“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
I have no idea who Jiddu Krishnamurti is (I will admit that I found this quote via Google specifically for the purpose of this article), but he has an interesting idea. It’s true that our brains are more challenged when we’re thrown into new environments and have to figure out previously unexplored problems or ideas. Maybe that’s why we’re so obsessed with patterns. And maybe we do rely on traditions too much, but I’d argue with my homie Jiddu that they provide important solace from the otherwise chaotic act of existing, even if it is a false sense of security.
Chaos is all around us. I’ve only recently began to realize how much we as a human race do to build a world that makes sense to us, with its own rules, etiquette, and traditions in order to make sense of all the craziness. Along with these societal traditions, we have our familial traditions and our personal traditions. Some traditions are concrete. Maybe your family goes camping every summer or eats pancakes for dinner once a month. Some traditions are more random–maybe you and your lover-friend classify passersby at the mall into the Mean Girls cafeteria tables. Maybe you and your friends have a tradition of sneaking artisanal cheese into the movie theater. I don’t know your life! But I do know that you have traditions, even if you don’t recognize them.
This time of year especially is a popular time for traditions within families. My family celebrates Christmas, so my siblings come home every year and we exchange gifts, eat a shitload of cookies, and jam out to ”Ay, Ay, Ay, It’s Christmas.”
I like to create mini-traditions for myself, too. I often break up my life into different eras, like that week when my mom and I watched Downton Abbey with bowls of squash soup every night, or my current tradition: listening to the new Beyoncé album every morning.
Without our traditions and patterns, our lives feel too out of our control. While it’s unhealthy to get stuck in a rut or adapt dangerous traditions like, for example, stealing from gas stations every Friday, or murder, most traditions are much-needed comfort to ourselves from the randomness of everything else. We are here. We are in control. On Wednesdays we wear pink.