Santa Claus

I thought I would postpone this thought until after Christmas lest it be thought too “Grinch”.

Santa Claus is a classic simulacrum. But it has unique characteristics:

one, it is agreed upon without conflict.

second, it has innocent true believers, some so-so believers, and some non-believers who keep the secret. They all live together in peace.

third, it is voluntarily relinquished after about a decade of belief.

For the very young and true believer, it is a full on simulacrum in that it is presumed to be an unquestionable reality. It is generally conceded that this sim is harmless if not in fact enhancing to the young. Generally, the older disbelievers despair a little when they lose the belief and see other tots begin to doubt its reality.

Those who relinquish the sim, regret its loss, and choose to protect the true believers in their innocence.

This is a classic and benign example of how simulacra should exist, how they can be held and then given up with gentleness and exit without harm. Our lost simulacra leave us sadder but wiser.

All simulacra should be so like Santa Claus.



5 thoughts on “Santa Claus

  1. Lovely piece. The gentle tending and letting go of a sweet myth. That the simulacra has a specific agreed-upon lifespan is the point, and that “mourning” its loss may prove its value. I find it an ideal model for all the myths/simulacra through which we pass.


    1. A thoughtful and kindly written response to a simple but pivotal piece on the role of simulacra in our lives. Why do we buy into them so relentlessly? Why do we give them up so unreadily? Why are we willing to die for them? Why aren’t they negotiable? Evolvable? Malleable? The world and we would all be so much better off. When a child lets go of Santa, reason and life fill the void adequately after the temporary disillusion. What makes an improvable simulacra so desperately important? What emptiness must lie beneath its existence. The depth of that emptiness must be in direct correlation to the desperation which the holder will go to maintain it. It’s the emptiness behind the simulacrum that must be explored. That is its footing.


  2. This post really is the central question. You’ve changed the discussion from the simulacra itself to its very existence. We could have discovered every simulacra, named it, identified its temporary importance, and yet, never get to this explosive question. In extreme, the Buddha would say that everything is simulacra. Even his own teachings must be regarded as such. Here, you ponder the reason WHY the simulacra is there in the first place. I will keep this short. The simulacra may be necessary, but also, temporary.


  3. Perhaps it is because in terms of the Santa Claus Simulacra it is being given up by more innocent humans, being a child. Maybe this goes back to the post on tolerance. Why do we become so less tolerant or in this case less willing to give up a belief gracefully that we once believed in as we get older?


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