Tradition

Been thinking about tradition. Probably because of all the buzz and chatter on the topic of marriage equality. The phrase “traditional marriage” keeps coming up and I realized I wasn’t sure of the definition of “tradition,” so I looked it up.

A tradition is “a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.”

A belief or behavior. Belief/believe are words we use all the time. Again, my mini-amnesia: what is a “belief?” Well, it’s “the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.”

See, here’s the thing for me. I just don’t think “belief” is a real thing. Real in the sense the chair I’m sitting in is real (let’s skip the quantum particles thing for now). My belief change all the time. I get new information, what I believe changes. I have an experience, what I believe is affected.

I believed — with all my heart and soul — the world was flat… well, fuck me! Turns out it isn’t and never was. What I believed was wrong. Was always wrong. You get the idea. A belief is just a state of mind. Yikes! I believe that’s a snake at my feet. Uh, no, it’s a piece of rope. Let’s move on.

“…passed down within a group or society.” Because my grandpa believes in Big Foot, my pa believes in Big Foot, and now I believe in Big Foot.” I can’t think of a worse reason to believe something. If something is important, shouldn’t I be able to see and experience it first-hand and decide for myself what I think about it (at that moment in time)?

I’m way off topic. Anybody remember what I was talking about? Oh yeah, tradition.

polygamy

We have had a tradition in the United States that marriage was between a man and a woman. Except for that time and those places where it could be one man and lots of women. It was once traditional for a man to beat his wife if she disobeyed him. And on and on and on.

The question that got me thinking about this is: Why is it acceptable for a man to propose marriage but not okay for a woman to ask a man (yes, I know that sometimes happens)? Well, it’s “traditional.”

I’ve been trying to come up with some traditions that are important to me. Some practice I couldn’t or wouldn’t change. And I’m drawing a blank.