WHY BOWING SAVED THE WORLD
On bowing ‘while bending our fate’ antropologist Robert Keesing writes, in a paper from 1978 recently republished as ‘classical’, about anxiety, influencing existential fate and ‘devotional surrendering’ in human ritual (On not understanding symbols 2012):
…To be emotionally caught up in the rite you only need to know, as all Kwaio (Solomon Islands) do, that the ancestors are present and that correct enactment is a matter of life and death, prosperity or disaster… (2012, 425)
This is for me close to what Van Morrisson sings in his song ‘Sometimes We Cry‘. When in despair, getting back to point zero, to be born again demands: ‘The only thing to, do is to eat humble pie’.
Bowing is, at least temporarely, getting rid of (y)our individual and collective self-importance.
Talking about deep-scarcity on the (male) market of virtues.
How do we, as angry lost males and baffled females, find our ways back to places we were before? To reunite again
Here science and even anthropology has to bow to what we cannot conceptualize and make visible. As naturalist, early environ-mentalist and anthropologist Gregory Bateson could have said it: ‘Science without art, poetry, ritual invites demons of destruction‘.
Which reminds me of The Eagles’ Hotel California :
‘Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before’
That’s how human bowing saved and still could the world.
We need to learn again to bow, to eat humble pie.