Comforting Thought: From ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’, back to circadian rhythms and rituals

Pagan date: Litha

“The cycles of nature and the cycles of time predate the modern world. The world we currently live in is linear and about more, more, more or ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’. This way of thinking dictates that we should not miss out on anything. We are encouraged to grow throughout our lives, as a part of a lifelong learning process. As a consequence of this never-ending optimisation of ourselves, many people become trapped on a hedonistic treadmill or a hamster wheel. The results of this are clear to see in the statistics for stress, anxiety and depression.” ~ Svend Brinkmann

In the time before the industrial revolution, people had a clearer understanding of the circadian rhythms and cyclical nature of life. How the seasons worked and produced plenty during some parts of the year, and less food during other parts of the year. How animals and people went through a personal evolution from infant to child, through to adulthood, old age and death. People understood that everything had it’s time and that life was constantly changing and evolving, fraught with ups and downs some of which were not in our control. The global pandemic has shown us how true this model really is, how cyclical the world’s fate can be and how fragile we all are.

Covid has taught us that despite the implementation of processes, technology, knowledge and all of vast ways that humans have tried to remake the world – gained through historical ingenuity, that we are still fundamentally vulnerable and that the world we are in is cyclical in nature, it is not growing exponentially.

Omnia tempus habent: a delightful medieval rhyming calendar | December ~ And at Christemasse I drinke red wine
Omnia tempus habent: a delightful medieval rhyming calendar | December ~ And at Christemasse I drinke red wine

To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

Adventures on the Isle of Skye
A pagan spiral formation in Faerie Glenn where everything is miniature and enchanted. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.

~ Ecclesiastes 3

Our ancient Judeo-Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Pagan ancestors celebrated the turning of the wheel of the year in ritual, symbol and ceremony in communal ways. These rituals still go on in all parts of the world. In the form of Japanese tea ceremonies, Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, Tangis (Maori funerals), Hogmanay (Scottish new year) and countless others. These are the waypoints that mark our lives, and they are steeped in meaning.

Pagan date: Litha
Pagan date: Litha

The relentless pursuit of self-improvement, self-optimisation and growth – on the other hand, is hollow and meaningless.

From: The Joy of Missing Out by Svend Brinkmann

Svend Brinkmann

Svend Brinkmann is a Danish Professor of Psychology in the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University, Denmark. He serves as a co-director of the Center for Qualitative Studies and is the author of ‘The Joy of Missing Out’ and ‘Stand Firm’.

The Joy of Missing Out by Svend Brinkmann

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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