It’s an interesting time of year to observe human behaviour. All the monotheistic religions are having or recently have had a major event in their calendar. That seems to put a perceivable buzz in the air that effects us all, regardless of whether we have a faith or not. It manifests in lots of ways, not all good. Stress, violence, suicide all go up at a time when we practice rituals designed for us to engage in positive things like Love and Compassion. Both reason and faith in a benevolent higher power has us wonder at the irony of these strange statistics.
Is there only so much love in this world to go around? Do some people experience the joy of the festive season at the expense of those who experience negative feelings?
Is it something to do with the ways we are executing our rituals? Has social evolution of rituals over thousands of years improved the system?
Is this part of some Darwinian evolution model where the way we act at a given time of year, strengthens those in society where its to our species advantage for them to survive and weakens those detrimental to our species?
What is it that we do at this time of year?
A lot of time is spent in and around the act of giving. Obviously when there is a lot of giving happening there is a whole bunch of receiving also happening. The process itself generates expectation, and leads to contemplation on fairness and justice.
Does this contemplation on fairness and justice cause our stress, violence and suicide rates to go up? Is anger and despair generated as a consequence of additional time to make a comparative analysis on our lot in society? Some of us count our good fortune and it just doesn’t stack up with our expectations?
Perhaps our ritual of giving needs to be reassessed? Maybe a small tweak to the system to de-emphasize cause and effect in the giving process would be in order?
A return to anonymous giving?