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Ser Scot A Ellison

Imagination and Society

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On 12/28/2018 at 11:50 AM, larrytheimp said:

My issue with the Santa example is that you're kind of implying that without Santa, the rest if this would fall apart.  Which is weird because I can think of a bunch of other examples of using your imagination that don't shame people into being good little consumers, make poor kids feel like shit, or get people to buy a bunch of stupid sweat-shop made trash that will end up in a landfill or wrapped around a dolphin's head.  

It's not the fantastic element of Santa that chaffes, it's all the bullshit behavior that's associated with the meaning behind the myth.

I'll go one step further. People who have an issue with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and all other ancient (read: pagan) traditions should also teach their children that Christmas is in no way a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. Christ himself is probably mythical and derived from a long line of rising and dying nature gods, which themselves are astronomical in nature. Christmas celebrates the winter solstice, when the sun stops its southward advancement and begins its nothward march to the summer solstice. (Incidentally, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, which is perhelion in the old calendar...the 12 days of Christmas, the magi, etc.) Easter celebrates the equinox, and the Easter bunny, Easter eggs and all the trappings are pagan. Halloween is an ancient festival midway between the autumnal equinox and the solstice. Groundhog Day is also an ancient tradition that falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Period, full stop. 

Santa Claus isn't the problem, but by all means let's at least be consistent. It never ceases to amaze me that Christians have no idea of the history of their own faith.

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1 hour ago, Ice Queen said:

I'll go one step further. People who have an issue with Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and all other ancient (read: pagan) traditions should also teach their children that Christmas is in no way a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. Christ himself is probably mythical and derived from a long line of rising and dying nature gods, which themselves are astronomical in nature. Christmas celebrates the winter solstice, when the sun stops its southward advancement and begins its nothward march to the summer solstice. (Incidentally, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, which is perhelion in the old calendar...the 12 days of Christmas, the magi, etc.) Easter celebrates the equinox, and the Easter bunny, Easter eggs and all the trappings are pagan. Halloween is an ancient festival midway between the autumnal equinox and the solstice. Groundhog Day is also an ancient tradition that falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Period, full stop. 

Santa Claus isn't the problem, but by all means let's at least be consistent. It never ceases to amaze me that Christians have no idea of the history of their own faith.

I’m well aware of how saints replaced pagan gods in many Festival days.  Thanks.

:)

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5 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

I'm not convinced this is true.

Quite the opposite actually in my book. I often hear people say various forms of “How can you have morals if you’re not religious?” It always makes me shake my head.

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3 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

Christ himself is probably mythical and derived from a long line of rising and dying nature gods, which themselves are astronomical in nature.

The historical Jesus is pretty well researched, and almost everyone agrees he existed.  Unfortunately, the only things that can be verified is he was baptized by John the Baptist and crucified on orders of Pontius Pilate.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I’m well aware of how saints replaced pagan gods in many Festival days.  Thanks.

:)

Then you agree that teaching kids that some guy died for our sins on a cross and was miraculously resurrected is infinitely more harmful, and a far more egregious lie, than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. 

The point being that if you want to turn them into serious little adults without the psychologically beneficial aspects of childlike wonderment and imagination, you should go all the way and not let them believe in any mythology whatsoever.

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53 minutes ago, DMC said:

The historical Jesus is pretty well researched, and almost everyone agrees he existed.  Unfortunately, the only things that can be verified is he was baptized by John the Baptist and crucified on orders of Pontius Pilate.

I can go along with that. I think that when Pilate asked him if he was King of the Jews, he wasn't kidding. IMO Christ, if he really existed, was a troublemaker who rebelled against the Romans. 

So why in the world would we celebrate that? :)

 

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9 minutes ago, Ice Queen said:

Then you agree that teaching kids that some guy died for our sins on a cross and was miraculously resurrected is infinitely more harmful, and a far more egregious lie, than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. 

The point being that if you want to turn them into serious little adults without the psychologically beneficial aspects of childlike wonderment and imagination, you should go all the way and not let them believe in any mythology whatsoever.

No.  But my kids will make their own call about belief when they’re ready.  

To illustrate when my daughter was seven we were in the car on our way to church one Sunday moring.  My daughter, without prompting, asked “Daddy, is the Bible true?”

I responded, “Darling, that is a great question and one you will have to answer for yourself.”

Just because children are raised in a church it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will agree with their parents beliefs as they get older.

As for “why celebrate Christmas”?  No one is making you.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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32 minutes ago, Ice Queen said:

So why in the world would we celebrate that? :)

Well, a Jewish Marxist who kicked out evil capitalists from the temple? You gotta admit, there's a certain appeal to that. And he gave out free medicare and food on top of that. That was of course, before he was crucified for challenging HRC in the primaries and hurting her chances in the GE.

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1 hour ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Well, a Jewish Marxist who kicked out evil capitalists from the temple? You gotta admit, there's a certain appeal to that. And he gave out free medicare and food on top of that. That was of course, before he was crucified for challenging HRC in the primaries and hurting her chances in the GE.

LOL.  Yeah the story of Jesus is pretty badass.  Almost like it's the greatest story ever told.

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9 minutes ago, DMC said:

LOL.  Yeah the story of Jesus is pretty badass.  Almost like it's the greatest story ever told.

