Earlier this year I sat next to a Nigerian named Obi while traveling by plane. We were discussion ritual and commitment. He invoked the metaphor of expectation being a piece of yarn. When you think of it as an infinite piece of yarn, expectation is less of a burden.
He objected to my use of the word commitment because he said commitment is work, effort. And he is right, not all of our commitments require work, in fact most commitments probably come to us quite easily.
Daoists created book length lists of all the various types of entities one could make a covenant with. They viewed the ability to make commitments as part of the definition of humanness. A covenant is a type of commitment.
Ritual is time. I think I read something like that in Lagerwey.
All human conduct can be viewed as ritual. This leads to a social thought perspective because it recognizes the non-spontainious, gigantic group action of millions of people bathing or drinking coffee, or practicing gongfu. Describing human conduct as ritual exposes that all types of action can be divided into smaller units of action, or time (perhaps measured by ritual itself), and linked to other simular actions by other people.
Obi is really optimistic. He said that his optimism comes his world view.
I ask the question: which is the more important enlightenment institution, the coffee shop or the University? And why? The accumulation of knowlede verses Itâ€™s free exchange. The predictable environment verses the spontainious one.
I use the term coffee shop in its historical sense, the current institution where ideas are exchanged freely and spontaneously is the internet.