Rituals

Rituals are reinforced and deep-rooted. Traditions as the connection with the past are determining rituals. Therefore, it is not easy to form them as part of the common culture, while in an individual’s life, rituals are much more flexible, more resilient and works like a tangible tool to look at ourselves. As a therapeutic tool, it can help us design our own lives and process our traumas. This is the power and importance of rituals. If we learned to observe our rituals, we could be more aware of our lives. And awareness is a skill. If we develop it against something, it affects other aspects of our lives. If we are more aware in rituals, we can use this skill to understand our relationships, decisions, social role, and politics. We can learn to see whether and how a political and economic system serves and does not serve our happiness. If I can learn anything from my dissertation about the impact of the consumer revolution on wedding rituals, then the point is that economic changes are intertwined with cultural changes. And the reason why the consumer revolution has been so successful is that, in addition to being ideologically convinced of the beneficial effects of consumption on society, people have quickly and simply experienced its benefits in their personal lives. Inevitably more of their basic needs were satisfied than ever in the past. The sustainability transition can only become mainstream if people can feel in their bones that the change will lead to real quality improvement in their lives.

And if in the upcoming decades, humanity would be forced to produce fewer consumer goods anyway, because it either chooses so by its own will or because the ecological and social framework of human life does not allow it anymore, then a society, where consumption is still the primary source of joy, is doomed to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. So, cultural change is an inevitable coping strategy. The question is whether we take the step voluntarily or by force.