Saturday, March 24, 2007

On Ritual and Ceremony

On the academic calendar, we draw closer to the formal and ritualistic "modi operandi" of graduation ceremonies and academic convocations. I recently came across this excerpt from C.S. Lewis's Preface to Paradise Lost, which seems to me to shed some light on the attitude of many students and faculty alike regarding the "pomp and circumstance" of ceremony and rituals.

"Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a widespread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connection with vanity or self-conceit... The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual."

C.S. Lewis, Preface to Paradise Lost