Why We Need a Bogeyman.

The Bogeyman was a nondescript  figure used by parents to make their children behave. The characteristics was best left up to the child as the imagination would allow the child to create the perfect monster.

 God  and even Santa Clause were used as bogeymen to be manipulative. Only being kind and generous if you behaved in certain ways. Many people still practice this method of parenting with varying degrees of success. There are many families that don't believe in religion or using fictitious childhood characters to help manipulate their child's behavior. Instead they might use time outs, carnal punishments or removing toys, rights and privileges.

With the former method hard to answer questions, about fairness and appropriateness could be left to the child with some support from the parent. In this way the child could use their imagination to create their own image of God. The latter method requires constant coaxing, mystery and  imagination are not permitted as the child searches for answers to their predicament. 

Using the concept of God to teach your child how to behave allows for the concept of good vs evil. In a child's mind evil can be conjured up to be anything he or she can imagine. If a child is taught the concept of good vs bad, then bad is understood as a set system of behavior. A deeper understanding or moral sophistication is not required, it is regimented and inner soul searching is removed.

It has been my observation and the observation of many people that the incidents of child behavior problems has skyrocketed in recent decades. A common thread seems to be emerging as to the reason many young people, many of who are adults now, are acting in these ways, (outside the realm of survival or desperation). It is as though their actions are only considered "bad" if they get caught. There appears to be a lack of sophistication for the better good of society and shame is reserved for those who get caught.

Another pitfall of suppressing the imagination in this way can be seen in the creative arts. Great art is still produced today, but considering the size of the population as compared to the 1800''s we should be witnessing a renaissance in music, art, literature and architecture. Instead these areas of human existence has taken a proportional downfall. Great art is inspired in many ways and no one can argue that the concept of God, demons and fictitious characters had nothing to do with that.

Say what you will about the existence of God, Santa Clause, the Devil, elves dwarfs and hobbits. They may not be a part of our scientifically provable reality, but they are definitely part of our imaginations and that is real. Most of human existence is the result of the human mind to imagine and then to take from that  the inspiration to create. There is not much that the human mind cannot make real with determination and imagination. Perhaps not even the bogeyman or even God.

Uploaded 03/24/2011
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