Rituals are actions performed by people that bring higher — and perhaps illogical, magical, and delightful — meaning into their experiences.
Rituals help people to make sense of their life-stages, to construct meaning at personal and societal levels, and to color their rather uneventful ordinary lives. They can take many forms: performed by individuals or by groups, in loud and dramatic scales or small and intimate ones. Rituals often resemble a dramatic staging, with roles, symbols, props, and enactments.
Objects are not just what we think they are. They are not only passive elements that exert a specific function during a determined time, but also are active entities that effect the contexts and lives of other beings, creating complex dynamic processes as they are transformed and spread through the world. Despite being inert entities, if we think of their emergence, mobilization, grouping, degrees of transformation and other characteristics throughout their existence, these patterns remind us of the dynamics that govern the existence of certain living organisms.
The Invisible Effect of Objects
The value we place in certain objects relies solely on their invisible effects - i.e. those that are emotional / psychological / intuitive rather than physically apparent. Consumer society plays on the notion that we believe in the invisible effects of new things we buy, and have come to accept that these will fade or not materialize at all after purchase. However some objects have invisible effects that do stay.
old wives tales
Imagine that you are walking across a desolate moor. The land that stretches out into the distance is empty and spacious, coloured by subdued shades of brown and green against the grey backdrop of the sky. The air is still and mild with a refreshing mist. A reflective mood descends as you settle into the rhythm of a quiet pace. A feeling of longing forever to be in the pleasurable solitude of the moor combines with pangs of loneliness. Specific memories and thoughts may come into play; perhaps memories of living near that place long ago. there is some pleasure felt in recollecting the good times, but along with it, almost in equal measure, comes sadness from the missing the place itself. The desire to prolong the emotion is strong, and you indulge in the rich feelings by cultivating the mood and lingering in it.
∆ Emily Brady and Arto Haapala, from “Melancholy as an Aesthetic Emotion,” Contemporary Aesthetics (vol. 1, 2003)