Humanity is a hard concept. I am not kidding. Learning to survive took thousand of years. We have no fur or scales for protection, no fangs or claws for attack. We can’t run fast, we can’t see far like the eagle, we don’t have the hearing or the sense of smell developed like say a wolf. We should be low on the food chain. Very low. Because, on top of all that, we also have a big size that makes us visible from afar to any predator.
But we are hardy. Humanity lives a long time. Right now, we average somewhere in the 80’s in the industrialized world. 80 years of life is an eternity. And we have a fast brain, a never stopping developing brain. Our hands are some of the most wonderful tools ever created by nature.
And we have ceremony.
Huh? What? This blog took a wrong turn!
No, no, hear me out. Ceremonies are absolutely vital to our survival. Let’s suppose a long winter confined in a cave or a hut. Let’s invite a tribe into that lodging, a tribe with all its accessories like food and plumbing, like fire and water. What will they do during the long month spent inside? They will create some neat stuff, yes, and make clothes and baskets and invent new ways to cook certain plants or meat. But, more importantly, they will go crazy. Slowly, as the days grow darker, as the snow isolate them more and more, as the company of each other become more burdensome and stale, slowly they will become mad. They know that eventually spring will come and the earth will be warm and inviting, but they need a little more than that certitude to bare the pressures of winter. They need a strong incentive to know there will be laughter and joy again, plenty of fresh food, of fresh air, of fresh meat. They need to know it will be about them, not necessarily the earth, just them as human, as people. In one word they need a ceremony.
Spring festival used to be at least as big as Christmas. They would have different tribes gathering, sharing the new inventions, celebrating the unions, the babies. They would cry and regret the ones that have passed, they would do contest of all sorts, the most beautiful pie, the best metallic feat, the most ingenious carpentry. And, they would top it all off with music. Music was the host of honor of any gathering. People would sing, play instruments, dance, flirt and play while the music would be floating in the air. Music was the primary ingredient of any party, as a matter of fact, it still is to these days. Humanity had it hard, but there was music. It soothed many wounds, it sowed many ties. It is what makes humanity a tribe. We might not understand each other language and body signals, we might be lost in each other traditions and customs, but we all get the rhythm, the melody, the harmony. Music is one of the essence of humanity, why it has survived and thrived for thousand of years. Plus, it’s so much fun.