It seem all primative cultures have rituals,,boy have to go thru "rights of passage" in some cultures even today. What do you think do these rituals that stretch way back in our history do they serve a purpose and fill some type of psychological human need?? Or should a person just turn their backs on all of it??
Is Ritual a Deep Human Need??
I was reading about this in a psychological discussion and did a brief search and found this:
Myth Resolution Through Ritual
Within the brain, the autonomic nervous system regulates and adjusts baseline body function and responds to external stimuli. It consists of two mutually inhibitory subsystems: the sympathetic or arousal system and the parasympathetic or quiescent system. The arousal system is the source of our fight or flight response, and is connected to the adrenal glands, the amygdala, and reaches into our left cerebral hemisphere. It is sometimes called the "ergotropic" system because it releases energy in the body to react to the environment. The parasympathetic or quiescent system (sometimes called the "trophotropic" system), on the other hand, conserves energy, promotes relaxation and sleep, and maintains basic body function and growth. It includes the endocrine glands, parts of the hypothalamus and the thalamus, and reaches into the right cerebral hemisphere. Although this material is highly complicated, the most important relationships to keep in mind here is that the dominant (analytical) mind is connected to the arousal system and involves the amygdala, and the non-dominant (holistic) mind is connected with the quiescent system and involves the hypothalamus and hippocampus. 28
Modulated in the Limbic System by:
amygdala and edge of hypothalamus
Related to Dominant Hemisphere
Conserves Energy, Maintains equilibrium
Modulated in the Limbic System by:
middle of hypothalamus and hippocampus
Related to Non-Dominant Hemisphere
D?Aquili and Laughlin report research that shows that when either the arousal or quiescent system is maximally stimulated it results in a "spillover effect" or a stimulation of the other system. That is, experts in meditation may experience a "rush" or a release of energy during a hyperquiescent state. From the other side, those who engage in rhythmic rituals that engage the arousal system, such as energetic dancing and singing, may experience states of bliss, tranquility, and oneness with others. 29 Hyperarousal and hyperquiescent states seem to stimulate the limbic system, which regulates our emotions. Hence, these states are experienced as being emotionally intense, and often pleasurable.
It is also during these "spillover" experiences that the paradoxes presented to the brain through myth become resolved by the simultaneous functioning of both hemispheres of the brain. In ritual stimulation of the arousal system, for example, the presentation of what is an unresolvable logical problem in the left brain (the wafer is both bread and the Body of Christ), is experienced as unified in the holistic operation of the right brain.
Ritual participants therefore may experience a resolution of the problems presented by the myth and a deep unity with other participants: "The simultaneous strong discharge of both parts of the autonomic nervous system creates a state that consists not only of a pleasurable sensation, but, also, under proper conditions, a sense of union with conspecifics and a blurring of cognitive boundaries." 30 Similarly, those who engage in meditation may report that they experience resolution of paradoxes during some meditative states, hence the famous use of such paradoxes by Zen practitioners.