So is it fair to call Jesus a zombie warlock hipster Jew who was one of the OG rappers? 

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2 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

So is it fair to call Jesus a zombie warlock hipster Jew who was one of the OG rappers? 

With the hottest 8-pack ever.

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11 minutes ago, DMC said:

With the hottest 8-pack ever.

Abbbbbs :drool:

 

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19 hours ago, Starkess said:

There's a difference between abstract concepts and false ones.

This is true, but for quite a few concepts the difference is subtle and for some it's not clear which category they fall into. The idea of Santa Claus differs from, for example, the idea of money, not in that one is more true than the other, but in that the divergence of the Santa Claus story from reality is much easier to understand. That is, with Santa Claus and his slightly less anthropomorphic counterparts from other cultures (e.g. Grandfather Frost), children and adults pretend that there is some external entity that gives children holiday presents. I suspect most children figure it out long before they let on (my cohort certainly did) and play along simply because it doesn't matter how the presents materialize as long as they're there. The concept, the point where something is being imagined and the situations where it can break down are all really simple and easy to understand.

On the other hand, money is an immensely complicated concept: to fully pin it down today requires an understanding of the global economy as a whole so we usually simplify. For most people, it boils down to a medium of exchange: this much corresponds to the value of a loaf of bread, that much to a full tank of gas and so on. For a smaller set, it is, as @OldGimletEye pointed out above, also a safe, liquid means of storing value. The point where something is being imagined is easy to see in both cases: neither metal coins nor paper notes nor electronic numbers are physically useful for anything; all of their utility comes from everyone agreeing that all of them mean the same thing and how they can be used. The main difference with the Santa Claus story is that the situations where it fully or partially breaks down are rare and unpredictable. We know that it can revert to something very nearly worthless because we've seen it in economies with hyperinflation. We also know that its value can fluctuate both up and down depending on all sorts of factors (as I said, to fully understand it requires understanding the global economy).

Another example (also mentioned in the posts above) is the idea of the state as the monopoly on violence that coerces the population into following along with many imaginary concepts. This one has more physical reality behind it as the state (so long as it exists, anyway) does have a monopoly on heavy weapons and war machinery, but it's still mostly imaginary because if a non-trivial fraction of the population (10-20% is usually enough) decides that they're not going to play along anymore, this monopoly is usually irrelevant. If you consider, for example, the Soviet Union, its physical monopoly on violence was closer to the theoretical ideal than, say, the US, but that didn't save it when enough people decided that they've had enough.

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Santa Claus is just as real as numbers are. Let's not even get into imaginary numbers. 

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Imaginary numbers are just as real as real numbers and just as natural as natural numbers. Historical nomenclature for abstract algebraic semirings, rings and fields is silly. They're all abstract conccepts and, as such, imaginary - but still immensely useful.

#mathematiciansPetPeeve

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47 minutes ago, The guy from the Vale said:

Imaginary numbers are just as real as real numbers and just as natural as natural numbers. Historical nomenclature for abstract algebraic semirings, rings and fields is silly. They're all abstract conccepts and, as such, imaginary - but still immensely useful.

#mathematiciansPetPeeve

Why are they call “imaginary numbers”?

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Historical reasons. Essentially, because the complex numbers can't be ordered by size (which is a property of all the earlier number systems: natural numbers, integers, rational numbers and real (algebraic) numbers; modern notions of real numbers postdate the introduction of complex algebraic numbers), the direction orthogonal to the real line was called imaginary. In particular because complex numbers were introduced as a method of finding roots to algebraic equations (mainly, Cardano's formula), but at the time, people were only interested in finding real-valued solutions, not complex-valued ones. So these "imaginary" numbers were a way to find the real-valued solutions to the equations in question, but they were not considered to correspond to anything in reality. However, this turns out to be wrong in various ways. On the more mathematical side, the complex numbers are in some way the right context to study algebraic equations, not the real numbers (a result called the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra). On the more physical side, complex numbers are invaluable in studying the behaviour of waves and currents - from mechanical wave theory through optics and electromagnetics up to modern quantum physics, they all are easier to understand using complex numbers than just the reals.

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4 minutes ago, The guy from the Vale said:

Historical reasons. Essentially, because the complex numbers can't be ordered by size (which is a property of all the earlier number systems: natural numbers, integers, rational numbers and real (algebraic) numbers; modern notions of real numbers postdate the introduction of complex algebraic numbers), the direction orthogonal to the real line was called imaginary. In particular because complex numbers were introduced as a method of finding roots to algebraic equations (mainly, Cardano's formula), but at the time, people were only interested in finding real-valued solutions, not complex-valued ones. So these "imaginary" numbers were a way to find the real-valued solutions to the equations in question, but they were not considered to correspond to anything in reality. However, this turns out to be wrong in various ways. On the more mathematical side, the complex numbers are in some way the right context to study algebraic equations, not the real numbers (a result called the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra). On the more physical side, complex numbers are invaluable in studying the behaviour of waves and currents - from mechanical wave theory through optics and electromagnetics up to modern quantum physics, they all are easier to understand using complex numbers than just the reals.

Thank you.  :)

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Posted (edited)

@lacuna , that's because Scot created this thread when Guy Kilmore quoted Death's conversation with his daughter here.

Edited by Lykos
mispelled a boarders name

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