Perhaps not everyone needs that vessel, one imagines the vagrant bards of yesteryear who thrived on that particular lack of convention, but what of those who are shipwrecked and lost, like Crusoes without islands and without trust. Trust takes an age to earn but is so quick to be lost. If there is not enough love, if the people peer into each other ready to pull out all the ugly laundry of which there is always an abundance, the thing ends. Vendettas begin and one remembers Plato's wish for men to be shielded from the drama in poetry - if they really must expose themselves to themes of jealousy and rage and so on, they ought at least to be mature enough not to imitate, and even then must perform a solemn sacrifice first.
I am beginning to think that it is precisely the lack of ceremony that may affect the mindset before it enters into activity. No special clothes worn to the work place means too much comfort and sloppy manners. Ceremony - a private kind, a secret shared between one person and themselves - is the almost ubiquitous tattoo; it is not in the marriage, officiated by any person with an internet diploma.
So, two otherwise intelligent human beings may enter into the lifetime schlep not out of deep bonds of respect so much as a knot of other reasons like convenience, crush, confusion. They may soon see the ring as a little metal noose and they gag. What began as a clueless waltz often leads such victims to the halted opera of extremes, claiming they do not need love, marriage is a sham, humankind is hopeless.
But the purpose of union, of which friendship serves the same in miniature, in its own separate bonsai plot, is preservation of self and the other. To turn the other's face when life brings out their less handsome side. Oh, to flee such situations - we would, but their horrible power lurks in the fact that we cannot see them coming. Another person can be our reminder that time resides not in our minds or emotions by bringing us out of ourselves to face a bigger picture; to have a person outside one's self, surely this is something quite mysterious.
The simple ring is much; it is the echo of the crown, the one that is earned through noble gesture, it is the shape of an imagining of eternity, it warns one to go around as one wishes to come around. It may be a thing, but things were never meant to be disposed of. I remember many decades ago in my geography class hearing of one Western country with its piles and piles of trash: how could that be a quotient of greatness, I wondered. Why on earth would something be made if it is not meant to be kept and used to the very end? Surely such a mentality does not help people understand the worth of existence.
There emerges a kind of craziness to the effect: if it isn't pleasing you, toss or swop it. How many unstable characters wonder feverishly to themselves if they are getting all they think they ought? And toss it all, just in case. Or, if not toss it, disrespect it through unhappiness. Sometimes, enough is there - except perhaps enough will to make things work. But why such caprice, one might ask. Sometimes when two such people separate, they each go down their own version of the self-destructive path. They had been perfect for each other, and now they are alone and worse than ever.
Perhaps worse than that is the constant stream of verbal second-guessing. Some people's word-actions seem bent to destroy those around them, these are the creatures that seem most eager to burrow into marriage, most eager to play the hypocrite. Many are the forms of sickness never accurately responded to in the culture of disposable things, illustrated here in the prescribed tablet. One may sit and wonder at such things as one once wrote observations of adults into legal pads, at the dawn of adolescence, not trying to be smart (for knowing the theory does not exempt one from practice) but hoping to enter that helpful narrative stream one once found in books. Writing the book that is needed by oneself.
To think of the ring, one wishes for it to be idealised - as that crown that may be worn at the beginning but is only deserved at the end, if good speech and action outweighs all else. There have been marriages borne by just one of the two; the one bearing the acid of the other, always with grace, always with that kind humour towards others that is only earned under harsh circumstances. Such people are to be admired, but perhaps they had already known love from one time before in their lives.
To find reciprocity in life, already symbolised in the back-and-forth of the circle, one would surely choose to contain that bond. Not contain it in a vessel, which measures with its grooves, but in a perfect abstract shape.