Love is so embarrassing. I bled in your bed. I’m sorry. I have built you a shore with all my best words & still, the waves.
∆ Claire Schwartz, from Bound
Rituals are architectures of time, structuring and stabilising life, and they are on the wane. The pandemic has accelerated the disappearance of rituals. Work also has ritual aspects. We go to work at set times. Work takes place in a community. In the home office, the ritual of work is completely lost. The day loses its rhythm and structure. This somehow makes us tired and depressed.
In The Little Prince , by [Antoine de] Saint-Exupéry, the little prince asks the fox to always visit at the exact same time, so that the visit becomes a ritual. The little prince explains to the fox what a ritual is. Rituals are to time as rooms are to an apartment. They make time accessible like a house. They organise time, arrange it. In this way you make time appear meaningful.
Time today lacks a solid structure. It is not a house, but a capricious river. The disappearance of rituals does not simply mean that we have more freedom. The total flexibilisation of life brings loss, too. Rituals may restrict freedom, but they structure and stabilise life. They anchor values and symbolic systems in the body, reinforcing community. In rituals we experience community, communal closeness, physically.
People entering a marriage are entering the ultimate sacrifice of getting your heart torn up just to feel what the word “love” feels like. But, like, love, love. Do you know what I mean? Do you know what love is? Does love come easier now that spring is here? Will you let your guard down now?