‘Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began.’
Charles H. Spurgeon
My daughter's school shares the same values as the US Marine Corps. Courage and honour. Fortunately they don't demand the same haircut. The Marine Corp cut is the shortest in the US army. They also have to undergo the longest period of basic training. During the 12 weeks they spend in ‘boot camp’ recruits are put through an incredibly tough period of conditioning, and ritual re-orientation designed to ensure the candidate's values, beliefs and loyalties are fully aligned with the Marines. This culminates with ‘The Crucible’, a 54-hour, 48-mile, sleep deprived endurance test, involving a series of combat related mental and physical challenges that can only be solved through close-knit teamwork. On the final day, recruits undertake ‘The Reaper’, a forced march up a steeply inclined hill. It's a hellish finale, but making it to the top marks their transition from recruits to full members of the ‘the few, the proud, the Marines’, and the awarding of the coveted Marine Corps insignia, the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. As the Marine's career site explains:
‘Those who prevail after 12 demanding weeks will emerge completely transformed.
… Find the willpower you never knew you had, the strength you never knew you needed, bonds that will never break, and a lifelong desire to serve a purpose far greater than self.’1
Anthropologists refer to the symbolic and ritual behaviours ...