Ritual can be rehabilitated in its own right by emphasizing what it
has in common with play: the ludic evocation of a simultaneous
shadow reality. What is more, ritual can be understood as an enjoyable
form of playing with realities. More than a solemn occasion,
useful because of its social and cultural functions, ritual is a festive
enactment of a counterreality. Connectionist ideas on the parallel
processing of schemas and repertoires lend themselves for mapping
the properties of ritual in its own ludic right. The human mind allows
for a rapid comparison by the parallel—and not serial or sequential—
processing of alternative schemas for thought, action, and emotion.
An ethnographic illustration is taken from a boys’ initiation ritual
among the Wagenia (Congo).