There are rituals that we all seem to abide by often without knowing it. These rituals seem so inconspicuous when we are alone but when guests come, or when they are otherwise interrupted, they show themselves in unusual ways. If we work away from the home we tend to enjoy the workplace just a little more; or when we work at home we notice the rituals and how they are being poked at, if just a little.
This is nothing against the guests in our houses; they are welcome and enjoyed. But the little rituals in our lives are, well, just a little put out. If you have pets, especially a dog, you probably notice this. However, when our own rituals must be put on hold, the dog’s perspective doesn’t seem that strange. We, like our pets, live by rituals.
The ritual itself doesn’t really matter, it is not the ritual act that counts. Rather it is the act of having a ritual that seems important. We do things in a certain way, at a certain time. Personally, I notice this when my early morning coffee ritual is changed (read “interrupted”). Coffee itself is a ritual, not just the need and desire for caffeine. Coffee in the morning and a beer (or two) at night are explicit rituals, but what about those small, inane rituals that our lives are filled up with?
We do not notice the small moments in our lives when we are in the middle of living them. It is only when we are reminded of them that they matter. Perhaps rituals are not unlike our past: they are made and then remembered? Perhaps Hume and other philosophers are right when they state that we are nothing but a collection of memories? This may be the case, but if so then the memories themselves are rituals incognito.