Friday, 1 July 2016

The Ritual

All cultures of the past that we know of had rituals. Their rituals involved a certain set behaviours accompanied often by special food and drink. When they performed their rituals, did they think of them as rituals? Or did they just do them, considering the actions as just part of daily life.

We moderns probably think we have no societal rituals. Perhaps our main ritual is one we don't think of as a ritual. Think about the main activity of just about everyone - getting up early to an alarm clock's ring and going to work for the day.

As with many rituals, our ritual usually starts with a special drink. After waking up to the alarm clock, we prepare a cup of coffee. The psychoactive ingredients (mainly caffeine) in the brew help us stay focused during the ritual. The next main step is to get into a car and drive until stuck in traffic with all the others performing the ritual in a slow procession. Instead of all heading to the same altar, the performers of the ritual will split off in their cars as they approach their individual destinations.

The next phase of the ritual is (for many) to sit about at a desk pressing various buttons. This part of the ritual continues for a staggering eight or more hours, which would probably have been enough time for an ancient to complete a minor vision quest. Then, it's back into the procession in what is sort of elaborate mechanical moving costume, the automobile.

Some say we should go back and research and perform the rituals of the ancients. But simply knowing the outward motions and doing them is not enough to understand and have the proper experience of the ritual. That would be like people of the future copying our ritual of going to work, but then having no idea what to do at the workplace once they sit down at the desk. Better to move on to new rituals.

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