Thursday, January 14, 2010

Remembering ourselves

Yes, yes, yes. ladypoverty:
Something I have learned from my religious friends is the importance of ritual. Whenever society is not organized in a way that respects your values, it takes willful repetition to remind oneself of what those values are. They are easy to forget, since daily life is organized in a way that undermines them.

This conflict between identities -- the one you have and the one you are assigned -- is a source of great psychological stress for anyone forced to "deny themselves" on a regular basis. In the face of total dependence on employers for a way to live -- what capitalism always demands -- we need a way to remember ourselves.
This strikes me as beautiful and absolutely vital. Unfortunately one place I run into trouble in my own life is that, done wrong, ritual can easily turn into routine, which can then lead right back to and feed into the dehumanizing process. Balancing ritual with spontaneity, which I feel is also essential to "remembering ourselves," can be extremely difficult, especially considering the severely limited amount of time we have during which we are allowed to own ourselves.

I'm still working towards a solution to this for myself. Suggestions are welcome.

1 comment:

Justin said...

My ritual is painting and jettisoning material positions whenever I start to feel attached to them.