For millennia, humans have engaged in rituals with the intention of achieving a wide variety of desired outcomes: reducing anxiety, alleviating grief, deepening faith, or even making it rain. Though rites and rituals can be used for positive or innocuous effects, they can also disguise discomfort and make unjustifiable actions seem legitimate. They can be meaningless, arbitrary, and archaic. They can also mask cruelty to animals by being shrouded in religious sanctity. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

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*Music by Gosta Berling