Lily wrote:Why do we insist on doing rituals, even as skeptics?
The strongest urge within all living creatures is to survive, but nature only allows survival of the fittest. Different creatures make use of different qualities in order to be fit enough; some are strong, some are swift, some are stealthy. Human beings have survived by being sagacious and gregarious. Through sagacity, we have created techniques and technology from which we can borrow the essential qualities we were not born with and shape our environment to provide the nourishment we need. Through gregariousness, we have learned that we are fittest when we work together. In order to work together we have created stability through social structures that are sustained by social order. The social order is maintained through acts that serve to strenghten our cohesion by giving us a sense of focus, connectedness and belonging. When these acts fail they are silly. When they succeed they are powerful.
We call these acts rituals.
Some people demote rituals to be merely a component of religion, but I think it's the other way around. Rituals are the foundation of human culture. They are the core of every tradition and all kinds of sport. They are the style of every symbol, flag and uniform. They are the cheer of every clapping crowd.
Why do we insist on doing rituals? Because they are crucial to our survival.