As the impediments toward rationalization were removed, organizations and institutions were restructured on the principle of maximum efficiency and specialization, while older, traditional i. The irony of the Protestant Ethic as one stage in this process is that the rationalization of capitalist business practices and organization of labour eventually dispensed with the religious goals of the ethic. Phenomenology seeks to describe the way in which all phenomena, including religion, arise as perceptions within the immediate sensorial experience and awareness of individual subjects.
Phenomenologists study the ways in which the world, and ourselves within it, first come to presence in experience and only later become separate objects, social structures or selves. Religion is only secondarily a structure, institution, practice, or set of beliefs. How do humans go from the flux of immediate perception to a religious worldview? For Berger, religion is a particular type of culture Berger In order for humans to survive, the world must be culturally prepared as a world in which things and people have stable meanings.
Culture, Berger argues, exists therefore as an artifice that mediates between humans and nature and provides needed stability and predictability in human life. From the phenomenological point of view, culture enables both the ongoing creation of the world as a stable, objective social reality outside the subject and the simultaneous creation, or interiorization, of social roles and social expectations within the subject.
Religion develops because the stability of culture is inherently fragile. Just as the immediate experience of the individual is subject to flux and change, so is the foundation of the ordered, meaningful world of culture. Cultural meanings tend to be fixed and rigid through time, whereas the underlying reality they describe is not. Events occur that are not explainable.
They fall outside the categories and threaten to put the whole cultural framework or nomos into question. Religion comes into existence as a solution to this problem. Religion is able to resolve the threat of instability and terror of anomie by postulating a supernatural agency or cosmological view of the world, which are unaffected by everyday inconstancy and uncertainty. In a religious cosmology the order described by culture is the natural order, that is, it is the way the gods have decided things must be. Things that occur that cannot be explained in human terms are explained as the products of divine will.
Religion is therefore a source of ultimate legitimation because it provides the social order with an unquestionable foundation of legitimacy: the way things are is the will of the gods. From a phenomenological point of view however, the price of this religious solution is a mode of forgetfulness and alienation. For the legitimation effect of religion to work and be plausible, humans must forget that they themselves have created religion.
They must forget that religion is a human accomplishment. In The Sacred Canopy, Berger argued that the processes of secularization will eventually erode the plausibility of religious belief. For religion to function as a sacred canopy and ultimate legitimation, it must provide the foundation for a shared belief system. In modern societies however, other types of knowledge and expert systems like science assume greater authority to describe the nature of the world and our role within it. As we will see below in Section Despite the dominant expectation that modern societies were becoming ever more secular, Stark believed that religion was, and would continue to be, an important and influential factor for individuals and society.
Stark notes that church membership and new religious movements have actually increased in the United States as the country modernized. In Europe, where religious participation is relatively low, levels of individual belief nevertheless remain high and participation has not undergone a long-term decline Stark, b.
What explanation can be provided for the persistence of religion? Stark begins with the stipulation that the importance of the supernatural must be recognized when studying religion. Belief in a higher force or power is the feature that distinguishes religions from non-religious beliefs and organizations.
Any theory of religion must take this into account. Stark attempts to answer this question by proposing a number of basic, general rules about humans and their behavior. Rational choice theory states that the most basic human motive is individual self-interest, and that all social activities are a product of rational decision making in which individuals continuously weigh the benefits of choices against their costs Scott, A person who has a choice between two jobs, for example, would weigh the rewards of each one such as higher pay or better benefits against the possible costs of longer work hours or further commutes.
Individuals will on balance choose the course of action that maximizes their rewards and minimizes their costs. In this sense, even seemingly irrational decisions or beliefs can be understood as rational choices from the point of view of the individual decision maker Stark, a. Religious belief in the supernatural may seem irrational from an outside perspective because it involves an orientation to invisible, supernatural powers that affect the everyday material world through unobservable mechanisms.
However, for the religious believer whose worldview is shaped by this assumption, it is completely rational that they would choose to worship and make offerings to these supernatural powers in the hopes of gaining rewards and avoiding wrath or misfortune. Moreover, by participating in religious practice, people also surround themselves with other believers who make the rationality of supernatural choices even more plausible. According to Stark, the rewards people desire most intensely are often scarce or not available at all, such as an end to suffering or eternal life. Consequently, when such rewards cannot be attained through direct means, humans will create and exchange compensators.
These are promises or IOUs of a reward at an unspecified future date, along with an explanation of how they can be acquired. Stark argues that rewards such as these are so monumental and scarce that they can only be provided through a supernatural source. This is why religious belief persists. In other words, a person must believe that a supernatural power exists which is capable of providing this reward in order to rationally believe that it is attainable. In this sense, religious belief and practice are rational choices humans make to get the most coveted rewards regarding human existence.
Religious organizations function to provide compensators for these rewards by claiming to provide access to supernatural powers or deities. For Stark, this is the root of why religion continues to exist in the modern world, and why it will continue to persist. By using a positivist approach, Stark creates a theory where every proposition, including this one, can in principle be tested.
The proposition above could be verified by examining the number of gods and their powers in the religions of small, traditional societies and comparing that to the number of gods worshipped in more established, modern ones. In reality however, many of the propositions are difficult to test because the concepts he uses are hard to measure or compare between religions. How does one empirically quantify the scope of a certain god and compare it to that of an unrelated god from a different religion?
His theory has also been critiqued for having an inherent bias towards monotheistic and particularly Protestant Christian measures of religion Carroll, In other words, he places higher value on measures of religiosity that fit the Protestant model, such as belief and adherence to doctrine, over those that better describe other religions, such as the ritual aspects of Hinduism or Catholicism. His work may then implicitly suggest that Protestants are more religious than the others based on these skewed measures of religiousness.
Feminist theories of religion analyze and critique the ways in which sacred texts and religious practices portray and subordinate—or empower—women, femininity, and female sexuality Zwissler, The crucial insight into religion that forms the basis for feminist research is the gendered nature of religion Erikson, Feminists therefore argue that questions about gender are essential for a meaningful analysis and explanation of religion.
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In one line of inquiry, feminist theorists of religion have analyzed the representation of women within sacred religious texts, identifying and critiquing the way women are portrayed. For example, the gender of the deity is an issue for women, particularly in the monotheistic Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism Zwissler, God, within these religious beliefs, is usually understood as male.
The question this raises is whether religion is therefore the direct cause of misogyny —the aversion or distaste for people of the female sex, including belittling, sexual objectification, sexual violence, and discrimination against women—or whether male-dominated religious practices are the product of broader gendered inequalities and societal norms outside of religion Zwissler, ? A second line of inquiry focuses on why power relationships within religious institutions are typically gendered Erikson, Feminist theorists note that women are frequently prevented from holding positions of power within religious practice.
Ministers, imams, rabbis, buddhas, and Brahmin priests are positions within religious hierarchies which have traditionally excluded women. Despite this, cross-culturally women are proportionately more religious than men. This can be seen as a paradox within feminist religious studies. Placed along two axes see Figure The challenges faced by women are different within each religion, and therefore the strategies women of faith use to change or work within their respective religion may vary. Being an interdisciplinary perspective, feminism brings a diversity of voices into the discussion, illuminating important issues of inequality, oppression, and power imbalance, all of which are of great importance to the study of sociology.
