Indigenous North America (1977) & Indigenous British Isles (1980)

LUMPENPROLETARIAT—A basic web search asserts that a “ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion”. The word may be of Etruscan origin, via the Latin caerimonia.  A good Institutionalist would take umbrage to the past-binding aspects of ceremonial behaviour, which inhibit human capacity for transformative production, healing, and reproduction.  Yet, sheer cold and efficient technological advance without compassion and equanimity cannot sustain a healthy human condition free from wanton suffering.

Suffering can be inflicted exogenously, from without.  And suffering can be inflicted endogenously, from within.  Invariably, humans suffer within because the ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ or ‘funk’ or ‘psychological’ behavior-thought feeling (BTF) patterns are in distress.  We become trapped in the past or the uncertainty of the future.  Taken out of the present moment—the here and now—we become unable to see clearly.  Our perceptions become distorted.  The human condition gets the blues.  We become inconsolable, downtrodden, the underclass.  We suffer PTSD.  We survive.  We’re squeezed.  The human condition suffers from a broken heart in the face of injustice and injury sans sufficient strongheartedness.

“Manchester in the late 1970s/early 1980s was a real grim sort of industrial waste land. You know? There was nothin’ outside—nothin’ outside to look at or enjoy. So, you went inside yourself.” —Bernard Sumner on deindustrialisation, capitalist decline, and alienation.

It seems only compassion can heal and allow societal advance in a way which reduces suffering.  Compassion is not defined by feelings of empathy for the suffering of others.  Compassion is the capacity to act upon one’s feelings of empathy for the suffering of others and practice mindful solutions, which can remove or heal the suffering of others.  Even Institutionalists didn’t rule out all ceremony.  What do the Marxist/Marxian perspectives say about ceremony or spirituality or human development?


“This is why events unnerve me,

They find it all, a different story,

Notice whom for wheels are turning,

Turn again and turn towards this time,

All she asks’s the strength to hold me,

Then again the same old story,

Word will travel, oh, so, quickly,

Travel first and lean towards this time.


“Oh, I’ll break them down, no mercy shown

Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time,

Watching her, these things she said,

The times she cried,

Too frail to wake this time.


“Oh, I’ll break them down, no mercy shown,

Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time,

Avenues all lined with trees,

Picture me and then you start watching,

Watching forever, forever,

Watching love grow, forever,

Letting me know, forever.”

—”Ceremony” (1980) by Joy Division

Ceremony (1977)

“I will tell you something about stories,

[he said]

They aren’t just entertainment.

Don’t be fooled.

They are all we have, you see,

all we have to fight off

illness and death.


“You don’t have anything

if you don’t have the stories.


“Their evil is mighty

but it can’t stand up to our stories.

So they try to destroy the stories

let the stories be confused or forgotten.

They would like that

They would be happy

Because we would be defenseless then.


“He rubbed his belly.

I keep them here

[he said]

Here, put your hand on it

See, it is moving.

There is life here

for the people.


“And in the belly of this story

the rituals and the ceremony

are still growing.



What She Said:

The only cure

I know

is a good ceremony,

that’s what she said.



—from Ceremony (1977, pp. 2-4) by Leslie Marmon Silko

“Author Leslie Marmon Silko was born in Albuquerque in 1948, of mixed ancestry—Laguna Pueblo, Mexican, and white.  She grew up in the Laguna Pueblo Reservation where she lives with her husband and two children.  She is the author of the novel Almanac of the Dead, and her stories have appeared in many magazines and collections (including Writers of the Purple Sage).  She is the recipient of a five-year MacArthur Foundation Grant” (Silko 1977).

Causal fallacy?  Non causa pro causa? Or celebration of serendipity?

-Messina (last updated 5 APR 2015 02:58 CDT)