Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Problem? Simple, redefine it and conjure it away...

What does ritualization see? It is a way of acting that sees itself as responding to a place, event, force, problem, or tradition. It tends to see itself as the natural or appropriate thing to do in the circumstances. Ritualization does not see how it actively creates place, force, event, and tradition, how it redefines or generates the circumstances to which it is responding. It does not see how its own actions reorder and reinterpret the circumstances so as to afford the sense of a fit among the main spheres of experience—body, community, and cosmos.

Ritualization sees its end, the rectification of a problematic. It does not see what it does in the process of realizing this end, its transformation of the problematic itself. And yet what ritualization does is actually quite simple: it temporally structures a space-time environment through a series of physical movements (using schemes described earlier), thereby producing an arena which, by its molding of the actors, both validates and extends the schemes they are internalizing. Indeed, in seeing itself as responding to an environment, ritualization interprets its own schemes as impressed upon the actors from a more authoritative source, usually from well beyond the immediate human community itself. Hence, through an orchestration in time of loosely and effectively homologized oppositions in which some gradually come to dominate others, the social body reproduces itself in the image of the symbolically schematized environment that has been simultaneously established.— Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, pages 109–10

<idle musing>
That's a bit complicated, isn't it? But I think she's spot-on with it. It all boils down to control. We respond to a problem of some kind by redefining it and then dealing with it in a way that has worked in the past...

That's why walking in the Spirit is so difficult for us; we're not in control. And that's why legalism appeals to us so much. We're in control; even if we fall short, at least we have something to hang on to that's shows us where we stand.

At least, that's my take, but maybe it's just an
</idle musing>

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