Through analysis of the gender structures within religious practices worldwide, a deeper understanding of how different cultures and traditions function is revealed. The understanding that women frequently do not identify as being oppressed by their religion is an important insight in trying to fully understand the nature of gendered religious practice on a global scale.
Religion has historically been a major impetus to social change. In early Europe, the translation of sacred texts into everyday, non-scholarly language empowered people to shape their religions. Disagreements between religious groups and instances of religious persecution have led to mass resettlement, war, and even genocide. To some degree, the modern sovereign state system and international law might be seen as products of the conflict between religious beliefs as these were founded in Europe by the Treaty of Westphalia , which ended the Thirty Years War. As outlined below, Canada is no stranger to religion as an agent of social change.
Nevertheless debate continues in sociology concerning the nature of religion and social change particularly in three areas: secularization, religious diversity, and new religious movements. Secularization refers to the decline of religiosity as a result of the modernization of society. This is a large increase from the , Canadians who claimed no religious affiliation in the Statistics Canada census Statistics Canada, Sociologists suggest that it is important to distinguish between three different types of secularization: societal secularization, organizational secularization, and individual secularization.
The move to ordinate female ministers to reflect the growing gender equality in society or the use of commercial marketing techniques to attract congregations are examples. Individual secularization is the decline in involvement in churches and denominations or the decline in belief and practice of individual members. As we saw earlier in the chapter, the equation of secularization with modernity has been the view of many important sociologists including Marx, Durkheim, and Weber.
But in more recent years there has been a growing number of sociologists who question the universality of the process of secularization and propose that contemporary society is going through a period of religious revitalization. Similarly, Fink and Stark have argued that Americans, at least, actually became more religious as American society modernized. Even in Europe, where church attendance is very low, they suggest that religious practice is stable rather than in long term decline and that people still hold religious beliefs like the belief in God or life after death.
However, Canada, like most of Europe, appears to be an exception to the trend of religious resurgence, meaning there has been less of an emergence of new and revived religious groups, as opposed to the U. Prior to the s Canada was a more religious nation than the United States, now it is much less religious by any standard measure. Rather than a progressive and continuous process of secularization, Bibby argues that there have been three consecutive trends in Canada since the s: secularization, revitalization and polarization. After a period of steady secularization between the s and measured by levels of church attendance , Bibby presents evidence of revitalization in the s including small increases in weekly or monthly attendance for different age groups.
He also notes the four fold increase of non-Christians Muslims, Buddhists, Jews in Canada since the s, the high level of spiritual belief among people who do not attend church, the way that many people retain connections with churches for special occasions, and surveys that report that many would consider attending regularly if organizational or personal factors could be addressed. Since the s, Bibby describes a third trend of polarization, with the public increasingly divided into opposite poles of the highly religious and the non-religious.
Overall it can be said that understanding secularization and desecularization is an essential part of the sociological analysis of religion. Knowing the relationship between modernity and religion provides insight into the complex dynamics of the late modern world and allows sociologists to predict what is to come for religion in the future. The question is whether secularization necessarily accompanies modernization or whether there is a cyclical process between secularization and religious revivalism.
Are secular or non-secular societies the exceptions to the dominant trend of modern society? In other words, in modern societies there is neither a steady one-way process of secularization nor a religious revitalization, but a growing diversity of belief systems and practices. The practice of religion in Canada is ever changing and has recently become increasingly diverse.
Religious diversity can be defined as a condition in which a multiplicity of religions and faiths co-exist in a given society Robinson, Because of religious diversity, many speculate that Canada is turning into a Post-Christian society , in the sense that Christianity has increasingly become just one among many religious beliefs, including the beliefs of a large number of people who claim no religion.
For those who report having a Christian heritage, only a minority can articulate the basic elements of Christian doctrine or read the bible on a regular basis. To an ever greater extent, Christianity no longer provides the basic moral foundation for Canadian values and practices. Canada appears to moving towards a much more religiously plural society.
This is not without its problems however. Religious diversity in Canada has accelerated in the last twenty years due to globalization and immigration. There were only a handful of members from the other main world religions. Other religions during this time such as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus only made up a negligible percentage of the population. With the opening up of immigration to non-Europeans in the s, this began to change. In the 21st century, religion in Canada has become increasingly diverse. Including the various Protestant denominations Statistics Canada surveyed 80 different religious groups in Canada in Statistics Canada, Religious diversity does not only include the increased number of people who participate in non-Christian religions.
During its first appearance, approximately four percent of the population in Canada identified as religiously unaffiliated. By , that number had increased nearly a quarter, rising to about 24 percent Pew Research Center, Canadians have had varying responses to religious diversity. On an individual level, while many accept religious beliefs other than their own, others do not.
Individuals are either open to embracing these differences or intolerant of the varying viewpoints surrounding them.
Wuthnow describes three types of individual response to religious diversity. Firstly there are those who fully embrace the religious practices of others, to the point of creating hybrid beliefs and practices. Christians might practice yoga or Eastern meditation techniques, for example.
Secondly, there are those who tolerate other religions or accept the value of other religious beliefs while maintaining religious distinctions intact. This can manifest in the range of negative individual responses to Muslim women who wear a hijab or headscarf for example. On a societal level, there are three main types of social response to religious diversity: exclusion, assimilation and pluralism. Exclusion occurs when the majority population does not accept varying or non-traditional beliefs, and therefore believe that other religions should be denied entry into their society.
The exclusionary response tends to happen when a society that identifies with a previously homogeneous faith community is confronted with the spread of religious diversity. On the other hand, the Canadian policy towards Jews was exclusionary until relatively recently. Universities like McGill and the University of Toronto had quota systems that restricted the number of Jewish students until the s.
Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the s were brutally turned away by Canadian officials. A step beyond exclusion is assimilation. An example of assimilation in Canada is the history of Aboriginal spiritual practices like the sun dance, spirit dance and sweat lodge ceremonies. Between and midth century these practices were outlawed and suppressed by both the Canadian state and Church organizations. They were seen as counter to the project of assimilating First Nations people into Christian European society and a settled, agricultural way of life Waldram, Herring and Young, In and , first a pass system and then an outright ban on leaving reserves were imposed on Plains Indian people to prevent them from congregating for Sun Dances, where they sought to honour the Great Spirit and renew their communities.
The most accommodating response to religious diversity is pluralism. Pluralism is the idea that every religious practice is welcome in a society regardless of how divergent its beliefs or social norms are. This response leads to a society in which religious diversity is fully accepted Berry, Today pluralism is the official response to religious diversity in Canada and has been institutionalized through the establishment of Multicultural policy and the constitutional protections of religious freedoms. However, some thorny issues remain when the values of different religious groups clash with each other or with the secular laws of the criminal code.
The right to follow Sharia law for Muslims, the right to have several wives for Mormons, the right to carry ceremonial daggers to school for Sikhs, the right to refuse to marry homosexual couples for Christian Fundamentalists, are all issues that pit fundamental religious freedoms against a unified sovereign law that applies to all equally. The acceptance of religious diversity in the pluralistic model is not without its problems.
