Time goes in one direction. It doesn't make sense for one to say "3 years go on this day...". Its not the same day. Change has occurred. We, this world, everything we know is in a different state (position & time). Here are some of the things that are totally made up that people feel strongly about: - All types of anniversaries. Birthdays, Wedding anniversaries..etc. - National flags and national anthems. - Sports. Being in a race car is one thing, the reaction is chemical. But wearing an orange shirt and cheering for 11 men while watching the game on tv - is this the need to belong? - All festivals - Thanksgiving, Valentines day, Christmas..etc. - Traditions. - Social conventions.

Why do people get attached to so much made up stuff, and then manufacture emotions to support that attachment? Is it that people just choose live a lie because they fear being shunned away by 'society'? Do people wonder about this and just not talk about it?

  • 3
    Let me guess. You forgot your anniversary.
    – user4894
    Jan 20, 2014 at 19:06

4 Answers 4


"made up stuff" - in a sense, all stuff is "made up" :)

What do you mean by "manufacture emotions" - these are still emotions. Even more, they are shared emotions. I get the notion that you want to ask:

Why people care for things that don't have direct implication to life?

The answer is because people are social beings, and caring is sharing. People get invested in holidays and sports because it's a way to share experiences, and fulfill their social needs.


In some sense, even the continuity of identity we experience from one day to the next is a construction. Rituals help us construct that identity, and the cyclical ones that are spaced out in time --daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, quadrennially, per decade, per century --help us maintain that identity over longer spans of time.


What a society values will determine its structure. Does it value self-sacrifice in order to uphold personal liberty? One function of traditions is to remind people of what society has valued in the past, and hopefully reinforce those values. Consider: if we don't value people who fought and died to allow us to experience the nice things we have, then will we want to fight and die should those nice things get threatened?

Suppose we do away with birthdays. This is a strike against individualism, which lies at the core of Western society. Alone, perhaps it would not do much. But wipe out enough other "made up stuff", and you may seriously change the balance between e.g. individualism and collectivism. That balance has serious repercussions for what society looks like.

You seem to be headed toward something like Meaning is an Illusion, which is kind of like a gentle introduction to Absurdism. You could say that society is constructed on top of "made up stuff" if you'd like, but if removing "made up stuff" would change society, I question the usage of "made up stuff".


Any excuse for a beer !

Although I'm kidding, StackExchange won't let me post such a short answer so ..

Actually there's probably truth to this. A lot of tradition is maintained just because it's a nice thing to do.. thanksgiving, christmas, birthdays.. bit of celebration = beer, cake, tea.. whatever. There's also the impenetrable fact that once a tradition starts, people get branded a "killjoy" if they don't join in, so elements of peer pressure.

Sports is a bit different in that seems to be more about belonging to a pack etc (?) but when your team wins .. more celebration!

Not sure this is philosophy really. Until the 3rd pint, then everything is ;-)

  • 1
    Thanks. I apologize for the question being mis-categorized. Your answer helped.
    – Vinay B.
    Jan 20, 2014 at 16:55
  • gimme a vote then ! :-P Jan 21, 2014 at 14:25

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