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Rites of Passage

October 29, 2018

This is something I notice coming up in different forms in many of the books I have been reading lately. The emphasis on rites of passage, and how they have become devalued in our contemporary flattened out secular society. And how this has bad consequences, particularly for young men, who are not getting a proper initiation into the adult world.

An ethic of maximising welfare, happiness, and minimising pain and risk, is an ethic that must anaesthetise us from these initiation rites. Effectively telling us we are not worthy of adulthood, we need to be kept coddled in childhood. We cannot take responsibility for our own existence because it will involve going through some pain. And pain is always bad according to the secular ethic.

So the rites of passage are lost and we are left with a generation kind of floating in a limbo zone between childhood and adulthood. Dissatisfied with life, but not sure how to put it right. The contemporary secular ethic they turn to has no answers, except for temporary release of pain in escapes to fantasies and drugs and ideologies, and people around them are not able to provide adequate guidance anymore.

Here emerges the mob. The over educated, and under ritualised mob of people, who know too much to live a plain life, but know too little to live a full and wholesome life. Stuck in this limbo they band together for a surrogate form of belonging and meaning. They don’t know what they want in life, they are only sure and in agreement on what they hate.

Thus they become infected by mass paranoia. In all of this everyone is throwing accusations at others and no one is taking responsibility for themselves and their own actions. All of the madness results from a poor process of emotional and spiritual development. Something that was once provided for by rites of passage.

This is clearly something we need to look into, because if we don’t choose to provide these things to those we care about, a watered down, generic version will one day be provided for us all compulsorily by a state that cares about us much less.



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