Three days until Christmas really means only one more day to get all of my work done. This year we have Christmas eve and Christmas eve, eve services. Yikes! Short blog today? Probably not. ;)
Last night, someone found by blog with the search words ‘why do people choose chaos’. I doubt they found the answer to that question here, as I choose to embrace it, but now I’m pondering the question.
First, what is chaos? Let’s take a look at the definition. It is defined as ‘a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.’ Synonyms: disarray, jumble, turmoil. Antonyms: order, peace, calm. Or in other words, my writing style? Well…
So do people chose chaos, or is chaos a result of human actions? Is it something that we’re born into, and on some level, will always have to react with accordingly? I believe life itself contains chaos, and from what I see, an abundant quantity of it. I do believe we can choose our own level of participation though. Now I’m not talking about a person just choosing to be disorganized and live in a messy house, I’m talking about cultural chaos. The chaos that results from masses of people coexisting on this planet, the development of our interactions and the outcome of our participation in society.
Cultural chaos is not only having too many choices, but the expectation that we are to participate in all of them on some level. Since this is the 25 days of Christmas blog, let’s look at Christmas chaos. Before I do that, I want to share a conversation I had yesterday with a couple of coworkers.
This little guy was sitting on the desk, inside a plastic bag, smiling at me. Of course I took him out to play with him, and I also got him a car to ride. Zoom, zoom! Peppermint wheels! I’m glad Sonic still believes in peppermint wheels. (see Jody’s List from 2 days ago for the reference)
As a few us us were talking, someone said, “It’s the Wal-Mart symbol.” I immediately argued that Wal-Mart cannot own the smiley face, as it’s a representation of happiness in the 70′s. Can anyone copyright a smiley? One person in the room asked, “Somebody designed it, don’t they own the rights to it?”
The answer is yes. Harvey Ball designed it and owns rights to it, and as you would expect, Wal-mart and their high priced attorneys tried to claim ownership. In 2008 they lost… or did they?
If we see the smiley and consciously or subconsciously think of shopping and happy prices at Wallyworld, mission accomplished, right? It hurts me that this symbol of happiness makes people think about a money hungry retail giant. They might not legally own the smiley face, but make no mistake about it, they do own it.
Now, back to Christmas chaos, which by the way, is just a more specific form of cultural chaos. Why do you do all of the things you do at Christmas time? Because you want to? Because you feel you have to? Maybe because you’ve been doing it this way for so long, it’s a programmed holiday response? Is it a tradition? I recently heard about a child asking her mom what a tradition is. The mom answered, “It’s something that was started long ago, things we still do today, but we don’t like to do them.” So why? Christmas chaos is the fusion of many old customs and countless new practices. We try so desperately to hang on to something magical from the past and try fiercely to make it work in the present, all the while adding new things, creating a new framework of chaos every year.
Adbusters magazine, a radical, yet thought provoking publication, or as they call themselves, a journal of the mental environment, addressed the christmas chaos in one of their issues a few years ago. They encouraged people to not buy anything for Christmas and to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Here’s an image from the article…
The article encouraged people to do a ‘Jesus Walk’, cut out the Jesus face and walk around with it at shopping malls. They also asked people to photocopy the ‘Garbage Christ’ image and tape it up in any public location they could. Now, I realize this is radical, and being an activist would be considered reverse chaos. I also know some people might find this offensive, but is it anymore offensive than celebrating Christmas without Christ in it? That’s celebrating the ‘mas’, or mass.
Civilization creates icons of all sorts, placing in our subconscious, the type and location of where they want you to participate in their piece of the chaos. I don’t want people or large companies dictating what I do and why I do it. Yes, we have brains and we have to respond, but we don’t have to be clones of society. They create chaos that we can choose to be a part of or we can learn to coexist with in a healthy way.
Chaos is a really deep subject and I can only hope to scratch a tiny, barely noticable mark on the surface of it in it on a daily blog. You’ve heard the saying if you can’t beat them, join them? Chaos exisits, whether we like it or not. I don’t know if the person searching for the chaos answer was looking for this answer. In my mind, the answer? I think it’s ‘comfort zone’. We choose chaos because it’s what we know and it’s comfortable, even if we don’t like it. This Christmas, you can beat the chaos, join the chaos, make fun of the chaos or embrace the chaos. Get out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s just a little bit, baby steps are good. Try it. You can always return to the chaos, if you choose to do so.