When we’re little, fairy tales are used to teach us important lessons. A book of fairy tales is full of fanciful characters and large illustrations to keep the young mind entertained and interested in learning. These storiesΒ serve a good and noble purpose.

When we’re young, our parents teach us about the myth of Santa Claus. We believe in him until we’re mature enough to know that his story can’t be true. An old, fat man in a red suit, visiting every house in the world within one night’s time? Riding a sleigh powered by flying reindeer? How old do you have to be to comprehend that Santa Claus’s story defies the laws of physics?

Sure, a very long time ago, there could have lived a man who gave children presents every year, basically creating the myth of Santa Claus that lives on today. But if this man existed, he didn’t fly around in the sky and squeeze through every child’s chimney.

I understand traditions, but I have to wonder about Santa Claus. Why would it be better for parents to make up a story of a red-suited stranger invading their home and leaving presents for their children, than to be honest and just say the gifts were from them? Why give some made-up dude all the credit? For the entertainment of the children? What are we teaching children when we lie to them and make up stories? And then the kids forgive us for lying because they get presents.

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When I was young, I remember reading a book of bible stories written for pre-teens. It had large illustrations, large print, and was full of interesting stories. But I never believed any of the stories because they were just like fairy tales. Just like the story of Santa Claus.

Why do we pretend? To expand our imaginations. But pretending is one thing, and believing is another.

Do you think Mrs. Claus might have been bisexual?

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26 thoughts on “Why do we pretend?

  1. Loved the little quip at the end about Mrs. Claus’ sexual orientation! LOL! πŸ˜› Heck, why not??

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we pretend to expand our imaginations. Believing, though, is another thing altogether. I think it is important to realize that myths and stories are often full of symbolism and rich with symbolic meaning. This is equally true of religious texts, like the bible, as of mythological texts. Believing in the literal truths of these stories seems a little simple-minded to me. But exploring the depth of its symbolic meaning and then soul-searching on how much of the symbolism holds true meaning for you is probably more important.

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      • The most obvious motif that stands out to me in that story is that of new beginnings, wiping out the old and the start of something new and different. And this is a common recurring motif in many other world texts and myths as well. But going with the most obvious motif is kind of missing the point, because a good myth has many more layers of subtle meaning than just that. It also carries some deep emotional subtext that is not always easily conveyed literally, hence the need to put it in the guise of a story. The power of rich symbolism is that different people reading it can interpret it in different ways, and it can hold different meaning for them. So what a myth teaches somebody, or what meaning it holds for them, is likely to be something very personal that they would have to tease out for themselves.

        Am I making any sense at all here…?

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        • Yes, ma’m. But I can’t find any meaning in that story, although a new beginning makes sense. Still, what a way to go about making a new beginning… a god that destroys everything only to save the ark… sounds pretty mean, vindictive, and vengeful to me. And judgmental. But I guess if you’re a god, you get to judge everything, including animals that can’t think for themselves. And I guess that’s what humans are to gods, or so the stories suggest.

          I was just thinking that if god was portrayed as a woman, I might be more inclined to believe that she created everything I see before me. But a man that creates instead of destroys? A little harder to believe. πŸ™‚

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      • I see where you are coming from. And you do have some very valid points. It is looking at the story in a literal sense, with god being the big guy in the sky. The way I have looked at these stories and their characters is more as Jungian archetypes almost. The whole idea of destruction and re-beginnings being more of a universal life force in general than an actual event that happened where one chauvinistic power-crazed male decided to go on a rampage.

        For example, every new generation thinks there is something that they don’t like about the previous generation; so they decide to wipe out those morals and forge a new path. An extreme example of this might be when racism or homophobia started to become suddenly unacceptable in our society after generations of that being the norm. And then once that happened, the old belief systems were seriously looked down upon and practically destroyed. Another extreme example of destruction of old ideas before forging of new paths is when Einstein proposed the theory of relativity or quantum physics, which trampled on the the idea of classical physics being the end-all-be-all of the universe.

        It’s just all different ways of viewing the same myths – exactly the richness of symbolism that I like about such texts. Coming from a non-religious standpoint, I view these as literary texts of objective psychological interest, stories that hide the bigger truths of every day lives. πŸ™‚

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        • It would be nice if racism and homophobia were actually destroyed once and for all. Seems to me that both are alive and well and enjoying a nauseating resurgence. I suppose it takes generations to get rid of things like that, but how many?

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        • Of course, you are right. It would indeed be wonderful if they were 100% gone. And as to how long that would take . . . the answer must be blowing in the wind! For that is an excellent question.

          What I meant more was that our generation has still made great strides over such things compared to previous ones. At one time, it was customary to own slaves or the norm to be homophobic. But now it is at least considered unacceptable if one were to be openly racist. Same-sex is marriage is now legal in all 50 states. And frankly, the latter is something I didn’t think I would see in my lifetime! I think that was one of the biggest civil rights accomplishments of our generation, like integrated schools was in a couple of generations past. Naturally, this is not to say there is not more work to be done on both fronts (people ignoring the existence of aversive racism is indeed one of my own biggest pet peeves), but I hope you can still see the point I was trying to make with these examples regarding a metaphorical destruction of old ideas and worldview and setting up a new one. πŸ™‚

          I hope I did not offend you with this conversation in any way. At no point did I really disagree with anything you said. I agree with your point of view entirely. I was just trying to bring a completely different point of view to the table, the one of metaphors and symbols. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

    • Magic is a wonderful thing and almost always includes pretending, but does it also have to include lying? After all, one can find magic in a lot of things, like Mother Nature. πŸ™‚

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      • Good point =) And no….because I do try to give them the magic that’s already in the world, and the magic found through pretending. But sometimes bending the truth is …..well, mostly okay. Because, going back to your original point, as my kids got older Santa became the magic of the season.

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        • Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just an old lady in pain, spreading negativity wherever I go. πŸ™‚ I don’t want Santa to go anywhere, and no one has to worry because that would never happen. However, maybe we should talk about the Easter Bunny… πŸ™‚

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