The Rite of It

Tomorrow is my birthday.  Meh, since I'm getting older every day, it's just another day in the chain – another brick in the wall, another marble in the bowl.  I don't have anything special planned or really any desire to celebrate it.  That sounds sad, but I am okay with getting older – and frankly, other life issues (like having a bad day today, in missing Mrs. Axe) are more important right now.

But it did get me thinking.

(Muse:  No good can come of that.)

So you've said.  But seriously, what is it about rites and rituals that seem to transcend human culture?  One's birth seems to be a near-universal celebration across the world (I know, there are some exceptions).  How does that happen?  What once made a tribe of wandering hunters decide to sacrfice a goat to every new moon?  How did cultures decide that the pairing of a man and a woman (historically) merited such a celebration?  It's a good question and I don't know the answer to it.

Here's a better question.  Just about every fantasy story I read contains that culture's unique rituals and celebrations.  Why is that?  Is it in the nature of all intelligent life to find and explore these rituals that become part of their culture?  Or is it because we, as authors, subconsciously project the human Earth experience onto our fantasized cultures?  Could there be a culture out there without any rituals, any customs or even conventions of behavior?  Could such life be intelligent in a way we understand it?

Great, now I have a headache thinking on that one.  Tough nut to crack.


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