Dennis O’Neil: Rituals

Flag BannerOur hearts are going out and it was a terrible tragedy and we’ll remember those innocent victims in our prayers and maybe a politician or two will make propaganda out of it but that’s what politicians do and did I mention prayers and anyway we won’t be bothered about it for long and it’ll be forgotten until the next one…

There are reasons we have rituals. They help us bond as a community – whatever that community happens to be – and they offer us comfort when we encounter the horrifying. In the earliest of human civilizations, rituals had survival value, helping people  cooperate and giving them the courage we needed to slog through another day, and maybe the our rituals still have some of that value. But I think we’ve begun to adapt them to another use that may not be beneficial. We’re going through our motions so we feel we’ve done something and that relieves us of the obligation to do more, to act meaningfully.

Here in the United States, there have been over a dozen mass shootings in the last six years.

No other advanced nation has this problem.

I could go on, but I won’t.