For example, one pluralistic strategy for managing the diversity of beliefs has been to regard religious practice as a purely private matter. In order to avoid privileging one religious belief system over another in the public sphere, e. All religious faiths and practices are equal, included and accommodated as long as they remain private. In the guise of implementing pluralism, the attempt to secularize the public sphere artificially restricts it Connelly, Religious freedom and diversity keeps the religious life of Canadians interesting.
The full acceptance of religious differences may take some time, however studies show that Canadians are moving in this direction. The evidence is that as people become more exposed to religious diversity and interact with people of other religions more frequently, they become more accepting of beliefs and practices that diverge from their own Dawson and Thiessen, While veiling continues to be practiced by Muslim women, and is more often associated with Islam than with other religious traditions, the practice of veiling has been integral to all three monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Christian and Jewish women wear headscarves as a cultural practice or commitment to modesty or piety, particularly in religious sects and cultural traditions like the Amish or Hutterites for example. Today, we know the hijab to be worn as a headscarf covering the whole head and neck, while leaving the face uncovered. The niqab is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear and is worn accompanying the hijab. The burka is a one-piece loose fitting garment that covers the head, the face and entire body, leaving a mesh screen to see through. There is a popular belief among Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Islam dictates veiling upon Muslim women.
Furthermore, there is a parallel belief among both Muslims and non-Muslims that the prescription of veiling is stated clearly in the Koran, the Holy Book of Islam. As to the question of whether or not it is obligatory for women to wear hijab, the Koran states that women should cover their bosoms and wear long clothing, but does not specifically say that they need to cover their faces or hair Koran, But the best garment is the garment of righteousness.
The hijab as we know it today, is not mentioned specifically in the Koran. The prophet Mohammed was once asked by a woman if it was okay for women to go to prayers without their veils. Critics of the veiling tradition argue that women do not wear the veil by choice, but are forced to cover their heads and bodies.
Purdah is part of the Pushtunwali or customary law in which women are regarded as the property of men. It is significant that following the Iranian revolution in and the seizing of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban in , the new Islamist governments forced unveiled women to wear the hijab in Iran and the burqa in Afghanistan as one of the first policies enacted to signal the Islamization of cultural practices.
Muslim women who choose to wear coverings are seen as oppressed and without a voice. However, Muslim women choose to wear the hijab or other coverings for a variety of reasons. Many daughters of Muslim immigrants in the West contend that they choose to wear the veil as a symbol of devotion, piety, religious identity and self-expression. Zayzafoon, Through their interpretation of the Koran, they believe that God has instructed them to do so as a means of fulfilling His commandment for modesty, while others wear it as a fashion statement.
Furthermore, studies have shown that for some women, the hijab raises self-esteem and is used as form of autonomy. Some Muslim women do not perceive the hijab to be obligatory to their faith, while others wear the hijab as a means of visibly expressing their Muslim identity. Unfortunately this association has also occasionally resulted in the violent assaults of Muslim women wearing hijab.
By making assumptions about the reasons women have for veiling, the freedom of these women to wear what they feel is appropriate and comfortable is taken away. Most people view the hijab as cultural or religious, but for some, it carries political overtones. Muslim women who wear the hijab to communicate their political and social alliance with their birth country do so by challenging the prejudices of the Western world.
Wearing hijab is also used as a tool to protest Western feminist movements which present hijab-wearing women as oppressed or silenced. Although the principles of modesty are distinctly outlined in the Koran, some Muslim women perceive the wearing of the headscarf as a cultural interpretation of these scriptures, and choose to shift their focus internally to build a deeper spiritual relationship with God. While wearing hijab granted women in the past to engage outside the home without bringing attention to them, the headscarf in modern Western society has an adverse effect by attracting more attention to them which ultimately contradicts the hijabs original purpose.
Despite the assumptions of secularization theory and some of the early classical sociologists that religion is a static phenomenon associated with fixed or traditional beliefs and lifestyles, it is clear that the relationship of believers to their religions does change through time. We discussed the emergence of the New Religious Movements or cults above for example. Especially in the s and s, cults represented particularly intense forms of religious experimentation that spoke to widespread feelings of dissatisfaction with materialism, militarism and conventional religiosity.
They were essentially new religious social forms. Below we will examine the rise of fundamentalism as another new religious social form that responds to issues of globalization and social diversity. Sociologists note that the decline in conventional religious observance in Canada, Europe and elsewhere has not necessarily entailed a loss of religious or spiritual practices and beliefs per se Dawson and Thiessen, Secondly, the orientation to these beliefs and practices has also changed. New Age spirituality — the various forms and practices of spiritual inner-exploration that draw on non-Western traditions e.
Dawson has characterized this new religious sensibility in terms of six key characteristics:. At the same time, the basic questions of fate, suffering, illness, transformation and meaning have not been satisfactorily answered by science or other secular institutions, which creates a continued demand for religious or spiritual solutions. With the above stereotypes, it is easy to overlook the beliefs, rituals, and origins of Rastafarianism as a religion.
Through the popularization of reggae music and artists like Bob Marley, the style of Rastafarianism has globalized though many do not know there is more to the movement than the outward appearance of its members. Today, most followers of Rastafarianism are in Jamaica, although smaller populations can be found in several countries including Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, Ethiopia and Israel. He said that a King would soon be crowned to liberate black people from the oppression caused by slavery. This was an event with more than just political significance. Many black Jamaicans regarded the coronation of Ras Tafari Makonnen as the inauguration of a new era of spiritual redemption for dispossessed Africans after centuries of colonization, cruelty, oppression and slavery.
With the fall of Babylon, Rastas believed there would be a reversal in slavery-based social hierarchy. Black people would then take their place as spiritual and political leaders the way God Jah intended them too. One of the central religious beliefs of Rastafarians is that the Christian Bible describes the history of the African race Waters, In the prophecy of Zion, Rastas strive to return to Zion to leave the oppressive, exploitative, materialistic western world of Babylon where they will attain a life of heaven on earth, a place of unity, peace, and freedom. However, like many of the spiritual movements of late modernity, Rastafarianism does not emphasize doctrine, church attendance, or being a member of a congregation.
There are several key sacraments or religious rituals that Rasta practice to achieve this direct experience. Groundation Day is celebrated on April 21st to remember the day that Haile Selassie 1 sacred Ethiopian emperor visited Jamaica. On this day Rastafarians chant, pray, feast, and create music as celebration. Achieving higher consciousness through ritual means enables participants in reasoning sessions to re-evaluate their positions, overcome the confines of their false sense of self or ego , and reach higher truths through consensus.
Smoking Cannabis Ganja also plays an important role in many Rastafarian rituals, although it is not mandatory. Cannabis use is considered sacred and is usually accompanied with biblical study and meditation. The custom of wearing dreadlocks — long, uncombed locks of hair — also has religious significance to Rastafarians Stanton, Ramsamy, Seybolt, and Elliot, Dreadlocks dreads have political significance as a protest against Babylon because they symbolize the natural, non-industrial lifestyle of the Rastas Fisher, Dreadlocks also have several spiritual meanings.
