Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3477449 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (5)

Jill asked me today at lunch if I thought ritual was important.

I tend to think not particularly. Ritual can be a baseline for the passage of time, a marker that connects the present with the past, but in a fairly strained and artificial way.

Stars or trees or rocks make me reflect more on the context of time than any human ceremonies I know of. These sorts of natural fixtures simultaneously reassure me of the steadiness and age of the universe while making me realize just how young and insignificant my life is, and how, relative to the universe, I won't be around for long.

Others use ritual to impose a sort of repetitive order in their lives (e.g., thumping your shoes three times before you put them on). Of course, carried to an extreme, this can be diagnosed as OCD.

Which brings me to another point: Most rituals are simply done for their own sake. That is, throughout the years they have been leeched of meaning and significance. They are ritual for ritual's sake. And I can't abide by that.

Anything that I put a significant amount of attention and deliberation into needs to be toward a particular purpose or goal. I would much rather garden or build a ship in a bottle than sit on a mat and chant for the same amount of time. And if I'm going to sit and think, it's going to be to explore a particular issue or problem, and try to puzzle out how I think about it. I'm not a big fan of "clearing my thoughts", which as I pointed out in our discussions of Zen Buddhism, I believe is inherently anti-intellectual (besides, sleep is for clearing your thoughts).

So no, I don't think ritual for its own sake, or to simply alter my mental state, is useful. But as a means to something useful (e.g. gardening)...sure.

Read/Post Comments (5)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.