The 21rst Century Relevance of Halloween

That day has come.  We are in the present of a future only imagined in science fiction novels and comic books from decades past, a respective conclusion of Fritz Lang’s 1927 vision.  Westernization has become the Metropolis in which we live – the well-oiled, fire-breathing machine that feeds off the blood, sweat and tears of nations enslaved to the system itself.  Historical social contract has up sprung a nightmarish embodiment of new-age restrictions, manifesting our own cynicism, narrow-mindedness and spiritual anarchism, to which there is no longer any magic left in the world.  1984 is 2011 going on 2040.  We are those futuristic drones from Lang’s expressionist film, from Orwell’s compelling imagery: shuffling in and out of the Big Brother workplace like marching penguins dressed in black and white, matching our outsides with our insides.  We speak in codes and cling desperately to the addiction of our remote technologies.  Surrealism has replaced realism.  We don’t even need to be our own person anymore.  Alter-egos projectile into cyberspace via social networking platforms to create a new world of celebrity in which we make-believe ourselves into anyone we want to be – anyone, except who we really are.  Our phones talk for us, our cars drive for us, our computers compute for us, our machines make and break for us, and we, the Wizard of Oz, sit behind the smoke and mirrors of this global farce, not sure whether to laugh or cry, (maybe there’s an “APP” for that?…)  Too much is at stake for us to be so cavalier about it all.  We are losing our instincts, if we haven’t already lost our humanity.

There is something eerily apocalyptic in our inherent quest for greatness and absolutism.  As if the ‘the meaning of life’ has simply been reduced to an anagram for ‘the fine game of nil’: the more we look, the more there is nothing left to see.  In this day and age of media, technology, profit and gains, alchemy within the world has been stripped bare, reduced to vague reflections in store windows and dancing plastic bags embracing in a sinister gust of wind.  Customs and traditions like Halloween have become a commercial means to a profitable end, where we gain disposable, shallow ideals from the loss of true substance and meaning.  Oh how predictable we have become! Work to spend, and spend just so we can work again.   It is true, the overstimulation of our technologically-charged culture, has under-stimulated our intrinsic understanding and insight, leaving us deeply deprived and starving for a sense of bewilderment and perplexity in the wizardry and witchcraft of the unknowns.  Yes, indeed, we yearn for the return to a world that wriggled in an infinite regression of possibilities.

All Hallow’s Eve is an adrenalin shot of magical mystical wonder straight into the heart of society’s indifference.  It reconciles us with simpler ideas, and acts as reprieve from the burden of daily responsibility and restriction, in which we learn to trust in the wisdom of our youth once again, while stepping out of the shadowy shackles of maturity.  Halloween, like other seasonal holidays, summons the allure of our childhood, when we saw the world through the world’s unveiling, omnipresent eyes, rather than by the prejudice of our own.  Now that Halloween nears, we are reminded of this time to believe in magic again and of the importance of the supernatural element of all existence, (to which we are undoubtedly apart of).  It is time to set aside our tricorder-turned-smartphone, our pop culture trivia and YouTube references, to surrender to the deep.  So on this Hallow’s Eve, whether we share the excitement and anticipation with our children and our families, or we take a solo stroll down a dark street with nothing but moonbeams shining down from a starlit helm, we must look not with our eyes, but with our senses, hear not with our ears, but by the stirring silence within, understand not with our logical brain but with our pure spirit.  In doing so, a quiet beauty will begin to appear, like a small kindling fire catching wind from within your mind.  We shall begin to see magic again, the way our children see magic: a natural perfection that pervades and covers the entire world, like a shimmering sheath of fairy dust.  The supernatural abounds: tree moss becomes witches hair, caught in the branches and twigs as they fly by on broomsticks, black caves on rocky cliffs become the dens of dragons, ripples in the water’s surface are trace movements of mermaids, and silvery moonlit trails through the wood lead to unicorns and dwarf dwellings.

And so, Halloween, like other customs, traditions, and festive holiday seasons, satiates the needs of our humanity, and becomes imperative to the healthy functionality of our societies.  Acting as anchorage to which we are tethered and unable to drift away, even within the stormiest of seas, Halloween is an action of openness, willingness and surrender, a lightness of heart, which unveils a wider world of the infinite.  We cannot speculate about the future but we can plant the seeds and cultivate the right kind of conditions to sway the future towards a favorable, desirable outcome, one that includes magic, mystery, wonder and beauty.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

 

 

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