By Peter Case, Heather Höpfl, Hugo Letiche (eds.)
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176). Rituals are selected, remembered, or contrived on an ad hoc basis. Rituals, anthropologist Victor Turner observes, are performed to promote and increase fertility of men, crops and animals, domestic and wild; to cure illness; to avert plague; to obtain success in raiding; to turn boys into men and girls into women; to make chiefs out of commoners; to transform ordinary people into shamans and shamanins; to ‘cool’ those ‘hot’ from the warpath; to ensure the proper succession of seasons and the hunting and agricultural responses of human beings to them (Turner, 1982).
First, you would need to recognize that some desires are not natural (such as glory or wealth) and are mostly out of reach, so that striving for them makes you restless and diverts you from greater joys. Then you would start to focus on the necessary desires of existence, and learn to fulfil them very simply. Being able to feel the total pleasure of drinking a glass of water and of walking and breathing makes you able to fully appreciate each moment of existence, and teaches you to enjoy the incomparable pleasure of existence.
And rituals articulate longings into motivations for certain kinds of action outside of the ritual. Plains Indian rituals which stage Belief 23 flamboyant courage set forth motivations to fast in the wilderness, to conduct solitary raids on enemy camps and to thrill to the thought of battle. Manus rituals that dramatize moral circumspection implant in participants tendencies to honour onerous promises, to confess secret sins and to feel guilty when vague accusations are being formulated in the community.
Belief and Organization by Peter Case, Heather Höpfl, Hugo Letiche (eds.)