Ritual starts out as neither magical or symbolic, and neither does language. But both, in decay, reach these points, and then we’re in a fix: the corpse can’t see the living being.
At first, ritual is a complete effort in the present moment. It opens up our hearts like verandah doors opening up to sunlight. It’s not for anything. Its dignity and beauty is entirely itself. Ourselves.
Then superstition arrives. We imagine that we can do something with it. Redeem a dead person. Banish ghosts. Rearrange.
And that degeneration provokes the subsequent, Protestant one. So then ritual, like its child, language, must be symbolic.
It’s hard to grasp the measure of the loss