Rituals per se are not unhelpful, especially if we get to recognise the pervasiveness of rituals in our lives. Rituals are ‘a series of actions that are habitually and invariably followed by some one.’
Logging in to get into your computer system is a ritual, touching your oyster card, punching your PIN in a crevice in a wall to get money are all rituals. Someone from deep in the village in rural Kikubanimba will think you are mad if he sees you slapping your wallet somewhere to enter somewhere else! That is how culturally relative rituals are…. An electoral exercise is a ritual for picking leaders etc…Saluting by the soldier is a ritual…mention them. You do not get anywhere without them…
The problem arises when we get stuck to rituals whose time has passed, or indeed, those whose time has not come. If the material conditions that necessitated the emergence, relevance and sustenance of a ritual cease to obtain, it is time for the ritual to be abandoned, likewise for a ritual whose existence cannot be conceived because the quantitative reality may not allow. Think of someone pretending to log on to use a manual typewriter….
The other day we made noise about how ‘Kaddulubaale’ mutated into ‘Nabagereka’….for the latter is what the Queen was called…but we ended up into non-constructive side paths….
Stone Age rituals are good for the Stone Age, but disastrous for the information age! The information age has to construct its own rituals….Rituals rule!
Think of someone pretending to log on, to use a manual typewriter….or another one trying to sprinkle the blood of a white chicken on a Macintosh laptop, then spitting three times at its mouse, while standing on his hands looking west, and then climaxing by throwing cowrie shells from a calabash on to the laptop’s power unit, all with the hope that such paraphernalia will let him access the contents of the hard drive……assuming that those latter ‘rituals’ ever actually worked anywhere, in any era….
Advising Katwe traders on how to get a slot onto the NASDAQ…..
Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto