The Virus that Keeps on Giving: The Richness of Ritual
The Covid mitigation measures were lifted from longstanding religious purification rituals. From holy water to the biblical treatment of leprosy, it's all there and it's all cast as science.
(continued from A Plague of Biblical Proportions)
Few aspects of Wokeism scream “religion” as loudly as the ritualization of public health during Covid. It’s worth taking more than a few words to explore that critical development; though many might have doubted the religious aspects of Wokeism prior to 2020, that ritualization removed all doubt.
While it’s unclear which of the myriad Covid rituals will withstand the test of time, the enormity of the experience provided many rich opportunities. Consider, for example, the practice—popular in Woke communities during the shutdown’s earliest days—of sanitizing mail, groceries, shoes, and anything else arriving in the home from the outside world. While the Woke themselves insist that they were doing little more than spraying Lysol to kill germs, their actions were easily recognizable as standard purification rituals.
The idea that the “outside” world—whether beyond the private home or merely beyond the control of the faithful—contains impurities is quite common among history’s faith communities. Because no faith community willingly brings impurity into its midst, but every community values items or people originating elsewhere, there must be some mechanism for removing the impurity. Gestures, incantations, and blessings are all common. So too is contact with a purifying substance, such as holy water. Lysol and other spray disinfectants are mixtures consisting primarily of water with small or trace elements of other chemicals added in fixed and carefully measured quantities. Trademark law be damned! A modern faith can absolutely deploy Lysol as its holy water—and Purell as an intense form of purification applicable to body parts rather than mere objects.
The practice of stopping all commerce at your front door, declaring it potentially or likely impure, putting it in contact with a purifying agent, then declaring it fit for household use is hardly new. It is, as is much of Wokeism, a translation of standard faith concepts into contemporary—pseudoscientific—language. In the ancient world, our ignorant, superstitious, spiritual ancestors might have stopped commerce at the entrance to their encampments, declared it potentially or likely impure, sprinkled it with holy water, then declared it fit for community use—but that’s because they were ignorant and superstitious. The modern, enlightened, Woke elite would never adopt such a mindless practice. Unless and until, that is, someone translated it into Woke-resonant language. “Impurity” is a concept for boobs and dullards. “Infection” is a different matter entirely.
That early purification ritual faded quickly from most homes and businesses. Today, only the most devout Woke establishments persist. All who visit such premises are impressed with their piety. Many among the Woke concede that they too should still be availing themselves of the added safety of uniform disinfectant. Like the faithful of all traditions, however, most of the Woke are content to defer purification to special events, braving the prospects of impurity on a day-to-day basis.
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