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As drifting, alienated subjects of the postmodern world — or so anthropologists might describe us — we lack an appreciation of ritual.  

Sure, we have habits; we experience repetition in the daily and weekly rounds of (mostly) urban life. We have obsessions, compulsions, addictions. The cycle of the seasons and the annual rhythms of the calendar offer some familiarity and comfort. We have formal and informal practices of initiation into adulthood. There are birthdays and anniversaries, religious festivals and holy days...

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