Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chess or Sports as Ritual

Ritual is a big deal in Confucianism, but what rituals so we really have in America?

The New York Times, Sunday Jan. 12, 2008, had an article: "The Ritual of Chess, a Decoder of Life" by Dorothy Spears

There is this interesting sentence in the article:

"...the sense of chess as ritual. With continued focus and awareness, chess seductively suggests, we can decipher our chaotic landscape."

There are certain ritualistic aspects of chess, but ritual is supposed to bind a community together. High school football games are more effective at that than chess.

Our high school football team went pretty far in the state championship cycle this year. Not that I'm a football fan, but because I wanted to be a supportive member of the community, I went to all the playoff games, even traveling hours out of town.

The parents and alumni were very supportive and enthusiastic. I truly felt a part of something when I joined in with their ritualistic cheers. It was a very good experience.

We do have rituals in America, we just do not think of them that way.

And sports like football or baseball are more effective as community rituals than chess, which is very individualistic.


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