I recently heard Jordan Peterson discuss a major issue with my generation. Many millennials do not believe it is necessary to get married in order to affirm their relationship with another being. What was Peterson’s response to this issue? He pointed out that you should make a vow to the person you hope to spend the rest of your life with, you should mark it with beautiful ceremony in front of those you care about. Finally he said, if you don’t want to include God in that ceremony that is your business but good luck filling that hole.
This is not an atheist shaming post. It’s a millennial shaming post. One of the founders of social theory points out that the world is broken up into the sacred and the profane. That the sacred is what unites, binds, and inspires. Furthermore, he points out that there is a “collective effervescence” in the thoughts or actions of society from time to time. Or in other words, there is an opportunity for a group or community to come together, unite, bind, and inspire in order to create something beautiful. This is what ceremony and ritual are made of.
At the same time, we have an extremely profane mindset that has eradicated opportunities to participate in collective effervescence across the world. This profane mindset is a consequence of a postmodern society. The more technology and comfort increase the baseline for the standard of living, the more we are able to sever ties with society. We retreat into hollow caves of social media and separate ourselves from the world blaming busy schedules or worse the threat of disease. When that very thing we need most is to reach out and share a moment of beauty with the rest of our species.
My generation and our parent’s generation have created holes all over. We have turned so far away from participating in ritual and submitting to conformity that it has begun to eradicate the fabric of our lives. We dig ourselves deeper and deeper into isolation blaming others for the outcome when we’re left standing with a massive gap in our lives that needs filling. Even worse, some of us become completely consumed by that gap. We are absorbed by the whole and the process of digging that hole has separated us from any chance at rescue.
We all have holes, gaps, and weak points. We can attempt to fill them on our own but we find the attempt to do so a much easier feat with the assistance of others. Finding it easier makes us more willing to entertain the thought. Surround yourself with people you can depend on to help you fill the holes in your life. Remind yourself that you turn away sacred rituals and willingness to participate in groups and organizations at your own peril.
John McCarthy is a Father, Son, Husband and former Marine Infantry Officer. He serves his local community and just wants to push people to be better humans. Check out the Tough Talk Podcast and other writings on this website to learn more.