They conform to the style worn by traditional Ethiopian warriors and priests and thus represent the power of their African ancestors. From a sociological point of view, Rastafarianism has to be understood as a New Religious Movement broadly defined in the context of the social and racial conditions of Jamaica in the 20th century. It is significant that it blends spiritual motifs of dread and redemption from the Christian bible with the anti-colonial, anti-racist politics of Third World activists like Marcus Garvey.
The belief system therefore provides a religious inflection to the material circumstances black Jamaicans face due to the history of colonial oppression.
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It is a claim to status as much as a path to spiritual transformation. Another extreme fundamentalist group, the Westboro Baptist Church, picket the funerals of fallen military personnel Hurdle, , of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings Linkins, , and even of the brutal greyhound bus stabbing in Winnipeg, Canada CBC News, The public demonstrations of the Ultra-Orthodox men and the Westboro Baptist Church provide a platform for these groups to disseminate their beliefs, mobilize supporters and recruit new followers.
However, the controversial protests also attack routine norms of civility — the right of 8 year old girls to walk to school unmolested by adult men; the solemnity of funeral rites and the mourning processes of the bereaved — and lead to communal disruption and resentment, as well as the alienation of these groups from broader society. One of the key emblems of the contemporary rise of religious fundamentalism is that conflicts, whether they are playground disagreements or extensive political confrontations, tend to become irreconcilable when fundamental beliefs are at the core of said disputes.
These types of issue are one of the defining features of the contemporary era. Unlike discussions relating to secular business or political interests, fundamentalist beliefs associated with religious ideology seem non-negotiable and therefore prone to violent conflict. The rise of fundamentalism also poses problems for the sociology of religion.
For many decades theorists such as Berger , Wilson ; and Bruce argued that the modernization of societies, the privatization of religion, and the global spread of religious and cultural pluralism meant that societies would continue to secularize and levels of religiosity would steadily decline. However, other theorists such as Hadden ; , Stark ; and Casanova ; have recently begun to reconsider the secularization thesis. They argue that religious diversity and pluralism have sparked new interpretations of religion and new revivals of religiosity.
In other words, these new sociological interpretations of religion propose that rather than withering away, fundamentalist groups will continue to thrive because they offer individuals answers to ultimate questions and give meaning to a complicated world. Interestingly enough, in his later works, Berger abandoned his original theory of secularization. The Pew Research Center has recently presented some interesting findings that can also provide a general sense of what the future for religious fundamentalism may hold.
While it is not clear from this research how many Muslims hold fundamentalist beliefs per se eg. Wahhabi, Salifi, etc. How does the sociology of religion explain the rise of fundamentalist belief in an increasingly modern, global society then? The answer that sociologists have proposed is that fundamentalism and religious revivalism are modern.
These pamphlets were not a return to pre-modern traditionalism however. They were an explicit response to modern forms of rationality, including the trend towards historical and scientific explanations of religious certainties. A response, because of their defensively orientated motivation to challenge the modernist movement; and a product, because of their use of modern techniques of mass communication and commercial promotion to transmit a particular set of beliefs in a clear and concise manner to a mass audience.
To expand the concept of fundamentalism beyond this specific usage in the context of 20th century Christian Protestantism poses some analytical problems.
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However its use in popular culture today has expanded far beyond this narrow reference. In this expanded usage, fundamentalism loosely refers to the return to a core set of indisputable and literal principles derived from ancient holy, or at least unchallengeable, texts. A book which took him 14 years to write.
People are convinced to act only when it is clearly in their own self interest, and that is an individual premise. That is the brilliance of the Anglo-Saxon-American system when it was fully operable in that our constitutional premise is that we are sovereign individuals who have ceded some of our sovereignty to government in order to protect our liberty and secure our rights.
In political science classes this is mostly dismissed these days but it stands behind our government as well as the capitalistic system. The concept of the individual as sovereign, not a group, bows to human nature while at the same time allows individuals to form groups, and then leave groups and form new ones when the old no longer serves the self interest of individuals involved.
Today we have this enhanced tribalism as it is a way to serve the emotional mind, not the rational one. We do have the animalistic nature that is inherently tribal and emotional and it is through appealing to the rational mind, as this is the core of western enlightenment that helped create a civilization of a type not seen in all the age of mankind.
I would note that the enlightenment began in the church, with the premise that there is a direct connection between God and the individual, not between God and the organized church. It is interesting your appeal to dismiss the myth of the Garden of Eden and yet you miss the message of it. The central message of the fall in the Garden of Eden is that through the failure of one man, all men are fallen. There is nothing in the story of the Garden of Eden that points to an angelic nature for Adam.
Indeed the book makes it clear that God did not reach down to help fallen angels, but did reach down to help fallen man. Not because we are perfect, but because the one that was had the blood price to redeem all of mankind in his essential nature of the Godhead. It is also in the New Testament where the equality of all before God was first established and that there is no respecting of persons.
This is embedded in the Declaration of independence in the following words.. This is a startling statement, still not fully realized in practice, but it is still the most profound recognition that our rights are not just fungible items, to be tossed to and fro by the winds of political change.
The narcissism that you refer to is that nature in humankind to make him or herself god, not governed by any law but their own feelings and propositions. Looking in history the record is clear that despotic leaders by an large arrogated to themselves the claim of godhood. I will still read your book, but I think you make other errors just as egregious as the ones you ascribe to government. Yes I found his remarks rather trite. An additional point worth making here re the contractual classical liberal model of government, where the individual cedes sovereignty in return for protection of the state, is the Burkean qualification.
Burke argued that the possibility of any kind of contractual arrangement already presupposes a pre-political loyalty. Hence his reformed explanation of society as a partnership between the generations: the dead. Excellent points. I hold to this faith in the genius of our founding fathers: that the US has elected a crude jackass destined for humiliation, rather than an evil genius i.
That paragraph is cultic psycho-babble all the way down. It does not refer to anything that is any sense real or that actually happened. Ironic when a published writer opines negatively about others who claim to be right…. Is not the act of publically sharing publishing such musings the purest illustration of those qualities?
R Henry An openness to the idea that you may be wrong, a willingness to change your point of view with new evidence, and a tolerance of different points of view are aspirational ideals that can be sought throughout a lifetime, even if you are absolutely certain that some things are right. All of these ideals have been thrown out with postmodernism, creating the current power game where little of our discourse or journalism can be trusted and nobody has an incentive to be open and fair.
The postmodern answer to this, which you seem to hold, is that even criticism of this trend cannot be trusted. In a world where Bruce Jenner is a woman, there is no reason, no fact. Is there really such a thing as objective reality? It is more or less common knowledge at the present time, that you are not merely seeing what is external in any given room or in the cosmos altogether. You have no direct connection to the gross object, or objects, that you are seeming to view at the present time.
In other words you are having a psychic vision. You are not merely seeing a gross environment, but you are having a brain and nervous system created vision of a gross environment. Likewise, your sense of being physically embodied is communicated to you through the subtle electronics of the nervous system. You are experiencing an apparition, a subtle electronic sense of being identified with a gross physical body.
