemized as cute helper “dwarfs” by a wise ruling elite determined to improve humanity’s condition whatever the cost to itself; though a small handful of backward-oriented, bitter, and disgruntled naysayers of contemporary cultural enlightenment propose that unconscious aspects of the original image have morphed into a dangerous modern form of “managed mass deception” for the purposes of maintaining the run-away avarice of a wealthy, dissociated, and unregulated one percent.
Did You Know?
That no poor, pitiful, and unwitting beast of lower intelligence, human or animal (not even the adorable reindeer with its big brown expressive, almost human eyes), is off limits to the genetic inclination for usury and exploitation beneath the carefully staged benign, even pleasant, subliminally-induced commercial images of corporate media-interests which trigger the Pavlov-like response of sensual self-indulgence we’ve been conditioned to exhibit like automatons at the unconscious suggestion of the most transparent, pre-packaged advertisements?
Those familiar with Jung’s typology may note an introverted psychology in conflict with today’s extraverted culture. Continue reading for a serious look at how these tensions may lead beyond the projections and into a confrontation with the collective unconscious at mid-life.