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January 01, 2006


New Year's 2006: Any Resolutions?

First, just have a look at the many lists of New Year's resolutions, promises to make new beginnings, that are being made by others from all around the world:

Technorati Lists of 2006 Resolutions:

My Own Resolutions:

Let me think awhile...okay, here are my ideas about New Year's resolutions:

Winter celebrations have existed throughout recorded history. In more ancient times, people attributed the success of their crops to the existence of the sun. They feared that because of their misdeeds, the sun would not reappear. Therefore, their crops would not again grow and they would starve. To assure themselves of a returning sun and a replenishment of food supplies, they felt the necessity of atoning for their sins and pleading for divine forgiveness. This may serve, in part, as a mythical determinant for the widespread need to make New Year's resolutions, self-promises to make amends by changing our ways.

Christmas itself stemmed originally from festivals onto which Christian coloring was grafted. In more recent times, man has mastered the preservation of his crops and learned enough about the movements of celestial bodies that worries concerning the reappearance of the sun are known to be completely irrational. Nevertheless, infantile anxieties about starvation have not lessened. Apparently, the celebration of Christmas as primarily a holiday for children is an acceptable medium through which adults can express those fears, while at the same time attempting to deny their existence. They are able to give children gifts (food), and through identification with children, feel that they themselves are fed by a beneficent other. Perhaps this explains why it has been possible, to a varying extent, for Santa Claus to displace God as the figure to be worshiped.

Yet Christmas anxieties continue. Popular literature not infrequently portrays the hostilities that exist during that time. For example, anger often revolves around the theme of who will get the most and whether monetary sacrifices can be tolerated without harm to the givers. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" is an admonition that is necessary only because in reality man's impulses to receive rather than to give are foremost.

The holiday period extending from before Christmas until after New Year's Eve is a continuous span of culturally accepted emotional release. For varying periods of time in individual households, pre-Christmas preparations go on. At Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the family reunion and the revived conflicts surrounding favoritism and receiving and giving are at their height. After a respite of a few days, the New Year's celebration, with its socially condoned licentiousness, arrives. On New Year's Eve, psychic conflicts are frequently aroused, especially having to do with the release or potential release of otherwise disparaged impulses of all kinds, as well as collusion in an covert act of hostility (symbolically, the murder of Father Time). Thus, there is a proliferation of New Year's resolutions, often unkept, as a superficial, even humorous gesture, as an apologia for our behaviors. It is a time of transitory promises to make new beginnings.

Therefore, my own New Year's resolution is that I have no resolutions to make this year!

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