Toys and Reasons: Stages in the Ritualization of Experience

Toys and Reasons: Stages in the Ritualization of Experience

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Erickson postulates that a space-time orientation provided by a viable worldview is, complimentary to the inner work of the individual psyche and is attuned to its multiple functions. In a central chapter, the author links the phylogeny and the ontogeny of worldviews by describing stages in the ritualization of everyday life--that is, the interplay of customs (including the use of language) with from birth to death convey and confirm the logic of the visions predominant or contending in a society. He emphasizes the playful and yet compelling power of viable ritualization to connect individual growth with the maintenance of a vital institutions; but he also illustrates the fateful tendency of human interplay to turn into self-deception and collusion, of ritualization to become deadly ritualism--and of visions to end in nightmares of alienation and distraction. Erickson advocates the pooling of interdisciplinary insights in order to clarify the conscious and unconscious motivation which works for or against the more universal and more insightful worldview essential in a technological age.