Definitions, wether of self or the other, are always dialectical. Ritual attempts to fix them, but life – the real, the natural – belies ritual. And so rituals must be reproduced in life and words. It is perhaps our longing for the fixed, the real collapsed into the symbolic, nature collapsed into ritual, that has led us in the west to see such rites as rites of passage, rites of smooth and continuous transition from one state to another, rather than as violent rites of disjunction that are in essence, and perhaps in function, purposefully disjunctive.
We should respect in the Other the same mystery we expect others to respect in ourselves. This too is a social fact.
Vincent Crapanzano, Tuhami