Revels and Rebels X

Dear Santa,

Herewith is my tenth annual letter to you as a grown up. Whoooo! Over the last decade, we've run the gauntlet of requests. From Revolutions to Reality and Beauty to Google. But we’re not finished yet…

For this Christmas, Santa, I’d like goodwill. “Why,” I hear you ask, “Isn’t it seasonal?” No Santa, goodwill is like a cute puppy – it’s not just for Christmas.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the type of goodwill that comes after five pints of beer, or when the teacher makes you show goodwill, or else. Nor the illuminated 'GOODWILL' sign you can buy in TK Maxx for a tenner. I’m talking about the type of goodwill where you have to dig deep to find the courage to be benevolent in the most difficult of situations.

The thing is Santa, we end the year in a tricky old place. The free world is shackled. Reality is Fantasy and Virtual is Real. Fake is Truth and Truth is a Shadow. Happiness is a Product and Love is Power. And to be British is an existentialist crisis. The sky is so laden with political division, hypocrisy and the robots coming to get us, that a good quality umbrella is not enough to shelter you from the storm. And in the midst of this perfect storm, we are encouraged to have more things, because they bring comfort and joy.

To have or to have more is the question of the century. Society has made us experts in consuming. But what about the concept of being? To what extent has our specialism in ‘having’ started to erode the decisions we make about ‘being’, both as an individual, and collectively as a nation? And how does this erosion play out against the background of narcissism that’s been so finely tuned by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? In this volcanic situation, where free-will and free-speech melt and reality explodes, are we starting to mistake words for meaning, giving for taking and losing for winning?

So Santa, to cut a long story short, it’s back to basics with goodwill. Please sprinkle in our Christmas stockings tonight, a great big dollop of it. If we can do more of seeking to understand than seeking to own, we might just tip the balance and get somewhere that sets us on a course for peace.

With festive thanks,

Louise x


Reflections on the year that was 2017

Revels and Rebels is an annual letter to Santa. Since 2007, I've used the form of the Dear Santa letter to reflect on the year that's gone and ask for a wish for the year to come.

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