Friday, January 16, 2004

[grid::ritual] Textures of everyday life

When it comes to ritual, my mind floods with everything I have been taught as an anthropologist. I think of exotic rites and personal passages. I think of the extraordinary.

But rituals don't have to be extraordinary. In many ways, rituals are so common that we take them for granted.

Michel de Certeau - Jesuit and scholar - wrote on many subjects, but for my purposes I often look to his writings on the practice of everyday life - and his work with Luce Giard and Pierre Mayol on living and cooking.

As Luce Giard explains, why and when with Michel de Certeau we paid attention to everyday life:

It is a sensitive eye which perceives the passing beauty of a gesture. It is a keen ear which remarks the melodious quality of a voice coming from a crowd. It is a benevolent heart and a generous mind which enjoy the encounter of other people. Everyday life provides countless opportunities to practice the social art of admiring our contemporaries' creativity in adapting mass production and social constraints to individual lifestyles. To pay attention to small details and ephemeral things of beauty will not radically transform the world, but it could help make it more hospitable.

Today I will pay attention to what I normally take for granted, and I'd love to hear what you notice if you do the same.

More [grid::rituals] here. Thanks for reminding me Andie!

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