Krampus Maximus: a Scary Fairy Tale for the World's Grownups
What Is Krampus?
For all those folks who happen to be unfamiliar with various European traditions---Krampus is the scary companion of St. Nicolas, that good-natured, jolly dude who on every December the 6th goes around to reward good kids with gifts; while Krampus's job is to scare the hell out of those disobedient ones.
Small communities or neighborhoods would arrange for such a disguised duo to visit families with small kids, with previously prepared list of "good" and "bad" ones, along with gifts provided by parents---so that St. Nick would praise and reward the good ones, while Krampus would provide all those horrifying threats that might leave a scar on many of those kids with pronounced sensitivity.
O.K., with the title character being defined, let's see what Krampus has to do with grownups. Of course, it's used metaphorically, but with an equal effect upon grownups, with the addition of "Maximus", which is the Latin for "the greatest"---adjusting the size of the scare to fit the adult dark imagination.
However, let me start my story with this morning, when I obviously had nothing better to think about but something silly like expendable body parts---as I leisurely made a list in my mind of mostly everything that we could live without. Eventually, the Krampus would come into that picture as the story was unfolding.
There will be no need to mention his name a lot, but instead you are invited to place his character into that scenario of the massive scare going on---from those most subtle and not suspected ways, all the way to those just too obvious not to be noticed.
Amygdala, the Unsuspected Cornerstone of Civilization
As much as we may not like reminding ourselves about it---humans have been known to continue living not only without hair or teeth, but also without an extremity or two, eyes, ears, without a kidney, appendix, gall-bladder, genitals, and ask a surgeon about the rest.
My listing led me to one body part in particular, around which my whole story got wrapped. It's amygdala, that part of our brain responsible for arousing the feelings of fear and aggression. I got quite a kick out of it, as I started thinking about a hypothetical situation in which amygdala would go dysfunctional in humans.
But then a strange revelation hit me when I reversed it, not only to a fully functional one, but the one that's kept very active---while it presents not more or less than the very cornerstone of the whole cultural establishment. At that point something like Krampus Maximus appeared on the stage of my mind's theatre.
So, allow me to lead you through that process of my thoughts, first by roughly estimating what this world of ours would be like without that one part of our brain being functional---our amygdala, the seat of our fear and all of its derivates like arrogance, territoriality, and need for power.
I promise you, you won't be able to recognize this world anymore as such, while in the sole absence of this one little portion of our primitive part of the brain.
It doesn't matter in which order I go, so let's mention the total collapse of every existing religion which has "evil forces" among its tenets, that, I guess, meaning all of them without an exception. Without fear, the concept of "evil" could simply not exist.
Then, there are practically all aspects of military in any of their many capacities that would become obsolete. Without fear and its derivative aggression there would be no need to "defend" a country since there would be no potential or real aggressor possible. Likewise, police force with all justice system would cease to exist, because there would be no crime.
Can you imagine, all those countless defensive institutions would lose their purpose to exist, just without a part of our brain being functional?
Life on Earth Without Fear
Leaving the violence behind, let us see some other aspects of social life that would become obsolete. Now, try if you can, to imagine a life without an ability to be stressed. Are we actually capable of fathoming such a colossal alternative to this present life where stress is causing most of the diseases and conditions, even accidents?
What would all doctors do other than deliver babies and fix bones and flesh after accidents? The Big Pharma would crush overnight, and governments would be sized down to a few state officials. Political parties would not exist, as well as the whole machinery of the mainstream media, since there would be no one around to scare anymore with crappy news.
So, as far as our safe functioning goes, we would only need a cultivated sensibility about living. For example, driving on the proper side of the road would not involve a "fear attached to driving on the wrong side", but simply knowing what makes an orderly sense in interacting with others.
Our instinct for survival would go through a dramatic refinement, as it would not be based on fear anymore. Without being fearfully re-active to life, we would become pro-active, focused upon rewarding end results. In other words, we would all constantly be driven to what we want, not escaping from what we don't want, which is the main specialty of fear.
Aggression---the More Pleasant Twin of Fear
It didn't have to go much further for the whole scenario to become way too utopian even for my incorrigible optimism---but not without a strange revelation suddenly flooding my thoughts. The one that started bringing something like the dark spirit of a Krampus Maximus into the big picture.
