Weddings, christenings and bahmitzvahs

Posted by on Oct 30, 2006 in Uncategorized | One Comment

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On Friday night, I was at a great wedding party in Notting Hill (thanks to Nat and Nikki) and – amid the collective excitement and Lizzie’s overenthusiastic Beyonce impersonations – it struck me forcibly that we choose to mark many of the big moments of our lives with other people (see here for a blast from the British past http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/29/newsid_2494000/2494949.stm

This is true for both those life-events that more traditional societies celebrate – engagements, Weddings, Births, Funerals, coming of age, retirements, housewarmings, not to mention birthdays and anniversaries of such events – and for the newer moments like promotions, new client wins and graduations. All of these involve public celebrations if not ceremonies. Even those who have consciously chosen to leave behind organised religion (or religion of any sort) find themselves marking individual life-moments in this way. In fact, it’s hard to think of a social life which isn’t driven at least largely by such events.

And yet, many social commentators continue to focus on the decline of the traditional structures whcich generated some of these social events – see Daily Mail (various) on the decline of modern marriage – while at the same time we still persist in imagining that it is as individuals that we are to pursue our happiness, spending millions on the shrink’s couch every year. And on a variety of self-development programmes and techniques to ‘actualise’ our ‘true’ individual selves.

Rather than recognising that at heart we are and always have been a social animal – we are made by our interaction with others (Freud wasn’t wrong about that much), from the moment we are born to the day we die…

As Ghandi put it ‘Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being’

Now back to the dancing…

1 Comment

  1. Cara Fletcher
    August 1, 2007

    Weddings are the moment of the biggest joy for a woman and that’s why always want them to be perfect.This is a day we have dreamt our whole life after all.