The other day, I watched a debate on television about the notion of celebration. The panel included writers, film producers, sociologists and journalists, and they all agreed that holidays and feast days like Christmas and Easter were good for people because they broke the monotony of daily life and provided a healthy occasion to relax and have fun. Every single one of those panellists talked only about pleasure, relaxation, recreation.
Not one of them thought of saying that people could use these occasions of joy to advance their evolution and become more beautiful, noble and radiant. I was staggered. They all seemed to think that it was important to ‘have fun’ and to ‘pass the time’. No one seemed to realize that festive days and holidays could also contribute to improving and ennobling human beings.
You will have to forgive me. Perhaps I am different from everybody else; perhaps I am a monster; but, for me, all our activities, whether work or celebration, must converge towards one single goal, one spiritual ideal, that of becoming better and more useful. To be sure, you are free to do what everybody else does; you are free to feast and amuse yourself like everybody else, but then you will never be anything but the weak, susceptible, discontented being you are today—a slave, a victim!
All the recreation and amusements in the world will not change that. Why not? Because you lack an ideal. I know: I always come back to this! I ask someone, ‘What is your ideal?’ ‘Oh, I don’t really know…’ ‘In that case’ I tell him; ‘You will be disappointed!’ Believe me; nobody understands the tremendous advantage of having a sublime ideal, an ideal of perfection. That is the only thing that gives meaning to life.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Sèvres, 29 September 1958
Complete Works Volume 32 The Fruits of The Tree of Life Life
Chapter 17, The Cardinal Feasts