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Rituals: Boy to Man

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The world is made up of many different people, people with different beliefs and religions, which make up the world and all the different ways to live in it. In the book Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity by Roy A. Rapport, we discover all the many different human distinctions. I further analyze and tap into the inside of ritual occurrence and the buffering against disruption and how that applies to the rituals discussed in this section, also the ways of transitioning from boy to man and how those things change perspectives of the young men transitioning.

Rituals are a religious or solemn ceremony that consist of an array of actions according to a set order, there are different kinds of rituals that can take place depending on what the setting is. Rituals create a barrier between people of different cultures, these different rituals “sharpen the boundary between them, insulating them from each other at the same time and in the same way it articulates them” (pg.102), although people have different rituals that separate them, it also joins them together. With such separation you begin to have what is known as “quasi-autonomy” (pg.102) which is best described as a non-governmental organization, with this quasi-autonomy is helps keep the system of each region, and this holds significance to the importance of separation. We know that separation is good, but it is also proven true that systems could not survive without interacting with others in the world, interacting is a part of life but that doesn’t necessarily mean that separation is a completely bad thing either. If everyone was well connected with one another then it would cause the quasi-autonomy to be imbalanced, creating “discontinuities in the chains of cause and effect” (pg.102). In a previous study done by Geoffrey Vickers he realized that being one world is what causes the most problems within different environments and that “hypercoherence” is just as deadly and can be too much of a thing. Showing that such a great coherence comes with many disruptions to many populations.

With the learning of too much coherence and how they affect populations, it leads us to rituals and how rituals help to separate the world and keep things more tolerable. Different rituals help to keep the system of the quasi-autonomy and help to keep the separate systems, while also lowering the risk of different regions disrupting each other. This may arise from the fact that with different regions comes difference in rituals and rules, something that one group may do, may not be in association with another and with that kind of difference it is possible and more than likely to see problems arise. Sometimes the things like this may stir the performance of many rituals, due to its binary nature, it can cause a slight transition from one state to the other very discretely causing the state to be less ambiguous. Though, it may not get rid of all the confusion and differentiating views it does however “neutralize the possible polluting social effects…” (pg.103). An example given in the text is the planting of the rumbim, for those not aware of what the rumbim is, it is a plant that is typically planted by two opposing sides to create peace between each other. When the rumbim is planted, the many man can still be very ambivalent. In this case the “rumbim signals to those planting it, as well as to others; the slash of the supercisor’s knife signals to the boys having themselves cut even more than to others…” and with this it shows the definitive action that they have taken and changing their social status from boy to man. When the boys are rediscovered and claimed, their new social status isn’t void or changed by “ambivalence with respect to its assumption, or even emotions and attitudes incompatible with it” (pg.103). Saying that ritual occurrence shields from “social processes” from taint and harm psychic processes. There is filtering in these rituals and the decision belongs to the essential nature of non-calendrical rituals ad are just signaled by their occurrence, but this does not affect the endless states of the processes. When it comes to decisions there is a “yes/no” (pg.103) factor and this process eliminates the idea of deciding and this confuses the point of discussing the rituals and proceeding on with the actual ritual.

In a boy to man ritual it is said that the act of supercision/circumcision takes away the boy’s youth and steps him into the world of manhood, when the boys are circumcised, it seems that the boys strip away their young and adolescent ways since it is no longer accepted since they are now considered men. When the boy’s boyhood is ended it “effects one of the transformations in the process of his social ontogeny” (pg.104) which correlates to the idea of physically maturing, just like the idea of peace and war and the rumbim rituals of planting. Although this are not the exact same they both “impose upon political relations and order of sharp unambiguous alteration” (pg.104), when the rumbim is uprooted it shows that a group is informed of themselves and those that are around of the transformation. It is said that in “most rituals participants transmit information concerning their own current states to others but in all rituals, they transmit such information to themselves.” (pg.104) it is said that rituals are not one informative, but they are self-informative. In ritual occurrence it’s about informing the person of his own self-awareness and capabilities, defining who he is and his transformation.

In different rituals there are different functions and task, all in all being involved keeps those aware and self-informed of aware of what is going on. In the boy to man ritual this publicly shows that the boy is shifting, when a performer defines his state it doesn’t “arise fresh for the occasion out of his own understandings or out of those of his initiators” (pg.105) but instead they are hidden in the sequence of events and in the ordered series of ritual occurrences that bring everything together. In a canon “the participants both find and enlighten themselves” (pg.105) in the canon they find themselves and the importance of others, what is going on around them and why things are the way they are. The canonical guides, limits, and defines self-referential, but just because it’s self-referential doesn’t mean it necessarily depend on the canonical to do all of this.

To conclude “all rituals of sufficient length” (pg.106) there are different things that environmental regions go through to step into their new lives. Boy to man rituals consist of a lot of self-reflecting and acceptance, “without the canon there would be without force, or even nonsensical” (pg.106) to perform these rituals.

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