Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity

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That is the problem. It leaves no room for playful, hypothetic explorations of alternative political fault-lines, different coalitions of interest. It denies the possibility of growing together, unwittingly — an accidental rapprochement.

Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity

But this is definitely not about hypocrisy. Facebook is the uber-vehicle for sincerity. The pub is a vehicle for ritual togetherness. Conversations that you can have in a pub in which context, nuance, body language and self-deprecating honesty and a practical need to rub along, all take the edge off mutual antagonism, differences of interest and perspective. The digital version is devoid of irony, paradox …. It stems from the work of Ernest Becker and is pretty well substantiated in experimental psychology.

Christians become more Christian; Muslims more Muslim; greens more green; consumers more likely to consume; liberals more hostile to conservatives etc. Trump Tower.

The funny thing is that in numerous media presentations of TMT over the last year, they invariably show someone with a Nazi flag, as if this stuff only applies to populists and fascists. It applies just as much to liberals and people who pride themselves on a kind of even-tempered rational problem solving approach to politics. Liberals are increasingly just as intolerant as conservatives. In my own domain, you will get endless forms of diversity paraded on university campuses as a testament to free-will and tolerance — except diversity of perspective.

You will find almost no conservatives — whether theological, free-market, Burkean ….

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It will end in tears…More tears I should say. There is something that we can do about it however.

We can talk and interact with people and suspend judgement and try to ritualize forms of engagement that place much less emphasis on sincerity and the ubiquity of the endless self-narrating, authentic individual who is consistent, articulate, and coherent. Instead we could try to create social contexts in which it is taken for granted that people are chaotic, incoherent, inconsistent and often discontinuous.

Adam B. Seligman, Ritual, the Self, and Sincerity - PhilPapers

Our verbal expressions and states of mind are often defined by the social-psychological situation, as much or more than by some preconceived ideological outlook. We are different people with wives, husbands, grannies, kids, strangers. We need less to look for sincerity and more to look for playful joie de vivre — not an intellectual habit of mind or an ideological position, but an emotional habit of humour and good nature. Most people are good, and better in some contexts than others. Break bread, walk along-side, drink with……make love to….

Dickinson, J. Elias, N.

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Polanyi, K. The great transformation: Economic and political origins of our time.

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Rinehart, New York. Seligman, A. Ritual and its consequences: An essay on the limits of sincerity.

Ritual and Its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity

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