Understanding Santa Claus



I was a very rational little boy, and if I am using the past tense, it is because I am no longer really, neither a little boy, nor very rational. At Christmas, I asked myself suspicious questions, not about little Jesus, his case was clear, born in a stable of traveling parents there was no mystery to that, nor even to the presence of the donkey and beef, nor when the shepherds arrived, it was normal, it was sheltered and there was straw, there was only the name of the stable which seemed enigmatic to my little mind. rational boy: why stable and not sheepfold or stable, given the biodiversity that reigned that night. But this vagueness of the vocabulary did not call into question anything.

→ EXPLANATION. How Christmas Became Christmas

It will be noticed that the mystery of the incarnation passed me well above my head, but I must have been in the six years old and I had severely agnostic parents, I had to understand something only the nurseries, the Advent calendars (which I have long understood as an advent calendar, which is implacably logical), and the toy catalogs of supermarkets, sprinkled with stars and snowflakes. No, it all fell more or less fairly with reality, what was a problem was Santa Claus.

There was a logical dizziness there which I tried to resolve by force of reason alone, but it was barely. It was not his existence that was in question, proven by so many occurrences that it would have been a conspiracy of absurd magnitude if it had not existed, no, the problem was the material conditions of his. action. With my grandparents, things were still going on, in their pavilion there was a fireplace in each room, and they had shown him the one in the living room, which was more practical. When one Christmas evening my grandfather came to say goodnight to me in my room with the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up, an unusual thing since he was usually buttoned cuffs and tight tie, he explained to me without laughing that he was cleaning the room. fireplace for that night, unblemished, but he excelled at everything. I believed in it, I still believed in it, I never wondered if it was possible, I just wondered how it was possible. But in the low-rent housing estate where we lived with my parents, no fireplace, radiators whose pipes the thickness of a finger ran along the wall before disappearing there. How could he go through this? How could he get out of these hermetically sealed pipes, with his hood? I imagined the little cock jumping up and a red and white colored bubble slowly inflating until it took on its Santa Claus shape, coming off with a Plop! and deposit the gifts at the bottom of the radiator before reintroducing with difficulty into the narrow pipe to continue on his way, there were in the small city hundreds of radiators to provide. This was sorely lacking in documentary evidence, but I did not see how to do otherwise.

The other unfathomable problem arose immediately from this: there were many good children (everyone at school had had something), they were reasonably spread all over the Earth, so the work of that sweet night, most holy night, had to be be considerable and I wondered how those few hours could be enough. Santa Claus must have been in a state of absolute stress, squeezing his reindeer, trying not to forget anything, watching for the pallor that rose in the east, the slightest incident could turn everything upside down and deprive part of the population of children. wise gifts, yet deserved. Refusing the ubiquity hypothesis, as well as the existence of a brigade of several Santa Claus, I imagined a colossal speed, an almost infinite speed that would allow the feat. And I fell asleep, reassured. If I had known then this absolute limit which is the speed of light, it would have prolonged my worried vigil, feverishly seeking another solution.

If I am less rational, it is because I now know that reason can deploy its rigorous structure on any pretext: given that Santa Claus exists, how to explain his effectiveness. Reason, good girl, does so and gives coherent answers. Always consistent. We will notice that the conspiracies and false news which are on the Internet like fish in water are always in the form of very coherent reasoning, but balanced on a very debatable premise, which precisely we do not discuss. We must always be wary of the starting point of the deployment of reason.

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