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Post Civilization? The State of...
Created by Ronald Hilton on 01/05/99 2:24 AM

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Civilization? The State of... (Ronald Hilton, USA, 01/05/99 2:24 am)

The gross commercialization of the Christmas-New York season is erasing the signification of festivals like Christmas which call attention to the great mysteries of life. The Epiphany (January 6), forgotten in our society, is still celebrated in countries like Spain. Whereas Christmas celebrates birth, Epiphany stresses the unity of mankind in the face of the total life-span, the three gifts symbolizing birth, worldly achievements and death. Birth comes first, and it is the day of children. In Spain the Three Wise Men visit all the towns and villages. Alas! They are being jazzed up to look like the Rose Bowl Parade. King Juan Carlos made a sensitive speech about children's rights, and the children in orphanages and hospitals were remembered. However, the Santa Claus curse has infected the Wisdom of the day. Children are prodded to ask for toys. Worse still, the name El Nino has been degraded. In the world generally it now designates the storms which hit about Epiphany time, but in Spain it means the big lottery which comes on the heels of the even bigger Christmas one. In a public ceremony children selected the winning numbers, and TV featured scenes of joyous swilling by those who had won. This was the big news, not the Wise Men and the children. There was no mention of the millions who had lost and were dejected. Mexican TV was more honest. It showed the long lines of people lined up outside the National Pawn Shop on Mexico's main square, sadly pawning prize possessions because the festivities had left them broke.
     Our world has been through weeks of idiotic partying, shouting and senseless vandalism. That this is hollow is evident from a very long article in The Economist (19/12/98-1/1/99) entitled "Spirit of the Age. Malignant sadness is the world's great hidden burden." It says "As a cancer is a malignant growth, so depression is a malignant sadness." All the youthful shouting and partying is a sad defense mechanism which does not work.
     As I survey the world, my impression is that Austria is the country where these festivities best conserve their ancient meaning. The beautiful carol "Silent Night, Holy Night" was written in the Austrian village of Oberndorf in 1818. From thoughtful silence to senseless noise. Progress??? Austria, here it comes!!

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