The position in which you are experiencing perceptions is an extremely subtle position. You seem to be possessed of very gross tangible objects of attention, but none of the objects with which you are associated are actually gross and tangible to you. They are all subtle electronic apparitions. When people dogmatically insist on the primacy of objective reality they are in effect denying and thus suppressing all of the open-ended subtle dimensions of our existence-being.
We are also defined and controlled by what is seemingly objective to us. And the very moment that anyone or anything is presumed to be objective to you it becomes an enemy or a threat to you. You then seek to control that objective whatever, even to the degree of attempting to eventually destroy that objective whatever. In my experience, boring people get bored easily, since their own minds are boring places to be.
They also, apparently, like to comment about how boring they find things, rather than simply ignoring what bores them and moving on to something more suited to their entertainment. In regards to identity politics and intersectionality and appropriation, it amuses me that people suggest members of those labeled groups are somehow all the same.
I am white. Does this mean I have a right to speak for all white people because I understand all who are currently considered white? I am male. Does this mean I have a right to speak for all men because I understand all who are currently considered male? I am in my 50s. Does this mean I have a right to speak for all in their 50s because I understand all who are similarly aged?
I am American. I am under 6 feet tall. I am overweight. I went to college. I live in Kirkland. I am a homeowner. I ride a bike. I write software for a living. I have a child. Does this mean I have a right to speak for all Americans, all sub-6 foot people, all overweight people, all college educated people, all Kirklanders, all homeowners, all bikers, all programmers, all married people, all fathers? David, I am many of these things that you mention. You certainly have no right to speak for me, even though I agree with you here. Among the many examples of this is Feminism.
What has all this buzz netted? Hillary Clinton. Angela Merkel, a women who seeks to dilute the European population with Eastern interlopers with no intention to assimilate. Elizabeth Warren, a US Senator who achieved her position by leveraging fabricated minority ancestry, and Lois Lerner, the woman who used the American tax collection agency to shut down political opposition.
I see only bare-knuckle politics as usual. The promise of females in leadership has proven to be a lie. I would hazard a guess, based on the examples you gave, that you are conservative, yes? If so, surely there are conservative women who meet your standards — Nikki Haley, perhaps? Personally, I judge a leader by their individual conduct, as I do anyone else. I would posit that if women just categorically do not meet your standards for leadership, you may have a problem with your standards.
The Left has been removing the Classics and The Bible from education since the Frankfurt School became influential post WW1 because they highlight human nature and the need for self denial and self control against base desires and cowardice. Political correctness and the effete impractical middle class Left are largely people who are lazy, cowardly and venal who lack the honesty, courage and industriousness to flourish in a society which acknowledges heroic sturdy rugged individualism on which The West is based.
The first hero of The West, Odysseus survives because he conquers human vice and demonstrates virtue- skill, courage , industriousness, sagacity, respect for the gods, and loyalty to his wife. The Left can only win if people forget about the virtues which made Western Civilisation possible, those of Odysseus and his wife Penelope. This place is my absolute favorite source of irony, and it never disappoints. In an article about mistaking our personal feelings and our own self-interested perspective for reality, you pull out this magnificent pile of bullshit to serve as the perfect example of somebody totally incapable of seeing anything but what you want to see and defending it with the verve of a raving evangelical.
The Greeks were the first people to try and define human nature and determine what reality means. Buddhism is fundamentally about living in the present and not dreaming. The writers I mentioned were fundamentally about defining the reality of human affairs not creating a fantasy. Khaldun, Toynbee and Parkinson have all written on the cause for the rise and fall of civilisations which are based upon human nature.
Daoism examines what factors support longevity and the fleeting nature of power. I enjoyed the interview very much and it gave me a lot to think about. I can appreciate the logical argument to do so but it is not an option that can be applied practically… in my case anyway. A thought-provoking article that was unfortunately marred by Mr. It begs the question, Who exactly is in a position to authoritatively announce that race does not exist, and what is the motivation? To paraphrase, I sense a dismissive moral superiority from Greene in these lines:.
Does this apply equally to Arabs or Polynesians? Agree on both, but should that truth flatten other truths that are clearly evident? Truths that have meaning to people of all colors on some level? The idea of race in our species is a somewhat arbitrary construct and as such it does not need to meet requirements of scientific efficacy or purity. The distinctions remain useful, in as much as different parties agree to the general concept, just as fruits and vegetables are arbitrarily and usefully distinguished.
The problems come in taking these things too seriously, which seems unavoidable. In other words, not likely. Greene of the paralogism he seems suspiciously eager to tolerate in the passage you quoted. No one fell out of their H. That is, human evolution did not occur discreetly, but rather gradually through a slow — somewhat continuous depending on your level of analysis — process. Evolution it seems, is not without a sense of irony. I might argue our forefathers in the swamp has more of a claim than H.
If Greene insists that we all races are all essentially the same due to our common descent from H. Enter David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard:. And since all traits influenced by genetics are expected to differ across populations because the frequencies of genetic variations are rarely exactly the same across populations , the genetic influences on behavior and cognition will differ across populations, too. You will sometimes hear that any biological differences among populations are likely to be small, because humans have diverged too recently from common ancestors for substantial differences to have arisen under the pressure of natural selection.
This is not true. Thanks for your thoughts, D. Most taxonomists are not keen to admit this. I know a PhD psychologist-preacher think about that who told me he believes race is not real. I asked him if he had any black friends or colleagues who were in agreement with him and he said yes, a few. I said that if there are no races then obviously racism does not exist. Which means, according to him, that a white man from South Africa is an African-American.
In one example I found an intersection of postmodernism and liberation theology. We never did get far in good faith conversation. The point of discerning races in humans is to distinguish them, very imperfectly, as belonging to subgroups that have geographic and morphological and cultural, linguistic, etc.
To consider this racial dimension is to consider only one small aspect of our species in toto. It should go without saying that the overwhelming majority of considerations we can have about our species, about each other, transcends race altogether. We can, and do, throw race out the window where it is irrelevant.
Is it always irrelevant? By his reasoning on race, one can argue that nations should not exist either. Only the individual and the universal are real. There is a lot of writing that deconstructs this extreme viewpoint. A more cynical take that it is easier to control populations when they consist of atomized individuals having no allegiance to groups that might compete for power but there is an overarching centralized power, naturally.
A world without hierarchy and order, without people formed around any group identities, religions or even families, is imagined to be a utopia free of conflict and suffering. I wonder and expressed this recently in another recent thread here if there is any communication between the scientists of these fields, I fear not at all, and that physical antrhopologists see only cultural and social anthropologists in congress and sessions , and never the real biologists and taxonomists. In so called local and primitive, not yet pure bred landraces as is the case in humanity?? And, indeed, why pop up with this theme here?
It immediately attracts all interest, and the real theme is forgotten. Where do all the ideas about what we are as human beings and by extension the natural world come from? They obviously emerge from the various structures of the body-mind-complex. The two sides of the brain, the two aspects or divisions of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic, and the central nervous system spinal column too.
