Holi-days in the Summer in an Atheist World

View Mountains of Saas Fee, EGS 2012

It’s that time of the year again, when people ask you – after a remark about the weather – about your plans for the holidays. At first, I found myself a bit perplexed as to how to answer this utterly irrelevant question. But I guess most people do not notice the obvious etymology of the word – holy-day, and being uttered by atheists it does sound a bit weird.
Or, perhaps not. In this day the word ‘holiday’ applied to the period when work ceases might be very appropriate. In this capitalist age, isn’t that what we all work for, this period of time in which we are ‘free’? In which we can worship those values that are still left to value – travel, alcohol, and yes: the weather.
I celebrate holy-days throughout the year. I try to worship my most precious possession, in a capitalist way of speaking, my most precious gift: life. Funny, how I take my life to be a gift, in a way in which the word ‘gift’ still retains some of its German meaning (Gift = poison); life is a very dangerous and deadly adventure.
This summer I will celebrate this gift once more with some very interesting and exciting – and obnoxious and irritating – group of people at the European Graduate School. In my opinion, one of the best ways to spend my summer. Although the intensity of those days will probably make it less of an holiday than one would suppose.
Fortunately, I have the rest of the year to continue to celebrate my holidays.

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