Palestine and the Santa Claus Effect (Part 1 of 4)

05/15/2015 04:06 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2016

I grew up in a Christian home. My father was a physicist and aerospace engineer and mother was a stay at home housewife. When I was little, much as I suspect is the case for most Christian children, I was told about Christmas and Santa Claus. We were told that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but never that this was located in Palestine.

From the moment I was old enough to grasp the story about a Christmas and Santa Claus, a jovial man, dressed in red with a white beard, who flew around the world on Christmas Eve (in 24 hours) in a magical sled pulled by flying reindeer, landing on the rooftop of every home on the planet to then slide down the chimney to leave presents for every child who had been nice, I was hooked. I never ever considered the impossibility of the story I was told this by my parents, and I guess, on some level, I didn't want to question it. I was hooked on all of the excitement leading up to and to be revealed on Christmas Day. Each year I swore to myself that I would always ask for fun toys. Clothes and such were just a bummer and a waste of wrapping paper.

Year after year, when Christmas came around, my parents would ask me and my sisters what we wanted, and in large part, mostly these gift ideas would magically show up wrapped and under the Christmas tree. Oh, let me not forget that it was a tradition that Mom and Dad would always be sure to put out cookies and milk for Santa Claus and carrots as treats for the reindeer.

On Christmas Eve, if we were lucky, each of us would get to open one small present. Afterwards my sisters and I would attempt to go to sleep. Mostly, I would toss and turn all night in excitement of the morning of gift opening. Wake at the crack of dawn as I did, on Christmas morning, I had a tradition of waking my sisters and then our parents. Everyone took such joy in the whole process.

We would all go to the living room where the Christmas tree was situated, adorned with ornaments and beautifully glowing lights. Mom and Dad always made sure to make each of us aware, that the milk had been drunk and that the cookies and the carrots had been eaten. This was definitive proof that Santa Claus had surely come to our house and personally delivered the gifts.

One year, as it got closer to Christmas Day, I noticed that Mom and Dad were secretly bringing large bags into their bedroom. Curiously, I caught a glimpse of one of my parents wrapping a gift for me that ended up under the Christmas tree, a present that as I would later discover, was marked From: Santa Claus.

My radar was up and I was getting suspicious about this Santa Claus fellow. A year passed and at around 8 years old I was probing a friend, who was a couple of years older, about this Santa Claus guy and Christmas. In an oh-by-the-way manner he convincingly stated that there was in fact no Santa Claus and that they whole thing was ... sort of a nice lie.

On hearing this and in the moment, my heart just sank. I wanted to cry. I felt so deeply betrayed by the mythology of this story I had been told by parents, my God/creator figures/truth tellers. How could they lie to me? I was instinctively trained to trust them. I felt violated and ashamed that I had not been smart enough to see through everything, connect the dots and know that I had been lied to.

So again, upon having what I now call, and have termed, my first "Santa Claus Moment," I put on my game face and tried, as cool as I could, to shrug off the reality that I had been lied to by my parents and manned up my best response to this older friend by saying, "Ya, I knew that."

I would not understand until I became an adult how profoundly this Santa Claus Moment would affect me. I would not have the capacity to comprehend, how this phenomena could be used towards me and the world population as a whole, to pervert the innocence of trust into a manufactured naiveté that could be exploited. I would not understand the intentionality of how this "Santa Claus Effect" could be harnessed by the elite, the powerful and the media to manipulate group thoughts and actions.

"We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of... If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it." -- Dr. Edward L. Bernays, considered the founding Father of Public Relations. (1891-1995)

Flashing back to my early years and influences, my Father, a brilliant and good man, level-headed, I thought, was a bit of a Super-hawk as I now see it in retrospect. His first major job out of college was designing missile guidance systems for fighter jets. In his time off, and when we lived in California, he would work on Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign. We would later move from California to Texas where he would work on the space program and play a major role in putting our first man on the moon.

In his role as Creator/God figure/Truth Teller, I took what my father told me as gospel and truth. His worldview on life shaped my worldview. My love and respect for my father and his goodness as a human being made it easy for me to trust in what he told me. I never saw my Dad smoke a cigarette and only occasionally saw him drink a beer. As my authority figure he taught me right from wrong, how to be honest and a good person, and how to recognize and protect myself from bullies at school. There was an unspoken philosophy that "only the strong survived", "work hard and prosper" and that in the world of global politics 'the winner spoke softly and carried a big stick."