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It contains and transmits all kind of energies. It also retains and transmits memory. What then are the cultural implications of this scientifically proven fact? Even more radical is the work of Mae-Wan Ho via her three books. At another more profound level what does modern quantum physics tell us about the nature of reality, and our human body-mind-complex too? Modern quantum physics tells us that everything is conscious light, that all of reality — every person, every object, every iota of space and time — is nothing but waves in an ocean of light.
What does this communication mean in human terms? It means that we are energy, and the entire manifest cosmos, including the human body-mind is a spectrum of energy. It wasn't a huge lift for me and I know it assisted my wife in her career in being hired as a banking executive. Everyone is in a different situation. This post is a good reminder of why I don't plan to get married.
I'll be damned if I spend thousands of dollars on something worthless. Not to mention marriage is probably one of the riskiest financial investments you can make. In the old days, people were much more logical about marriage. Now days I see wealthy men getting screwed over with divorces left and right.
Ramit, I just had the talk with my GF. I have bever seen her so happy. She legitimately went to the bathroom and had her words a little happy cry. Before your post, it was a smog of fear, uncertainty and inability to move because of not knowing even how to approach the topic. I really appreciate the time you took to write this up. A massive thank you is in order. Personally, I believe it is whatever you want to afford.
If you only making 60k a year, but want to buy a ring that is 8k, that is a choice you make and it will take you longer to save for it. I think as long as you can pay cash for it and you buy a rider for your insurance to cover it, you can buy as big as a ring as you want. If you can afford it, I think it is up to the individual on what is important and that should dictate how much they spend. I agree with Chris H: whatever you can afford. Money was tight then, and was about to become tighter so we have to be reasonable.
I like the tradition of some European countries: the engagement ring and the wedding ring are the same ring usually a plain gold band. Actually, the big difference in this question is that it deals more specifically with a romantic relationship between man and woman. The other material things are more of an individual thing. My now-husband got the ring from my mom and spent a few hundred dollars on a new setting for the diamond because the ring itself was falling apart. We were seniors in college and that was probably literally all the money he had at the time I am the saver, he is the spender.
Given that once we were engaged the majority of my savings went toward paying his grad school, it would have been ridiculous for him to go into debt buying me a ring because I would have been the one paying off the debt. And if your significant other expects a ring with five diamonds on it, then you have to look at whether you can afford a ring like that and want to spend that much money on a ring. I think the two points you mentioned here are key. My wife had a lot of expectations bottled up around her engagement ring, and I think that is true for a lot of women:.
In my situation, my fiancee and I had a very open dialog about the ring. With engagement rings, price definitely does not determine quality, but could determine fulfillment of expectations. It also turned out that she had some very specific ideas about what she wanted—so specific, that I wanted her to go with me to help pick out a few ring styles. I nearly blew it by purchasing one she liked from a chain jeweler at the mall, but decided at the last minute to hold off.
A few weeks later, we worked with a local jeweler to pick out a diamond and design a custom setting. I ended up spending a lot more than 2. Unlike a lot of things we buy, this one has really seemed to continue to make her happy. The key was understanding exactly what her expectations were, and determining where I could involve her to ensure they were fulfilled.
What kind of ring did the man envision buying his bride to be? So as romantic as the idea of a surprise ring is, its much better to have very direct conversations before hand. We bought rings designed the way we wanted them to look. But they are exactly what we wanted. I totally agree with you, Jessica. They were juniors in college. Two years later, they have automated their money thanks to the IWTYTBR book I gave them and due to their decision to continue living in their tiny student apartment even after he got a great job, they have saved enough for a down payment on a great house.
I am thrilled to have a son and daughter-in-law who IMHO have their priorities correct. I think Jeff Haines does a really good job of explaining the myriad of factors that goes into getting a ring. The general rule of thumb is that you should spend 2. But it really depends on a lot of variables. The 2. I spent less than. I found a jewelry design I really liked and had it custom designed based on an idea I had specific to our relationship so that it was very meaningful this counted WAY more than stock-but-expensive in my case, and I suspect in many cases thought trumps dollars , went with a red stone instead of a diamond, had a platinum setting…all without breaking the bank.
The ring is killer. Granted, I make a fair amount of money so the. But with Etsy these days you can be very, very creative. Having an open dialogue from the get-go and really talking about those expectations and what you can afford is so important, not just with purchasing a ring, but with any big ticket purchase.
I told my now husband exactly what I had wanted general guidelines and he did all the research and figured out what fit into his budget. Every single time I look down at my engagement ring, it reminds me of how much time and effort he put into finding the perfect ring for me! That in and of itself is priceless!
Here was my most useful education on the subject — there are huge price jumps at each. Find a 1. This falls under your focus on size and bling rule — which is totally true. The exception to that is if you have a very nice family heirloom that you can give as an engagement ring. Emotional AND thrifty, which is a rare combo. Hamed I totally agree! I always liked emeralds was all I told my husband. God willing it will be with our family for generations, just like the Amish made hutch that we got this year on the 5 year anniversary of our marriage.
I worry about the answer that you have given because I see these things daily. He did thins because that was her expectation to be able to compete with her friends in sparkle and size. This would be fine if he had a job. They are both college students and big diamonds are what all of the little girls on campus want. He justified that it was affordable because they were on sale, and they could afford the monthly payments. Just my thoughts — all of these young women expect to be treated like a princess regardless of the consequences.
I agree with Hamed and I did the same thing. However, I would tweak 2 slightly:. For instance: I went in there with a number in mind, but ended up going above and beyond and as a result of that I had to sacrifice other purchases that I wanted to make. Are you suggesting that people should, as a standard, go into debt for the ring? Right before they will likely have to pay for the wedding and, within the net 5 years, likely a house and child?
I think this foolish. I took her with me to pick out the ring. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted when she turned her nose up at diamonds altogether. She only wanted a simple band without a stone. You see my wife did not grow up in America. In her country, all that is expected is matching bands.
Question 1: What does your fiancee-to-be like? Question 2: What is your budget? And how much you spend on it is a completely personal decision. I made the choice to return to my hometown and get all 3 of our rings from a family friend who is a jewelrysmith. James, your tale of how you bought the rings brought a smile to my face. When my husband and I were married, our venue was a greenhouse where I had volunteered in younger days.
And our officiant was a fellow volunteer I had worked with. Either that or they assumed I was pregnant. I actually considered getting a cheap zirconia ring just to shut people up. I can understand why women want one. In all seriousness, this is the wrong way to look at the question. The one disagreement we had is that he wanted the engagement ring to serve duel functions as the engagement ring and wedding ring. I wanted an actual wedding band. From the other comments, it looks like this is probably still the norm. Other factors obviously go into it, like savings, expectations from the soon-to-be fiance, cultural norms, etc.
When I went ring shopping 14 years ago ironically, it woulda been about to the day, as I got engaged on the 19th , I went in knowing what cut I was looking for, and intent on following the 2. Everything was either way outside what I could afford, or about 1. I like almost all the responses so far. People are right, it needs to fit in the budget, period. And most women appreciate thoughtfulness over expense. But we got a big rock, because he likes seeing it on me. Everybody won because we compared our expectations and went with the greatest satisfaction solution. Also, we have comic relief when my ring attacks him randomly.
