All around the world I am seeing the budding of a great spiritual awakening. In particular, there are elements of Vedic spirituality popping up through popular and counter culture. I'm going to be bold and say that the outbreak of COVID-19 has either directly or indirectly spurred on this awakening, with the help of whatever momentum it had before, due to the prolonged time that we have had to stay inside and away from people this year. Most people, I would hope, spent their time in isolation doing at least one thing that would be classed as self-improvement. This could have a few causes: the YouTube algorithm recommending certain videos to people, deep introspection and soul searching as a result of depression or boredom, or the exploration of new ideas resulting from conversations with friends etc.
I recently watched a video by Keith Woods where he interviewed Derrick Jensen. In that interview, Jensen speaks on what Carolyn Merchant's philosophy is as described in The Death of Nature. I find it to be applicable here for two reasons: during the industrial revolution, one of the social perceptions of nature had changed from being a living entity to something that can be exploited and used to power the machine that was to become technology and industry. We have learned in retrospect that what your experience in the world is will reflect how you interact with it. Jensen continues to say that Abrahamic monotheistic 'sky God' religions had done most of the heavy lifting for science, as it removed meaning and innate essence from Earthly beings and organisms like bears, cattle, trees and the like. This was replaced with the idea that there is no 'life', in the sense of how we would say a person is alive or dead, in non-living entities (i.e. something that isn't an animal). Of course, we know this to be false, as a marker for life (or energy, to use another term) is vibration, and everything in the world has a certain level of vibration to it.
This doctrine has eventually reached the point where people say that animals don't have consciousness, which could just be an excuse for them to continue their exploitation of animals and the natural world. This perception had turned bears from feared omnivorous apex predators who hibernate during winter, to something to hunt for fun instead of survival. Cows changed from peaceful grazing animals that provide milk for their young, to your next burger, glass of milk or handbag. And trees went from beautiful landscapes and places to hike through, to pieces of paper or lumber.
The left-wing and right-wing are obviously two very different strains of thought (although these days it feels like they are almost one in the same on many issues) at the foundation of their philosophies. Modern environmentalism is rife with left-wingers, and due to this overrepresentation, the movement has taken on a kind of neo-pagan progressivism which seeks to re-enchant the world. Although atheism is a strong theme amongst left-wing vegans, I believe that the intentions of these people are absolutely to re-enchant the world, give nature meaning and push back against the right-wing's historical disenchantment of nature through motifs such as Christianity (used here in the sense of monotheistic 'sky God' religion) and the importance of work, earning your own keep and participation in society at their forefront. The left-wing's answer is a convincing retort against the materialist economy-focused crowd of the right-wing/conservative circle of thought, despite the trend of them both slowly becoming the same ideas, it's just the left have their 'spiritual' tendencies rather than them being religious. Popular in the anarchist scene is the idea of the abolition of work and authority, thus an atheistic or pseudo-spiritual tendency takes place. They fundamentally reject the idea that life should be reduced to means rather than ends, and thus a rejection of Abrahamic spiritual-philosophy is rejected as well. It is thus possible for us to break the left and right wings into a dichotomy of spiritual tendencies versus religious dogma.
Heidegger once said that only a God can save us, and I see this coming to fruition in the form of a neo-pagan or traditionalist spirituality which sees the cosmos as an emanation of the divine. The problem remains that this new form of spirituality is still a minority among religious or spiritual worldviews, and the prevailing ones are either Christian or neoliberal. Yes, a new religion would be helpful so we can establish this re-enchantment of the world, but the new religion we are unfortunately getting is the neoliberal/SJW world order combined with bioleninist themes and the undefeatable, ever-expanding power of Capital. That isn't enough though, the problem will remain that if we don't somehow break the cycle of increasing the number of animals we interact with on a daily basis and decrease the number of machines we interact with, and do the same for the number of corporate jingles we know versus how many bird songs we know. The re-enchantment of nature won't be fully established if we don't, because it will still just be a backdrop to our lives.
