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My original contract with The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections states there were to be no reruns ever, underlined with the emotions of Mommie Dearest. Recently my attorneys re-negotiated the stipulations (thanks Norns!) and now I get one rerun per season provided I update it and correct any grammatical errors. This one I wrote ten years ago. I want to revisit it for its contents are much on my mind these days.

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has been white-washed and sugar-coated so much that folks don’t realize it essentially a ghost story. Dickens’ genius was to tell his readers things usually heard (but went unheeded) in Sunday sermons and make the points poignant.  In the tale there are several scenes down-right frightening. Jacob Marley is a ghost of The Damned. I think the most frightening scene occurs after The Ghost of Christmas Past finishes showing Scrooge a Twelfth night party and is about to bid him farewell.  You know the story: Scrooge sees something under the Spirit’s robe:

 “Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

“Oh, Man, look here! Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit, are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye. Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And abide the end.”

“Have they no refuge or resource?” cried Scrooge.

“Are there no prisons?” said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. “Are there no workhouses?”

The bell struck twelve.

The timing is perfect. In comes The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who is the essentially The Grim Reaper, Death incarnate. Ignorance and Want lead to Doom and Death. Dickens was a good Jungian: he warns his readers even in the best of times we have the dark side of Humanity. To deny The Shadow side spells the downfall of man.

Anyone who sees the news or goes on social media knows Ignorance and Want are quite alive and sadly growing.  I needn’t bother listing the endless examples. As inequality widens, Want becomes more demanding. However it is Ignorance the ghost rightfully tells us to fear the most. We don’t want to look at these Shadow parts of humanity. In the George C. Scott version of the tale, Ebenezer tells Present to put Ignorance and Want away; he doesn’t want to see them. The Ghost does but grimly chuckles ‘they’re hidden, but they live”

I am feeling pessimistic about Ignorance. He  has a very powerful and effective weapon: the media.  How we go about disarming him I do not know. Let us hope we can find some way soon for on his brow is written Doom indeed.

 

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