Who wants to live with even a little bit of resentment every single day? Over something as silly as jewelry? We wed 23 years ago. I was a geology student at the time we got engaged and remarked at how expensive a bit of metal and some grit was… yeah that was a good comment!
The Atlantic article was great, I read it the first time you shared it. This is the best comment so far. I also spent way less than 2. One thing I would add is that over the long term, the proposal story is more important than the ring, so make it romantic. A good solution for people who are marrying someone with very specific tastes is to pop the question with some kind of symbolic ring. Pick out something affordable or that holds special meaning and use that to pop the question.
Having a ring to show off right away — even if it is just a placeholder — means a lot. Another option is to buy a ring from a jeweler you already know and trust. Then let your now fiance trade it in for the dream ring. Henry, I fully agree with you. One should educate themselves and read stuff like that article you sent. Read about blood diamonds and what not if you care about that sort of thing.
Read until you feel educated enough about the purchase you are going to make. Whatever amount you feel is right after that is probably the right amount. This is a really interesting post, Ramit. But the most important thing to remember is that buying an engagement ring is a gift, and no one ideally knows your fiancee like you do. Conscious Spending , and I let him know that. I also would never have wanted a diamond. He knew all that about me, and he bought me a really cool vintage garnet from an antique store. I agree. The actual act of giving a ring at all is more significant than the price of the ring.
Giving a ring signifies the willingness to take on the cost, not of a ring, but of marriage itself. Moving in together and putting both of your junk material, financial, emotional, all of it! It doubled as the wedding ring, she LOVED it, and it took 3 months of layaway for me to pay for at the time. Conscious spending is a big deal to me, too.
My first wedding ring was just a band, and I was fine with that. If I can get a vintage one at an estate sale, so much the better. This is an individual decision — and I made it earlier this year. I sat down with my semi-wife-to-be and discussed diamond alternatives. We also talked about colored stones. I wanted to give her a real gem, not an imitation, though not an overpriced diamond. It was perfect. I looked at this from a logical angle. I love now my wife this person 2.
How much am I willing to risk to show her my love 3. What would she like When we got engaged I know it would be a while 4 years before we got married. We both were graduating from Undergrad and about to start professional school and work together. So to my point 2 I put as much as I had in my savings account and borrowed a little extra from my parents only to find that the setting and rock was not a package deal , should have done more research I spent 3, dollars. I made sure I was not going into debt but spent all I could even though I was in-debt to my parents it carried no interest.
Now to my point 3 I got her a setting she dreamed about a setting i found took forever to find for my price point. I had a woman laugh at me when I said I wanted to get the setting for less than 2k. Yet I found my ring after 6 months of searching for less than 2k.. I am now married and happy with this decision. Everyone has a different take but this was mine and I do not regret it.
In the end remember that this purchase should have no regrets if you regret it today than you will regret it later and maybe into your marriage. Now I plan for my 10 year wedding anniversary I plan to upgrade her. It will be 20 years that we have been together at that point and it is my way to show her how much she means to me. If i could buy her the world I would. Like one guy mentioned he had 30k in the bank I had about that in non-liquid funds cashing out some stocks I think my now wife would have killed me, but I was considering it.
If she is really the person for you it will not matter in the end. What will is if you regret paying to much or too little. My dad told me he spent too little and he regretted that till today. This is the kind of question that has no right answer. It is just very personal. Recent graduates, buying our first house at the time we were moving in together. The engagement was more of a comforting msg to my parents than something I felt necessary and without many assets.
At some point, I told him that, if I was going to wear the ring for the rest of my life maybe we should go window shopping together to give him an idea of what I liked. Do I have an option? At this point in our lives, this money would be better invested on something we can use, rather than on a glittery thing hanging on my finger.
I was engaged in Having recently gone through the process proposed on Christmas Eve , I can say it depends on the relationship and the expectations that follow. She also loves cocktail rings, so I ended up getting her something custom. But who knows — I totally believe her. What is the purpose of the ring and of marriage? A marriage is not made or broken by the ring itself but rather the individuals who are uniting together. That being said the marketing behind the necessity of needing a ring is nothing short of brilliant. The ring buying process is multifactorial and involves much more than simple economics.
Culture and societal standing play a huge role in this.. My wife and I married right out of college engaged when I was a senior. What I find most interesting about this whole topic is the fact taht the man is expected to buy the ring s. This obviously has changed over the past 50 years but some traditions just never go away. Most guys hate jewelry so buying something like this is not only a pain, but also a one-time thing ideally and not many of them will put in the time to figure out exactly what the process is.
I did a crap ton of research before buying the ring over a year and even with all that knowledge, it still was hard to fight the emotions, knowing I was getting it for one I wanted to be with forever. For example, you can put a 0. Two weeks later I have a ring that fits and a lot more money in my pocket. My husband and I split the cost, both did our homework on buying the diamonds, and paid cash. We were both in grad school, making next to nothing, so it made sense to split the bill. I wanted a non-traditional ring anyway, and we ended up with something I truly love. I do care about symbolism and for me, being female, I would like a ring, but only if it was a mutual financial decision between me and my husband-to-be.
In fact, I hope that things over time change to meet a more relaxed and personal-driven choice. Best to be starting out on the right financial footing. The smallest amount that will make the woman happy. I know my wife wanted something to show her friends, and I knew she was really traditional and would want a legit diamond. I was therefore screwed. If I could have gotten away with less, I would have. Moissanite is a much cooler stone AND it costs less. I truly WISH I could say money is not an issue, and the point of the engagement ring is to make the significant other feel happy and feel special.
True love does not depend on how much a ring is. Even as I type this I feel like cringing inside because I know so many girls who care a lot about their marriage. The most obvious aspect of that is of course, how rich is her man………. Save me Ramit! It all depends on a what you can afford, and b what the expectations are of both people involved.
But if you go into serious debt to buy a ring you cannot afford, there are going to be problems there too. The ring itself is a symbol of commitment. And like most symbols, they can mean very different things to different people. If your fiance expects you to go into debt to finance a ring, or has drastically different expectations than you about how much a ring should cost, well, that might be a foreshadowing for things to come.
After all, money and sex are the two things that couples argue about the most. As many have said, it depends on several factors with the key factors being what can be afforded and expectations of the receiving partner. We have had the ring discussion … when he gets one, it will speak from his heart as do his cards. Totally depends on the woman. Even though I was not a woman who dreamt all her life about getting married, the engagement became an important demonstration to me that he valued our relationship enough to do the planning to finance a ring of some substance.
I never thought a ring could mean so much until I had it on my finger as a reminder of all his hard work to show me he was invested in our future together. I definitely think short- and long-term happiness are much more likely if you follow the advice of the former. I wanted it to be white gold as she likes it most and to have a decent diamond, so I went for the one that was within my budget. The value of the ring is the symbolism first and foremost. But this is an assumption of course, I do not know what I would think in real life if she actually spent 10x times more.