I have been curious to see just how legitimate the 'pseudo-spirituality' strains of thought are lately. In my practice of things like chakra alignment, meditation, breathing exercises, vegetarian/vegan diets for good karma, cold showers and stoicism, the re-belief in urban legends and myth and researching motivation styles based on personality types, I have found there to be some legitimate cause for practice. It's very possible that the reason why these things and more (yoga, crystals, horoscopes and astrology, palm readings, chanting and controlling sexual energy through the ideas expressed in the eastern tradition of ch'i and semen retention) are only so poorly received is because of the messengers who present these ideas to the wider society; hippies and the likes. But slowly these ideas are going mainstream and are being given serious examination. What was once thought to be 'pseudo-spirituality' may grow into something more authentic, and could be used to help battle the mental illness crisis we face. A meeting of eastern versus western traditions is taking place and it's interesting to observe and examine.
Now, what does this all have to do with Santa Clause? I previously mentioned the revival of urban legends and myths, but as Christmas is fast approaching at the time of writing this, I have been noticing dissident right-wingers, although I oppose most of their views now, and nationalists lay siege to the claims that Santa is a hoax. Of course, we all grow up and find that it is our parents that were buying us these gifts, but there is an exchange going on in the background that few are aware of. Upon maturation, there is an expectation that you 'grow up' and embrace the values of the zeitgeist, which have been a slow march towards atheism and materialism for the past century.
Santa signifies a wholesome, Bodhisattva archetype in the world, but not of the world. A Bodhisattva is someone who has the potential to reach enlightenment but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings. He is motivated by his infinite compassion for all sentient beings, leaves his exalted Hyperborean realm and benefits the souls of man through rewards and chastisement. We thank Santa yearly on Christmas Day and are rewarded for our good behaviour and abstinence from sin. This compassionate nature of Santa's doesn't stop him from being used for propaganda by the very same people driving the disenchantment of the world even further, though. Santa denial, although a meme, also has the potential to become a strong force for shunning the atheistic tendencies of society and the trampling on our myths and cherished fables.
People say that Santa doesn't exist, but he does. People dress up as him, there are Santa decorations and ornaments, we have stories and songs about him, there is a day celebrated by children over the gifts he gives us, but the real question is: in what manner does Santa exist? Unlike dry water or a square circle, which don't and can't exist, there are other things that aren't at the level of a rock or a pencil, which you can hold in your hand. Some things can exist at different levels of being and don't have what we can call 'contained bodies'. Things like fear or love both exist, no one will deny that, but you can't hold them or contain them. Santa exists in a much more immediate manner than those, because we know for sure what he looks like and what his purpose is. But, it isn't always obvious how we can contain a being. You, the reader, have many things which are parts of you, and your being holds all those parts together and contains you: your eyes, arms, chest, fingers etc., but we can also take and add things to you which contribute to your being: tattoos, piercings, amputations, pictures of you - they all signify your being and participates in your person. There is just something that brings all those part together. The same can be said about Santa. He has elements of his person which can manifest his being, but his being is a lot bigger than your body: his outfit, songs about him, stories and imagery of him in public or in movies, manifestations of him and his purpose etc. These are all extensions of him, just as a picture of you does the same thing. When a person sees a picture of you online or in a photo album, that is them coming in contact with you, either directly or indirectly. When someone dresses up as Santa, that person is manifesting Santa and you are coming in indirect contact with him and his parts at that moment. Because Santa has multiple parts and elements, when a kid sits on Santa's lap and says what they want for Christmas, they are talking to Santa and Santa is answering; it's not Joe under the costume talking. If Santa talks about something else, something unrelated in his personal life, it is then Joe talking instead. When a kid writes a letter to Santa, it's not Sally in the post office answering, it's Santa manifesting in the world through Sally. The same can be said with how if you answer a question, you can say it's not you that's answering but your mouth and brain, but you have parts that make you your own person, so it is actually you answering the question. If you're not crazy or schizophrenic, the parts of you will all act in unison and give an answer which is true of you and you will receive a reply. This can be applied to all other spiritual beings like the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny as well.
