Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Asynchronous personalization and convenience versus communal ritual

It is October 21st 2008 and I just mailed my absentee ballot yesterday for the November election. This morning there is an article in the local paper highlighting the profiles of candidates running for Washington State Superintendent of Education ( a hotly contested position ).

I use this as an example of "asynchronous personalization and convenience versus communal ritual". The media will be serving up information and disinformation within the next two weeks synchronized to work with those attending the ritual of election day poll attendance. It is interesting, beyond the domain of politics or even media influence on society, to note how being out of sync with a ritual creates a disjoint with timed information.

I am thinking of any communal ritual here. Election day poll attendance, Sunday church attendance, Ramadan, or even the timing of gift giving to a particular day (Dec 25th). I am not against: Islamic fasting, Bible study and reflection, Xmas gifts, or voting , I am emphasizing the choice between 1) just doing the action and 2) doing the action coordinated with others.

Whole writing and academic careers have been built upon promoting asynchronous individualism or communal ritualism. Both have their strengths, and we don't have to be so stupid as to side with just one for our whole lives.

I definitely become more proficient and happy in asynchrony. The advent of wide spread use of the internet in the 90's seemed to help me intellectually and to communicate with others -I went for 24 years without a phone because I hated communicating in a real time dyadic conversation, before email there was no way to get ahold of me besides writing a letter to my often changing address. I dwell well in asynchrony. But then I exist on the margins of our species and cultural boundaries.

Synchrony and ritual is knocking on my door. In the last few days my wife has opened up a quest for ritual in our lives, a sacred place to participate the sacred time of Christ Mass. [her blog entry here]

X VERSUS Y is not a tension -it is the force that propels a return of balance. I'm glad for have the powerful Gods Asynchrony and Synchrony in my life.

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