Friday, October 2, 2015

first we bow, mr Bean

It is too often quite cheerfully assumed that exposure to the idiosyncrasies of other cultures lends one the necessary perspective to discern the baselessness of human ritual in general. Having mastered both handshakes and bowing, both might reveal themselves as equally hollow gestures.
Yet the pride of mastering new modes of behavior, combined with the practical implications of access to new avenues of social exploitation, provides that any individual who gains such knowledge also becomes even more heavily invested in the formality and formulaicy of habitual interaction.
Beware the well-traveled, the expatriate, the journalist, the anthropologist. The master of social forms will be even more loathe to surrender an arsenal of acquired ritual than we less armed in the social arena.

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