Enlightened Conflict

christmas gets smaller and bigger … and santa denial

December 24th, 2014

christmas loading sandglass


“I think as you grow older your Christmas list gets smaller and the things you really want for the holidays can’t be bought.”


(via hefuckin)






It’s scary how true this quote is.



Christmas sometimes seems simpler when thinking about the past.

But it most likely wasn’t. It is just when young your list was long … of things you wanted … and the list was … well … a clear cut black & white list.







Beyond the fact an ‘adult list’ is shorter … it sometimes seems like Christmas has descended into a trashy, crass, excessive, shallow <or hollow>, lighted plastic capitalistic driven spectacle.



christmas spinning treeFrom a broader perspective Christmas has become a ‘retail event’ from which people assess the economy <not happiness>.





From a purely economic perspective Christmas spending is an inefficient way to drive growth.


In 1993 an economist named Joel Waldfogel described what he called the “deadweight loss of Christmas” which is the concept of the fact that everybody pays too much for what nobody wants.





But when you get past all that crap … you see lots of the things you really want for the holidays which can’t be bought.



The raw, non corporate branded, humane, caring and kind things.



Let’s call them ‘the little big things.’



I reflect on this thought knowing that gifts have never mattered to me … even when I was really young.



But that doesn’t mean I ‘got’ Christmas.



I imagine, at my best, it was just an event where you were able to develop thoughtful lists which expressed something beyond simply ‘giving a gift.’ This elevated me above Scrooge status … but never really elevated me to an ‘understanding what Christmas was really all about’ status.








As usual.


I am a work in progress.



But I do see my list shrinking and I seem to get closer to one thing.



One idea.




christmas tree snoppy



I think many people may treat the event & time as a gift giving occasion or a time to gather or even a time to reflect … but I am beginning to think Christmas offers a glimmer of ‘what could be’ more than anything else. Sometimes it may simply be a small glimmer but it is …well … a glimmer.



A small piece of hope for the future.


A small spotlight on when hope appeared in the past year or so.



I tend to think as we get older our lists get smaller because we get closer to the one thing that really matters. This also means that the closer you get to that one thing the less important all the other things become.





I also began to realize that if I am only to give one gift to the people I know it is to insure they see Hope even if it is for but one minute.



This is not to suggest I believe I can make anyone actually believe in Hope.


You cannot.



However … I do believe you can show that Hope is there … possible … and attainable <in some form or fashion>.


christmas eve cartoon
It can be found in taking one minute to show a young employee that the best version of whatever they can be is attainable.



It can be found in taking one minute to tell a good friend that the dark<er> bridge they are walking on does have an end <and there is good solid ground with some grass & trees on it to stand on>.



It can be found in taking one minute to hand that homeless person you have seen for the last 11 months standing there at the corner a $10 bill instead of a $1 bill <and say ‘I hope it gets better’ … uhm … when do you think is the last time they have heard a stranger say they have hope for them??>.
None of those things have really cost me a thing, and I have given one little gift that I doubt was on their list of ‘what I want this Christmas.’



Just think about it.



Beyond Hope and believing and speaking of big … and small.
The big man.


Santa Claus himself.


It’s a small thing … but believing in Santa Claus is important. It creates a smallish type hope that good resides and visits everyone.



–    “Yes, Virginia” is the most famous argument for Santa Claus and my 1st Enlightened Conflict Christmas post in 2009:

http://brucemctague.com/merry-christmas-to-everyone    –




And, yet, there continue to be millions who not only doubt Santa Claus … they deny his existence.

They are called Santa deniers <and it is called Santa Denial>.


Silly people.



I say that because a writer recently took on Santa denial quite well. And this is a great reminder why we should believe in Santa Claus:




xmas parties hat

Addressing Santa Denial:


Santa-denial has surfaced again, this time on Australian television show The Project, in the guise of its guest Kitty Flanagan.

It’s just the latest in a long line of controversies caused when Santa deniers are allowed to promote their views.

Why are these people tolerated in today’s modern media?

Science has long shown that Santa Claus is real, and those who claim otherwise are invariably in the pocket of the big toy companies, who don’t want people thinking they can get free playthings and so will pay for their products.

But the evidence is beyond any reasonable doubt, and the arguments of the Santa deniers have been repeatedly debunked.

But, just to refresh your memory, here are some of the more typical ones and why they’re wrong:

christmas city street


If Santa has a workshop at the north pole, why has nobody ever seen it?


Santa’s workshop is located in a very snowy region that very few people can access, so it’s unlikely that many people would get to see it.

It would theoretically be possible to view it from above, via an aircraft or satellite in a polar orbit, but what would Santa’s workshop look like from this perspective?

A snow-covered building on a background of ice and snow?

That’s basically just blank whiteness. And infrared scans can be tricky with snow.



It’s a fallacy to assume that something isn’t there because you haven’t seen it.


You can’t see oxygen either, but try denying that it exists and see how far you get.

christmas ice


How can a human survive prolonged periods in sub-zero conditions?



Santa has several features and properties clearly adapted for cold weather survival. His large girth and dense beard and hair are obviously meant for insulation, in the manner of polar bears.

Of course, enduring below-freezing temperatures for months on end requires a lot of calories for a warm-blooded mammal, hence Santa needs to get through millions of mince pies and glasses of milk in one evening; he’s building up resources for another frosty year.


christmas parked shopping


How is it possible for a sleigh with millions of toys in it, pulled by reindeer, to fly?



Admittedly, the whole “flying reindeer” thing does seem very far-fetched, and this is a fair accusation. Investigations suggest that the flying reindeer image is a distortion of the truth, in that reindeer are native to the Arctic so Santa may well keep reindeer on his premises and perhaps they did pull his sleigh originally.

