Originally Posted by MollyGoat
No offense, zoe, but your post seems like sophistry to me.
Ok, so you're saying that i'm making an ingenous argument in order to decieve people? That doesn't make much sense. Why would i want to decieve people? Why would i make an argument regarding the myth and legend of Santa as being important and how does that decieve people? how is it an 'ingenuous argument?"
Essentially, it seems like you're calling me a liar, but i can't figure out why.
Parents aren't presenting the wonderful legend of Santa as a cultural myth that kids happen to take literally, they are telling their children that a big fat man in a red suit comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve and leaves gifts for them.
Which parents? where? I think that this is a problem of the literalism, a response to modernism, and not an issue with my argument. If parents are teaching their kids about the literality of these things, then perhaps this is problematic.
But what if parents are simply telling stories, and children with their great imaginations and their naturally magical (pre-rational) thinking take it literally. Then, when they move into the rational phase, understand that it wasn't meant to be taken literally and then find another way to interpret and understand the same story that the parents are telling?
This applies to any story IMO. I remember meeting some asian, buddhist children many years ago who believed many things about the Lord Buddha that were obviously myth to me, obviously myth to the parents. Today, those children remember those things as myth. No one had to say "this is a myth" in the beginning--because it's functioning on different levels for different people and in different ways. That's how it's supposed to function--just as a parable is supposed to function that way, as is a fairy tale.
it's not a lie to say "here's the story of santa" or "here's the story of st lucia" or "here's the story of Jesus." it is simply a story. If one person takes it literally, and then later decides to take it figuratively--then that's normal, because that's the way that myth functions.
I do not see how this is a 'deceptive" argument.
That is a lie, no matter how you spin it, or whether or not you believe it's right. There's a big difference in believing in Santa as a spirit of giving and a beautiful legend and believing in him as a flesh-and-blood man.
If a parent teaches the literality--often because they believe it themselves (like creationism and jesus walking on water as someone stated)--then this is not a lie in their minds, nor is it created or presented as a lie that they'll later turn around on. They may, later, understand these as concepts, as myths, and then they can transition with their children (or whomever else) into these new ideas about the stories together. And some never will.
I think that if a parent sets out to deliberately decieve, then sure, that's problematic. But, i don't think that a parent is necessarily setting out to decieve.
When Magnus teaches about "Treebeard"--a character in the Lord of the Rings--and brings him into the natural world as the caregiver of the forest, he's actually reflecting the "Green Man" or "Hermes" (in one incarnation) in a way that functions better for him (Treebeard) and he hopes for his son such that they both remember to treat the earth well and honor that which is natural and wild. It seems to me that Magnus isn't 'decieving' his son about Treebeard--as Treebeard does exist. But at the right time, the child will switch from "Magical Treebeard" to "Mythological Treebeard" and if that child is really lucky, it'll switch to "Treebeard Within" and then "Transcending Treebeard."
The problem isn't with the concept of santa or whether or not you simply tell a child a story and support where they are in their understanding and appreciation of that story, but whether or not the parents actually have a functional literacy about mythologies.
To me, a lot of the posts on here show a determined lack of understanding for the function and potency of myth at both the literal and later the figurative and then even later the transformative functions of these myths. For me, this is the real issue--and most of the posts in this post stream show a great misunderstanding of myth and perhaps the appropriate way to present them.
ETA: Kids love pretending. "Little House on the Prairie" was my favorite game a child even though I knew I wasn't really Laura Ingalls. I don't see why parents can't go all the rituals of Santa at Christmas as a fun pretend game with their children, rather than presenting it as factually true when it's not.
Santa isn't a pretend game. I agree that it is a ritual, but a ritual isn't a pretend game. A ritual is a process by which an individual accesses the divine or higher self awareness. Of course, this awareness transcends all ritual, but rituals aid us in developing self knowledge. We are, afterall, "three dimentional" beings (body, soul/mind, spirit).
Using the santa myth and the accompanying gift-giving rituals, children and adults alike engage in a process of self reflection that occurs without effort because the ritual itself holds the focus.
It seems sad that people can't tell the difference between a fact and a truth, a deception and a functional mythos structure (which includes a time of literalism), and the function of rituals for self knowledge.
No offense, but your statements are false. Sure, if you knowingly decieve, that's a lie. But, if you are simply sharing a story and allowing the process of literalism to take root, to function for the child during that particual spiritual and mental developmental process, and then ushering and supporting the questioning and deeper understanding of the myth--all the way to the transcendent element--this is not deception, but an education in engaging the divine self through multiple modalities.
Sophistry my ass.