Santa Claus exists. And tooth fairies. And mermaids. Oh, and so do you…

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Small children believe in Santa Claus. They are thrilled when the presents arrive and even try to find proof that he exists by placing cookies for the saint to eat along with a glass of milk…

But we are grown ups. We know that he doesn’t exist.

And we all struggle and question ourselves. Should we let them be? Should we perpetuate the lie or should we inform our children that he is just a fantasy, along with fairies and unicorns?

Such a wrong dilemma.

Rational people tied up into the chains that they created.

Could we be more wrong?

I am not going to get into the ‘Saint Nicolas was a real person’ line of thinking. Indeed Saint Nicolas was a real person and he indeed gave gifts to the poor. One could simply argue (and he would not be far away from the truth) that it is the spirit of Saint Nicolas – a very real person that did exist – that still endures and makes all those presents be. Every parent follows his example when dressing up like Santa Claus (a name Saint Nicolas came be known by because of his Dutch nickname, Sintar Klaas – see here).

I could also go into more extreme arguments, like the quantum superposition argument. One can read here an interesting article on how Santa Claus exists and is in fact a macroscopic quantum phenomenon, with its wavefunction collapsing when into ‘dad’ when Santa Claus is observed. It is quite amusing to see how our definition of reality and the limited knowledge we have about it can give birth to multiple ideas that question the most common of our beliefs. Do not take this article as an amusement article only. Our knowledge for reality IS limited. Our senses and NOT reliable. We know NOTHING about being or existence per se. As Oscar Wilde once said, the most serious things are said in jokes…

But there is a more fundamental line of thinking that can explain and justify the existence of Santa Claus. As Harmonia Philosophica has tried to explain for years and years, asking the simple questions is the way of true philosophers. And as many of you know, philosophers have been trying to find out answer to the most fundamental questions of humankind but with no success. Many might believe that this means they have failed. But that would be incorrect. For the purpose of true philosophers is not to lead to the truth, but to make it clear that we can know nothing about it. Because such thing as the ‘truth’ does not exist. (Non-thinking is the way towards the cosmos, try to read more in Harmonia Philosophica about it).

So let us re-examine our question.

“Does Santa Claus exist?”

Aristotle once said that any question contains its answer. So true. “Does Santa Claus exist?”. A phenomenally simple and innocent question that is loaded with so many beliefs and so much dogmatism. A question saying so many things about the people who ask it. It implies that we know about existence. It implies that we know who and what exists and what does not. It implies that non-existence is also… existent. Last but certainly not least, by asking about the existence of Santa Claus we clearly imply that he might not. We wouldn’t be asking for the existence of our self for example, would we?

“Does Santa exist?”

Let me ask another thing though.

What about you?

Do YOU exist?

Foolish question it seems. But not so foolish after careful consideration. How do I know you are there? Perhaps because of some undeniable proof? Should I take your word for it? Why should I believe you are a human and not a perfectly programmed robot? How could I know you are saying because of your own free will and not because your cells are programmed to do so? Could you convince me your are not a zombie? (The Zombie argument is a cool argument by the way for the existence or non-existence of consciousness)

Mermaids exist. They just hide beneath rocks when we look for them…

~ unknown kid

What is more, what IS existence? What does it mean to exist? Philosophers for thousands of years have not solved that problem so how could you even consider saying that you exist? What IS Being? The greatest philosophers of all times failed to give an answer. So how could you be so arrogant to claim that you “are” and others not? What IS reality? Who can claim that he or she has access to that magical thing called ‘reality’ without discarding thousands of years of philosophy trying and failing to find out what that thing is? Even for the phenomena we observe, the surface of the ocean we swim in, our senses and science can only explain a minor fraction of that world we capture with our senses; let alone things that lie beyond them. So what makes you so arrogant as to ask such a dramatic question?

The only argument you have for your existence is your feeling and knowledge that you do. Feelings and knowledge that you cannot transmit to others no matter how hard you try.

Guess what.

Santa Claus exists for children for exactly the same reasons!

This is not a shallow trick-argument to solve the problem. No. As already mentioned above, our total lack of knowledge regarding what existence and being are is totally true. Our total inability to know what ‘reality’ is also is something totally true. What we really KNOW are the things we have immediate experience of. Our existence. Our thoughts. Our consciousness. A peach we eat. A lonely summer night. The love of our parents that are here. Santa Claus bringing gifts which we sleep…

Something magical.

And because of that, truer that anything can ever be.

You see, magic in life is something we forgot. And yet, it still drives our destiny.

Love is magical. Our own life is magical. Santa is magical.

But we got carried away. And again we forgot the simple question we started with. “What about you?” we asked. Tell me my child, do you exist? How do you know? More importantly. How do I know? All my science, all my knowledge, all my philosophy cry out loud that I could never be certain for the existence of anyone else than me. And yet, I am certain for your existence. More than I am certain about my own!

You see…

It is not Santa Claus that is magic.

It was never a question of whether he existed.

It is all about you my child.

It was about you from the beginning.

