Thesis

Ritual

The objective of this thesis is to analyze the prevailing concepts regarding ritual, setting forth suggestions which may help form a more adequate understanding of ritual and its underlying symbolism. Under the impetus of Piaget, Bruner, and others, humanistic and developmental psychology have expanded their view of man's nature so that many areas formerly considered in the preserve of other disciplines are now seen as having implications for the psychology of learning and development. Of special concern to this study will be the essential nature of ritual. with reference to its place in the theory of social systems. This thesis adopts the hypothesis presented by S. P. Nagendra in The Concept of Ritual Modern Sociological Theory, published by the Academic Journals of India in 1970, which defines ritual as symbolic action, the enactment of the myth. Three areas of concern arise from the adoption of this construct and are manifested in the need for a Theory of Symbolism, a Theory of Language, and a Theory of Modes of Consciousness. New vigor is given to Nagendra's belief that ritual's meaning can be understood only dialectically by the inclusion of The General Systems Theory and the acceptance of the importance of the ongoing organization of interaction. Ritual as symbolic action is a form of communication, and as a form of communication becomes the revealing picture of my world view and my world-to-view. Thus ritual is the dynamic which infuses that which it comes in contact with, with vitality and meaningfulness, at the same time, being the very vehicle of this revelation.

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