I took my girlfriend out ring shopping and she picked out the one she wanted. Bought it the next day, setting up the proposal now. Marriage is a partnership, so the ring and how much to spend on it should be a joint decision. Everyone has some points here. Do educate yourself on assessing diamonds before you shop for one, and get a jewelers loop. Points I strongly agree with: Ask her input. Spend what you can afford and are comfortable with, not necessarily a preset number, like 2. It is a personal gift, so the only really important factors are her happiness and your comfort with the price.
I grew up in the good ole US of A but have never really understood the desire to get an engagement ring. Also, why does only the woman get something? Instead of buying a ring, we saved up and took off for six weeks in Southeast Asia. Bought matching inexpensive silver wedding bands in Laos. Followed an old tradition from somewhere Italy? Planned to replace the silver bands with something fancier when we got back, but then grew too attached to sentiment and memory of the Laos rings.
You guys are so cool. I really want a beautiful ring someday but if that were on the table, I would be persuaded to skip on the ring. I inherited a gorgeous heirloom diamond from my grandmother. I knew her well enough to know that she would like it once it was on her finger. And she loves the ring. Had to pay it off over a couple of months but that was a conscious decision to keep other cash available for expenses that I knew I was going to have coming up. We had a frank discussion of what our values were around engagement rings. We both love our rings, and I feel great about what we spent.
Really the important thing to us was that it be a conversation and reflect our values as a couple. And yes, it was still romantic to get my ring, even after I knew the budget! There is no should on an engagement ring, as with any other gift given. Or anything expense.
How much should I spend on at TV? Well depends alot. If you are with the right person he will either know or be able to ask what you expect from this ritual gift giving in making a promise that someday you will legally bind yourself to another person. How cool is that? When it comes to an engagement ring, simple rule, buy the best you can afford and make a genuine effort to be able to afford as much as possible.
I think this is so well put. I define what he can afford as what he can reasonably pay based on his income and his other spending and saving habits. Personally, my husband took a line of credit and repaid it within 90 days. Some people may eschew debt, in that case I would say they should spend what they can comfortably save in cash. I also learned some of the same things Thomas did price jumps once you go from. Same thing with color. Depending on the cut there are similar features with size.
I went through the same process on the band, and then bought the stone from an online retailer this has its own pitfalls and you need to keep some things in mind at a good discount and had and negotiated with jewelers on setting it. Ramit, I read that same article and thought it was great. However, I think many people underestimate the amount that can be saved on this purchase without sacrificing one iota in quality. I over-analyzed because I found the industry scammy and aggravating. I live in Chicago where we have a diamond district.
The sales person will sit you down and ask you about approximate size you were thinking of. The middle one will generally be nicer quality and color. A fine ring can be inherited, bought, designed, whatever … anyway, it is not the ring that counts, it is the bond. Flashy rings can be cool, and some people need them, like others want flashy cars. Hell yea women want an engagement ring. Women love jewelry, and they really love showing off very nice jewelry.
I bought an engagement ring about five years ago. I did research about what I should spend. I asked at three jewelers one national chain, one regional chain, one single store and none of them knew if that was supposed to be gross or net. I think I ended up spending about 2x net wages, but I was looking in the x range.
A couple people have mentioned the invisible factors of needing to show that you can provide for your fiancee and her needing to feel the same. All of the oohs and ahhs that she got which indirectly reflected on my taste and resources helped to emotionally reinforce that logic for both of us. One other interesting note: when buying a diamond, there are 4 main characteristics and they operate on a continuum.
So at some point you have to decide which diamond to buy with your budget. For me, there was a minimum acceptable quality level. But anything above that was invisible to the naked eye, so I put the additional money into size. So instead of a smaller, higher quality diamond, I chose bigger and slightly less quality.
The ego is a powerful thing…. Maybe 2. Anyway, 2. I just want a beautiful piece of jewelry that we both love and that I will be happy about every time I look at it. We joke about being in a race to see who gets there first. He should spend the effort to do some research, harness expertise and figure out his part of the equation.
Mine was custom made and both have Montana sapphires. Very odd guy. Very odd, mobbed-up, Detroit dude with some weird personality problems. There was no second date. Personally, I think a man should spend what he can afford to buy a tasteful ring his fiancee would like. I wonder when diamonds became the standard engagement ring stone? Of course, if your girl is a very girly-girl, dragging her off on a back-country hiking and camping trip to dig up her own diamond is probably not the thing to do.
I think it would be cool. Why buy a standard ring? Sounds like a bad deal to me. Do what makes her happy. Unless you like getting screwed steer clear of mall jewelers. The quality of the stones you get for the money is disgraceful. If you can find a local jeweler or better yet an artist- do that. I would love to know how much folks are spending for their husbands wedding band. He wanted tungsten, he picked out the design, and I got him what he wanted.
I wonder if this disparity is normal? Got married last year, so I went through this process recently. For some, like my wife, the style and cut are much more important than the price tag. Thankfully for my pocket book, she has tiny hands that would make a large rock look very silly. And she made it clear that she never wanted to know the exact figure on how much I spent. Struggle together, grow together, and succeed together. Hi Jim, happy to hear you found the right ring. A response to your response: what does marriage have to do with struggling, growing and succeeding together? None of those require a marriage.
What is the real value to getting married when you're still poor that you mention? Like ever ever. On blood diamonds and horrific mining for stones and metals : — I agree with you on this. Get people to stop judging each other and they will lose a lot of their value. If low income earners buy cost efficient rings then it is a sign they know not to overspend and can manage their finances maybe, of course this is one factor among many which bodes well for the marriage.
These examples will resonate with some people, and those are the people who should emphasize the ring. If you read these and think, I'm not like that person he's describing, that's ok too. I would think no more than 2 months salary. I think my husband spent BUT, I will say, being young and surrounded by friends getting engaged, etc it is quite easy to think that the perfect diamond and ring are essential. After a few years, I was of the opinion that a nice simple band maybe etched nicely would suffice and also not get caught on all manner of clothes and such.
If I had a do-over I would get a pretty gold band and elope.
He found a jeweler that he liked and trusted early in our relationship 6 years by the time he was ready to do engagement ring shopping. He looked at hundreds of rings, settings and diamonds before deciding none fit what he wanted to give me. Being 22 when I got engaged, I thought that my ring was excessive, especially when I compared them to other friends rings who had gotten engaged around the same time, in similar circumstances.
It took him over a year, as he was in a car accident and had to replace his car while still trying to get my ring. Is it beautiful? Was it necessary for him to spend as much? Do I love that he went above and beyond for me? That just sounds ridiculous to me, so I think common sense should prevail. Find something she likes within reason and go from there.
I wanted the proposal to be a surprise so ring shopping was out of the question. I thought I had everything figured out and negotiated a good price on a diamond I was planning on getting a local jeweler to set. I was able to return the diamond without any issue if you buy online make sure the seller has a decent return policy.
I had saved up for this before hand and actually budgeted to spend more. I paid on my frequent flyer credit card which helped contribute miles for our first class tickets to Malaysia and Tokyo for the honeymoon and then quickly paid off the credit card with the savings.
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Both of us have some good paying jobs.