A recent conversation with a mate has also helped me to put into words my thoughts surrounding how our western rites of passage have been subverted and are either used in the service of hedonistic or titillating practices or desires, or they are completely forgotten altogether. As we grow up, we tend to forget or distance ourselves from our culture instead of doubling down on it. A common excuse to normalise such behaviour is "I think he's old enough now". That sentence says it all. As you mature it seems that that hidden exchange I previously mentioned comes to fruition, where you are let in on the secret that the principles which were so tightly put forward to you as a kid were actually just empty formality not to be taken seriously in maturity. Look how normal it is now to stay up late to watch TV as a kid, consume more explicit content (music and movies etc) as you get older, lie to receive desired outcomes, the overconsumption of alcohol because of legal drinking ages, age of consent laws playing their part in this 'marker of maturity' process, as it then allows in the thoughts of casual sex, the popularity of tattoos which act as a symbol of defacement to the pure body, the rejection of family commitments and solidarity; all are acts of rebellion because the rites of passage were forgotten or viewed as unimportant. We have too many markers for when we are now old enough or mature to do decadent things and not double down on what is right, because the connection between innocence and decadence finds a switch via our superficial markers of maturity. Upon maturation, other cultures commit further to their tribe in various ways, but we isolate in age and encourage scepticism about our broader culture, which is a marker of maturity laid upon and expected of you.
Accepting this entropic degeneration as a standard of morality and maturity as normal and good is now our rite of passage, where at a certain age it is imbibed to help us face the adult world of morality head-on, which is radically different to the world we were taught to follow as kids. Other cultures and their rites of passage oppose the western world because they take on more responsibility and not less from their in-group's norms and rules, which I think should be a goal for us to achieve and emulate in our context, so we have a deeper commitment to our way of being and that which is upright and true, as the others do. Finding out later in life that your cherished fables were lies instead of doubling down (belief in Santa as opposed to Santa denial) is a damaging process for a culture to go through. My mate shared with me how serious cultural life has about a 6-10 year life span after you're let in on 'the secret' and that everything is lame and false. But we must affirm that these myths are not false. Soon after, life begins to present itself as a universal grab at attaining power and pleasure. To admit it was all an empty lie allows for the beginning of the cycle of the death of myth, the rejection of spiritual or religious principles, the decline of morality and the stigmatisation of wholesome practices. Fundamentally, this 'everything is a lie' process is a vacuous attempt to imitate genuine spiritual joy, done via the entropic degeneration that follows. Maturity now for a westerner is the dropping of standards, distancing yourself from your culture and family and the entrenching of alienation from the group and embracing individualism. I believe it shouldn't matter if it was all true or not, because myth is a powerful way to guide people towards greatness and give hope (the story of Pheidippides for example). When the 'no hope world' takes root then expect tragedies, and don't be surprised when they occur.
When all this happens, unremarkable people are turned into false idols instead of our established myths and traditions. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an excellent example of this. Our alien culture somehow became mixed with a kind of Reddit scientism and material decadence, which turned this false idol into a pop culture icon. She then became an item to consume and purchase. The instinct to turn against previous cultural rules, norms, markers and expectations came before our new Hollywood alien culture was an option, but it fitted the mould perfectly because it's a sign of where things were going; you need to first weaken a culture before you can replace it. Subtly underneath everything is an admittance of a false reality, and that the right way to live is in the universal pleasure culture. An example of this was the TV becoming the centrepiece in the family room, which, although Greatest Generation parents didn't know it would become such an issue, it was allowed and then passed on to my generation, all in the act of increasing time preferences to procure your desires; faster equalled more mature. Maturity feels like being a degenerate and watching and doing sinful/immoral things, but still, it is us consuming their products. X thing is bad, so don't do it, but go ahead and do it when you're old enough because you can then handle the stimulation. The mental product of what maturity is and the physical product has drastically changed for the worst.
Of course, we say this but many of us spend so much time on our computer as well, but these things can have proper integration if done with discipline and authority, in service of the culture, race or spirit of a people. Consuming media or TV is a mainly passive act, we know this, and is often associated with degeneracy, but if we harness that consumptive power through a culturally committed media it wouldn't all be bad. Further, this practice is often spent in opposition to a commitment to your culture and future, but the tools aren't a priori evil. Our collective lifestyle may stay the same (slobbishness and isolation) and that has to change, but the battle for the mind is an easier first step. Sitting in isolation in front of a screen is unavoidably connected to alienation no matter the context because it is usually a solitary thing. The onus is now on men to stop this, the degradation of culture and myth and make it all an active, communal act.
Merry Christmas and happy new year!