Friday, March 04, 2005

Next age?

Today I had a conversation about ritual and the lack of it in western society. Old rituals are dying: from lack of continuity because of mobility, because we don't stay where we were born or with the people who raised us; from the crush of time, because everything is speeding up and spare hours are eaten in the non-social diversions of this age--we're mute and lonely in front of our glowing screens. Yeah, yeah, we've heard all this before. Our social structures no longer support lengthy or dangerous or challenging--in other words, meaningful--rituals.

I'm sick to death of talking. I'm sick of sitting on my couch and complaining about where the world is going and feeling helpless to change anything.

We're only as helpless as we believe ourselves to be. What the next age of human beings will look like depends only on us. So--how should it look? Can we turn inward, away from our terribly entertaining ways of killing time--from glamorous strangers & strangely fascinating grotesques on TV, to, yeah, echo chambers on the Internet that tell us what we want to hear--can we stop sitting around with our cocks in our hands, believing we're holding salvation? Can we stop pressing our noses against store windows, thinking, like six-year-olds, if I can just have that, I'll be happy?

What would be the first step? How do we get through all the layers of righteous appearance and conscience-salving charity and prayers shouted from rooftops--to show that I am fucking holier than you--to what is good, and plain, and useful?

How should the world look? Can we begin the next age now? Tell me. If you take a step, post about it here. I want to know.


Anonymous said...

...just ten...


there. one step closer to perfect abs.

that's what you're talking about, right?

Anonymous said...

seriously, though, some of the best commentary I've heard about the death of rituals and the spread of the dread computer and whatnot focus on the ways in which the positive aspects of this (the new rituals, new communities, new modes of written (yeah, written, like writing) communication that our generations are developing for themselves... like, say, blogs) are often ignored because we're not participating in the same rituals and doing the same kind of writing that the previous generation did. it's not less, just different. and in some ways we don't know what we've got yet, and how it will sort itself out, for good and ill.

as for what's good, plain, and useful, er...

you literary fiction types are supposed to explain that to the rest of us.

monkey#5 said...

I'm not a deep thinker, but this one I've got figured out. For myself, anyway.

See, I have this group. We're not a cult or anything. We just spend time together, every three weeks or so. Anything goes, no one holds back. It's not mandatory, these meetings, but I've found attendance to almost always be 100%.

It's nothing major. Just a little something to look forward to.

How this could work on a larger, global scale, I dunno know. That's for you serious thinkers to work out.

But I'm good, thanks.