Both meditation and ritual can lead to the spillover effect and the simultaneous discharge of the arousal and quiescent systems. But they come at the experience from different directions. Meditation begins with the quiescent system and by its hyperactiviation can achieve spillover into the arousal system (from trophotropic to ergotropic). Ritual approaches from the opposite system (from ergotropic to trophotropic). But there are other differences as well: The difference between meditation and ritual is that those who are adept at meditation are often able to maintain an ecstatic state for prolonged periods of time. The ecstatic state and sense of union produced by ritual are usually very brief (often lasting only a few seconds) and may often be described as no more than a shiver running down the back at a certain point. This experience, however, may be repeated at numerous focal points during the ritual. Furthermore, the ecstatic states produced by ritual, although they are usually extremely brief, seem to be available to many or most participants. The ecstatic states attained through meditation, although they may last for hours or even days, require long practice and intense discipline. 31
So ritual is more accessible and effective than meditation for large groups of people as a system for stimulating both hemispheres of the brain and thereby bringing mythic conundrums to resolution. In The Mystical Mind, d?Aquili and Newberg elaborate on the difference between these approaches, describing a complex continuum of unitary or mystical states that may arise from different types ritual or meditation, but the basic principles remain intact. Ritual is here described as a "bottom-up" technology for activating the autonomic systems; its rhythmic qualities stimulate either the arousal or quiescent systems that then affect the higher brain functions. Slow rhythms in ritual, like chant and read liturgy, primarily stimulate the quiescent system, while rapid "driving" rituals involving loud noise and body movement stimulate the arousal system. Either approach may lead to a "filling up" of the autonomic system and then a spillover effect and an altered state of consciousness. Slow ritual may lead to a hyperquiescent state and a feeling of peace or unity, and occasionally result in a spillover into the arousal state or a sense of profound energy. Similarly, fast ritual may provoke a hyperarousal state of attention and intention, sometimes spilling over into the quiescent state and a sense of bliss. They hypothesize that ritual could theoretically lead to the maximal discharge of both systems, causing hallucinations, mystical visions, or a state of Absolute Unitary Being (AUB). Finally, they note that marked ritual behavior tends to draw the attention of the amygdala, as does strong smell, which may be the biological source of the experience of religious awe. Ritual actions and the presence of incense may help neurologically for ritual to promote altered states of consciousness in its participants. 32
In summary, according to biogenetic structural analysis, humans do ritual for the same reasons other animals do them: to diminish distance between other members of the species, to coordinate group action, socialize their young, and communicate status and social structure. What is unique about human ritualizing is its connection to the human propensity to create myths. Myths themselves contain logical or story resolutions to the paradoxes of our lives, but do not solve the problem existentially because they remain only as logical or left-brain solutions. As Austin Farrer used to insist, we cannot believe very long in a God with whom we have nothing to do; faith, he wrote, "cannot be got going by stoking up the furnaces of the will." 33
hummmmmmm ... some rituals are very useful :
- Reading a magazine when you go to the john !
(when you are constipated ... to be patient ... nothing to do with god of course)
- teasing your man when you want it bad
Well there might be a few others, but well I guess we'll get some answers here
- Reading a magazine when you go to the john !
I don't think it is so much "ritual" as it is "habit".
Humans are creatures of habit. We like a stable and predictable environment. Habit Activities (rituals) help people create a sense of security and calmness.
A "morning routine" or "workout routine" or "work routine" is no different than a religious ritual.
Animals are very similar. People who have dogs or cats will notice that the animals have daily routines. They go do their "business" at about the same time and in the same way every day. They like to go "prowl the neighborhood" at the same time and using the same route every day. Anyone who has ever delivered news papers knows that the dogs all know about when you are going to come by and sit and wait for you as part of their morning routine.
my two cents...
I believe that rituals are the leftovers of celebrations of things that happened long ago. We remember these things as a world community, but not necessarily with an understanding of what started them to begin with.
Lots of people with lots of impressive degrees telling us where they think the rituals came from, but few if any bringing any proof. Then a few years later, any proof is disputed by new proof and the old proof is chucked.
Sound familiar? lol
Let's keep the cool ones and throw the other ones out.
Slow ritual may lead to a hyperquiescent state and a feeling of peace or unity, and occasionally result in a spillover into the arousal state or a sense of profound energy.
As in a catholic church.
Similarly, fast ritual may provoke a hyperarousal state of attention and intention, sometimes spilling over into the quiescent state and a sense of bliss. They hypothesize that ritual could theoretically lead to the maximal discharge of both systems, causing hallucinations, mystical visions, or a state of Absolute Unitary Being (AUB).
As in a rave.
And so, church = rave. Party on, dudes
I had never thought about this subject until this post - but yes -ritual is probably a depp human need
I think it is too. There is something important in ritual for the mind and body.
teasing your man when you want it bad
Yikes. Erm, ritual? I recommend two readings, first Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade, and an essay by Frits Staal, entitled, "The Meaninglessness of Ritual." Unfortunately I don't think its on the net. Here is a good essay which discusses Staal's groundbreaking essay: http://www.evertype.com/misc/ritual.html
Then there's Ritual de lo Habitual by Jane's Addiction...
Or should a person just turn their backs on all of it??
I don't think it matters one way or the other. Most rituals, in themselves, are harmless, and can be helpful to some.