Namely, as I was reversing my mind's film to the "normal" situation with amygdala playing its usual part in the global way of coexisting, I suddenly became aware how the big daddies of the establishment are actually manipulating the levels of our amygdala's activity in so many easily detectable, if not obvious ways.
For example, as I was thinking a moment ago about religions massively collapsing without our ability to experience fear, now in a reversed order I started seeing how religions are playing on our fears to maintain their establishment.
Then I thought about those various means of stimulating amygdala, and noise came to mind as one. Since amygdala gets disturbed by a big noise posing as an invasive stimulus, my thoughts brought me to those huge sport manifestations with crowds loudly cheering. As far as our amygdala is concerned, that noise is not any different from Native American's warpath screaming just prior to their attack.
Namely, amygdala initially produces fear, which by the "purpose of the moment" gets converted into aggressiveness. So, as people are cheering at a stadium, every time their team advances, it's arrogance, and with the opposite team advancing, it's fear---playing that tune back and forth and giving the fans an arousal which feels good.
Let's face it, we may not notice it, but we are living with a constant dose of stress hormones present in our bloodstream. They work in tandem with amygdala and with our unconscious defense mechanisms acquired as survival strategies.
With that background unpleasant sense of a threat, we find it very "emotionally refreshing" to be in an ambient of a big noise, where the "purpose of the moment" requalifies that initial fear into aggressiveness---switching us emotionally from relative mice to relative lions.
Noise as Amygdala Stimulator
Doesn't it bring up the picture of all those rock concerts? With the performers grimacing with aggression and pain, and gesturing violently with hands and even doing some martial arts kicks, jumping around, and yes---turning something that's supposed to be "music" into a circus of screaming with notes, with deafening loudness of instruments completing the amygdala parade.
Or, take that loud music at big shopping malls. What do you think why it's supposed to be so loud? As the shoppers' amygdala with the survival instinct gets stimulated by the noise---because that's what it basically is---we unconsciously think about "needs for survival", which makes qualified all those offered articles around. And then it's only a little matter of our personal taste to kick in with the choice of what we will take home.
Remember all those, possibly more suggestible or even insecure folks, who get "noised enough" to bring home stuff and then wonder why they bought it---only to return it at the next visit to the mall. The same mentality we can see in those compulsive shoppers who even leave home with intention to buy---whatever. Their amygdala is equally overstimulated into buying the means of survival.
What about hoarders who bury themselves in junk of all sorts, seemingly unable to stop their crazy activity. It's stronger than their rational thinking, because amygdala's commands come from existential fear, and as such they are hard to ignore to someone who is not aware what's going on.
Can we see more and more of that Krampus Maximus at work? From just these few examples it's obvious how big institutions of our establishment are playing on our fears for their profit and power.
Let's Grow Out of the Krampus Maximus!
Scared people are good customers, good soldiers as they convert fear into aggressiveness , they are loyal believers, they are patients that keep coming back with new problems. In other words, they are "good kids" thanks to their fear.
When someone tells me that religion has created all good values and virtues, little do they know that religion made their amygdala active enough with all those scary stories and illustrations of evil.
Scared people cling to "saviors" of all kinds---be it clergymen, political or party leaders, doctors, or even rock groups who help them convert their fears into aggressiveness. And that logically explains the policies of Krampus Maximus which keep amygdala stimulated.
History is filled with proofs how fear is the easiest emotion to use for manipulation of masses. Without fear in our emotional repertoire no wars would be possible, no kings or presidents could summon enough of those pawns to give their lives while catering on their ulterior motives of power game and careerism. Without fear, soldiers would requalify themselves into librarians, teachers, bus drivers, or alike.
Krampus Maximus has to stay around as the glue that's holding the "system" together. Indeed, it seems like being normal we would lose our identity, private, social and national. Too bad that, no matter how we get pampered by the high level of our technology and the apparent civil freedoms of democracy, St. Nicholas is still far behind with his gifts, when compared to the scary crap usurped by his unholy companion.
With this article I tried to bring to the people's attention the enormous exploitation of our amygdala going on by those biggest carriers of the establishment. By noticing their suggestive manipulations we could start freeing ourselves from the unconscious grip they have on our spiritual, mental, and physical state.
Just like at certain age kids outgrow their fear of Krampus, we could outgrow our own from that much bigger Krampus Maximus.