From The Outside Looking In
What will future archaeologists and anthropologists say about us? Jordan Shapiro, on beach-going and other North American rituals:
Our lives are full of habits and rituals that seem ordinary to us. However, often what seems objectively reasonable in the present looks like foolishness when seen through the lenses of a distant culture.
The lesson is not that we’re just as crazy as the ancient peoples we sometimes dismiss as primitive (although that may be true). Instead, it teaches us that we’d be wise to let mythologists and anthropologists help us analyze the unconscious motivations that drive our secular present.