You are magical!

Believing in good in a place full of evil. Loving and caring without expecting anything in return.

You DO exist!

Now go get your presents.

Santa was here while you were asleep…

Καλή Ανάσταση! (On the irrationality of the modern belief in death)

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Happy Easter! (“Καλή Ανάσταση” in Greek literally means ‘Happy Resurrection’)

And let not the irrationality of the miracle of resurrection hinder you from believing.

The most important things in life we anyway do not understand.

Our self.

Being.

The cosmos itself.

And yet we are defined by them. And we live by them.

Yes, the resurrection is irrational.

And that is why it is true. (refer to “Resurrection – Illogical, thus True.“)

Because knowing is not about understanding, as Shestov said.

You think you need to believe in order to accept the resurrection.

But it is the other way around…

You already believe so many things and that is why you accept death.

Think again.

Time. Existence. Matter. Identity. Me. You. The notion of change itself.

Who told you these exist?

Do not ask whether Christ was risen.

But instead.

Could you ever die?

PS. Refer to the “What does it take to believe in Death” series of articles at the Blogger Harmonia Philosophica portal for more extensive coverage of the ideas that support our belief in Death. I was much younger when I wrote it and did not wrote so eloquently as now (at least not as much as I believe I do anyway), but my ideas were far more clear and raw. Thus, I still like them. Hope you like them too.

Placebo.

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Give people a sugar pill, they have shown, and those patients – especially if they have one of the chronic, stress-related conditions that register the strongest placebo effects and if the treatment is delivered by someone in whom they have confidence – will improve. Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air – even if room air is all that’s in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t.

You don’t even have to deceive the patients. You can hand a patient with irritable bowel syndrome a sugar pill, identify it as such and tell her that sugar pills are known to be effective when used as placebos, and she will get better, especially if you take the time to deliver that message with warmth and close attention. Depression, back pain, chemotherapy-related malaise, migraine, post-traumatic stress disorder: The list of conditions that respond to placebos – as well as they do to drugs, with some patients – is long and growing. (1)

Fool yourself that you will live.

And you will.

Fool yourself that you will gain knowledge.

And you will.

Fool yourself that you die.

And you will.

But tell me. Why did you need to fool yourself in the first place?

Yes, at the end you will be healed.

But no one can ever be healed.

Unless he wasn’t sick in the first place…

At the end, even the healed ones will die.

While Nature is laughing at their anguish.

Look at yourself in awe.

Can you laugh while crying?

Believing in the brain…

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Humans constantly experience an ever-changing stream of subjective feelings that is only interrupted during sleep and deep unconsciousness. Finnish researches show how the subjective feelings map into five major categories: positive emotions, negative emotions, cognitive functions, somatic states, and illnesses. All these feelings were imbued with strong bodily sensations. (1)

In both ADHD and emotional instability disorders (e.g. borderline and antisocial personality disorder as well as conduct disorder in children), the brain exhibits similar changes in overlapping areas, meaning that the two types of conditions should be seen as related and attention should be paid to both during diagnosis. This according to researchers at Karolinska Institutet behind a new study published in Molecular Psychiatry. The results can lead to a broader treatment for both conditions. (2)

We believe in the brain. And we have become slaves of it.

We used to be sons of God. And for that we were free.

So free to forget Him. And enslave ourselves to nothingness.

Still, we can go back.

Only if we stop believing in the power of non-believing.

And we start believing again…

Moon landing. Jesus resurrection. Stories told. Stories forgotten.

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We recently celebrated the 50 years anniversary of the moon landing. And yet, we saw many headlines of people speaking in favor of a conspiracy theory which wants the moon landing to be a hoax. I will not stand in the details of this funny conspiracy theory. What I will try to do is show how truth can easily be turned into a lie with only one key ingredient added to the recipe: time.

You see we went to the moon not so long ago, but the new generation is already questioning this. It could be for fun, it it could be due to stupidity, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that a story which was held true from one generation is now considered by make as false. An event which was considered the most important event man ever experienced, is now ridiculed by people who see obvious flaws in the story.

But many people went to the moon! one might argue.

Well, many people were resurrected as well.

But resurrection is a miracle, it defies natural laws! one might say.

So does s journey to the moon, for scientists who lived well before Armstrong. (remember that many years ago scientists didn’t even believe we could fly and after that they didn’t believe we could surpass the speed of sound limit)

But we will go again to the moon! one might say.

Sure we will. And many people will resurrect again! (or are they already? Check for NDE-related articles in Harmonia Philosophica)

But many people can testify that the moon landings happen! Well, I have a much better one: Many people DIED because the resurrection happened!

All in all, time along with the arrogance (we know better) and ignorance of newer generations, will always result in the manifestation of one of the major (brain) functions of the human intellect: forgetfulness. Nothing mysterious or fancy. No conspiracies or high-end philosophy. Just plain and raw dementia.

It takes courage to accept your limits. And recognize that what you might not remember could be something you once knew. Because in order to do that you must challenge your own self. Only because deep inside you can never doubt him…