new.livestream.com, which offered free access around the world. As I later reflected on the situation, I couldn't forget about the major philosophical disconnect in the presentation. First of all, 2013 was probably the most commercialized New Year celebration I've ever seen. Almost everyone in the crowd was waving commercialized Nivea foam wands and wearing Nivea foam hats. The commentators actually refer to the stage as "The Nivea Stage" and, well, a "Nivea New Year" does have a nice ring to it. This excessive capitalism was only fitting, I suppose, considering the celebration was in the epicenter of Times Square where gigantic billboards offer a kaleidoscope of capitalistic fervor.
The epitome of irony arrived during the climactic count-down song. In the middle of this intensely commercial and capitalistic zone, during the climax of the event when the clock was in the final count-down phase, a candle-holding children's choir was singing John Lennon's "Imagine" and imagining a world with "no possessions," i.e., no private property or capitalism. Ironic indeed. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. This philosophical dyslexia represents fundamental aspects of a society being pulled in very different directions. Nether capitalism nor communism is the ultimate answer, but this event does raise some important questions.
I captured an image of the color-coded blue Nivea choir from the recorded live video footage. Patrick Monahan was singing the lead vocals and the not-so-happy-looking kids were singing the anti-religious, anti-freedom "peace" song in the background. The inclusion of children reminded me a bit of Romeo Castellucci, who likes to use young children in his anti-Christian performance art.
The famous song "Imagine" is often offered as a kind of 'feel good song' about peace on Earth. However, true world peace won't happen unless there is inner peace. You can visualize world peace as much as you want to, but, one thing is certain; a totalitarian anti-religious world government is definitely not going to bring it about. And religions that cannot address the sin nature are not of much use either. People generally don't think through the deeper political implications of Lennon's Imagine song. What were Mayor Bloomberg and the concert sponsors thinking in promoting an anti-religious, anti-capitalist totalitarian song at the climax of the Times Square celebration? They evidently weren't thinking much beyond the more superficial aspects of the holiday.
For a little context, a few days ago an Oregon woman opened an old Halloween decoration and found a handwritten message from a Chinese worker who was being tortured by her atheist-totalitarian government because she believed in a religious cult. The woman was being forcefully and painfully "re-educated" in order to conform to the atheistic-totalitarian government philosophical position. Is that really what will give peace on Earth and make people happy? I have yet to see people lining up to immigrate to atheistic-totalitarian China. Yet, the leaders of free-countries are generally leading their people down this globalist-totalitarian path. These questions lead to huge issues related to an underlying culture war.
As most of the Time Square well-wishers on TV wished people happiness and health for the New Year, it may be helpful to point out that, according to Gallup polls, people who are dedicated to the practice of religion and spirituality have the statistically highest levels of health and happiness. It may also be helpful to point out that there is much more to happiness than just having our physical and emotional needs met. It took Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, to add religion and self-transcendence to Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Neeeds" in Frankl's revised version. By the way, history records that atheist, anti-religious governments head the top of the list when it comes to mass-murdering genocides. So much for John Lennon's anti-religious utopia.
The word "happiness" really does not do justice to the type of joy one can find in experiencing deep spiritual satisfaction. The word happiness is from a root word "happenstance" - which means "by chance." The deeper happiness and joy we can know is not some happenstance experience but has to do with knowing the central cause and purpose of existence, knowing God. People who base their happiness on material health and wealth do not have a very stable foundation and the situation is a bit paradoxical.
Some statistical polls have shown that people in atheistic-socialistic countries, such as Scandinavian ones, consider themselves to be among the happiest people in the world. There are other factors, of course, such as the per-capita wealth of citizens and high living standards. And, don't forget the distinctions between causation and correlation. Nevertheless, what I find interesting is that the same "happy" atheist countries offer the highest suicide rates statistically according to Gallup. Once health goes, apparently, one of the main sources of happiness begins to fade and there's not much to live for. This underscores the spiritual-philsophical dimension of true happiness. This is something not specifically mentioned on Abraham Maslow's list of needs. Nevertheless, the need to understand our philosophical meaning and significance in the universe is a true and valid need. These are valid questions.
People tend to follow along through life without taking the time to really examine the deeper questions of our existence. The top professional atheist apologists and philosophers today mainly avoid logic and offer poor excuses for not debating top theist philosophers. But when you do take the time to imagine a world where people have true inner peace from God, then it's not difficult to imagine true world peace. The kind of peace a totalitarian world government has to offer is a faux peace.
When you know the ultimate and objective reference point for existence in the knowledge of God, then everything makes sense and there is a possibility for a logically coherent and joyful life. And, that is the first step towards true inner peace. The abuses of religion in history are not a very good excuse for dismissing God's existence. If you reject God's existence, then you have no objective reference point for ultimate meaning, morality, true happiness, and so on. You end up with the type of incongruity demonstrated in Times Square New Years Eve 2013 - A world where an over-the-top, no-private-property totalitarianism was celebrated by a children's choir in the center of an over-the-top excessively capitalistic Nivea promotional extravaganza. Just bizarre.
Tags: New Year Times Square NY 2013, review of Times Square New Year celebration, Pat Monahan Imagine, inner peace, true peace, true happiness, philosophical flops, philosophical faux pas, philosophical dyslexia, why atheistic secular humanism is a failure, incongruity of secular humanism, failures of globalist totalitarianism, visualize world peace, Nivea New Year, capitalism, communism, private property rights, superficial happiness, superficial values, culture war,