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issue207

By Melvin Rice,2014-04-03 12:41
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issue207

I think the speaker overstates the function of rituals and ceremonies to the

    culture of a society. In my view, some rituals and ceremonies today is

    about a superstition and a societys religious belief. They sometimes

    reflect a societys some respects of culture and value, but their existence

    has little difference on peoples sense of who they are, or peoples identification and consciousness of themselves and their society.

    Self-consciousness of a person oneself means the persons cognition of both ones physical and spiritual traits, ones role in the society and ones relationship with others, etc. We begin to develop self-consciousness

    since we are children. American psychologist James first divided the

    process of self-consciousness into three aspects. The first aspect is

    peoples consciousness of the material self. That is peoples recognition of their bodies, the appearances, their dress, their relatives and things

    belonging to them, etc. The second aspect is the social self. That means a

    persons consciousness reputation in a society, his status, his or her

    relationship with his relatives and friend, their economical conditions and

    so on. The third aspect is the spiritual self, which means a persons consciousness about his intelligence, his personality, interests and so

    forth.

    I think James division about the self-consciousness also applies to the

    groups or societies. In terms of the groups or societies, the material self

    mean the cognition of the societys nature condition, the climate, the

location, and so on. The social self should mean the cognition of a

    societys relationship with other societies, their status, reputation and wealth among all the societies. And the third aspect, spiritual self means

    the recognition of a societys mainstream value, characteristic, traditions

    and so on.

    After the analysis above, we can see that the self-consciousness of the

    society, or the identity of its people, is fostered during the interactivities

    of different societies. The people of a society realize who they are by

    getting to know the environment of their society, by distinguishing and

    comparing the differences between their society and other society. So a

    societys self-consciousness is not much influenced by the rituals and ceremonies.

    During the past few decades, many rituals have diminished in China. For

    example, people used to like firing special paper for the dead people on

    some holidays, like the spring festival. But with time going by, such

    practices are not commonly seen in the cities. People have turn to other

    environmental ways to show respect for their ancestors. I think, in some

    sense, the obsolete of some old rituals and ceremonies is good show that

    people today have become more sensible and intelligence. Like the

    example, rituals change, but our societys inner value, respect for the

    ancestor remains unchanged.

    In conclusion, the rituals and ceremonies is a reflection of a societys

culture and value. It is the societys culture and value that determine the

    rituals and ceremonies, not the other way around. And of course, the

    rituals and ceremonies have little influence on the societys self-consciousness.

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