But there is substantial evidence now to suggest that Santa powers his sled with the energy obtained from a precisely controlled quantum singularity.


Basically, Santa has access to a small black hole, which he uses to perform his duties.


It’s likely that a miniature black hole struck Earth at some point in the past (don’t worry, this wouldn’t have been as disastrous as many think). Some argue that it came down in the arctic regions, hence its discoverer (Santa Claus) built his workshop on top of it. A black hole singularity can provide a lot of power, so this is the most likely explanation for the energy consumption of a busy workshop.


Once a year, Santa fits the singularity to his vehicle and uses it to travel the world. Black holes have exotic properties that allow them to distort space and gravity, so traveling with millions of toys in a confined space won’t be as impractical as it would be under normal spacetime rules.

christmas party trio


It’s impossible to visit every child on Earth in a single night!

You’d think so, but remember the singularity mentioned above? They distort time too. The time period might feel like months for Santa in his own personal gravity well, but it’s mere minutes to anyone observing from the outside.
How can Santa keep track of every child being naughty or nice?


As uncomfortable to realize as it may be, Santa’s approach hasn’t always been the most rational. It is traditional for every child to send Santa a gift list they have written themselves, so in the old days Santa was able to use the questionable science of handwriting analysis to determine who had less-than-pleasant personality traits (along with some educated guesswork based on the list itself; a child who asks for live scorpions or chainsaws is likely to have suspect motivations).


However, with the arrival of the internet and surveillance culture, it’s relatively easy to keep track of everyone. Especially if you’re a powerful industrialist like Santa.


christmas Whole-lot-of-redneck-02


Why does Santa deliver toys and items with the branding of corporations?





Plus, most children these days ask for specific items made by corporations, who jealously protect their copyrights by legal means. So either Santa sources the toy from the original makers, or the child goes without.

Is that what you want, Santa deniers? Children waking up empty-handed on Christmas morning?



gifts santas


Why are there so many Santas in shops and grottos?

Those aren’t all Santa.
They’re men in costumes.
How gullible are you?

christmas reindeer gif




<note: If you still deny there is someone called Santa Claus … well … you have no soul>

<source: a delightful writer named Dean Burnett >



And, everyone, please have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

money versus hope

June 14th, 2014

hope to money-bags-sticky dreamstime


“… for there’s money in hope: the more desperate the hope, the richer the pickings.”

Richard Dawkins




“While there’s life, there’s hope.”







While it may sound naïve or maybe silly… I do believe there is nothing more important in business, individuals and Life … then Hope.


In addition.

I actually believe the world revolves around hope.


Think about it.



In relationships … in moments of anger or spite we starve the relationship of hope … in moments of compassion and love we feed hope.


In business … while we speak of vision and purpose as the most important organizational aspect … in fact … it is actually hope.

Leaders are like hope meteorologists providing daily, weekly and long term forecasts <sometimes even hourly>.

Employees go to sleep thinking about the weather that day and wake up checking the forecast for the day.





I thought about this in a business meeting yesterday.


hope cup ofThe conversation was endlessly circling a mind numbing array of technological patents owned by the company and how to make money from these  highly effective relatively simple to use <but with some usage flaw characteristics> products.


On and on ….



Superior than ‘x’ <already in market>.

Get rich.

<repeat loop endlessly>




Pragmatically I know that functional superiority is important … can I make whites whiter … can I make mold disappear faster from the shower … can the pen write while upside down in a space where there is no gravity and Yanni music plays nonstop.


I started tuning out.


And then I remembered one of the most important brand consulting lessons I learned years ago … and I dangled hope in front of them and the conversation.



“look … it all comes down to hope … we are all dealers in hope … hope for something better … hope to be better … hope to live better or have better … hope to actually help make the world better <either personally – as in making your kids and family better – or societally – as in doing things that contribute to a better world> … you have a bunch of patents on a bunch of shit that really does seem to work better than most of the shit out there in the market … but what hope do they meet? What do you hope happens with your shit being used?”




<note: while slightly bored at this point … and slightly deflated by the conversation up to that point … I edited out the ‘shits’ from my mental monologue>





That changed the whole tone and dynamic of the conversation.


Even the entrepreneur owner lit up.

We started talking about affecting obesity … affecting how much food is wasted by a typical household … affecting people’s health … affecting hope.


hopeWe started talking about real benefits of use beyond functional benefits. And even better? We started talking about benefits beyond ‘personal benefits.’


I admit.


It amazes me how I often I … a huge believer in hope … forgets how relevant hope is in every environment, to almost every discussion and choice … and how no matter the situation … taps into every soul in the room.


And, yes, even those who seem to be focused on ‘getting rich’ can be inspired by hope.


Along that thought … remember … money is not inherently evil.

But it is often dangerous because it has a power to make us forget about what is most important.



It doesn’t make us forget … maybe it just blinds us in its dazzle.


When a person gains ‘enough money’ <however an individual may define their own personal ‘enough’> they begin to feel that they are a success and in doing so they can forget their failure in some other aspects of Life.

And worse?


It can make you forget about hope.


Rather than trusting in money … we should trust in hope. Hope richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Hope provides far more security than any amount of money you can ever earn.




No real reason I wrote this other than the fact I was thinking about hope … and I imagine we all could take a little more time to think about hope.


Think about Hope in our personal lives … and <surprisingly to some> … in our business lives.


I will never tire of thinking and talking about Hope.


Hope is certainly worth more than money.

But finding hope … and how to fulfill hope … can have many rewards <even money in some cases>.




hope dance money

I hope you dance with Hope. In any room and even without music.



You will never go wrong in Life or business.

Enlightened Conflict