Thursday, September 7, 2017

Routine and Ritual and a better World.

We have all been exposed to various forms routine or ritual at some point in our lives, and I have often wondered whether such forced discipline hinders creative thinking. At a personal level the outcome only really effects ourselves and our relationship  to the world. But authorities of every hue love discipline whether they be Governments, Religions or Employers. After all it is the bedfellow of control. Conservatives would claim that this is the only way to run the world. But recent political actions around the suggest otherwise. We seem to be living in an age of extreme individualism.
Of course there are circumstances  when such a ritual or routine are desirable, even advantageous. Waiting to catch a bus or to be served in a shop are generally actions that run far more smoothly if some sort of agreed procedure is applied, not to mention the necessity for rules in driving your car. Likewise learning to dance or eating with chopsticks could not satisfactory  be undertaken without a predetermined teaching structure.
In today's world however it often seems everyone  may claim the right to interpret their actions souly in terms of self. They claim that defined action and response to new  ideas and actions by the application rules are undemocratic, anti-free will. Catholicism relies heavily on ritual and discipline, theatrical repetition of religious service is justified on the grounds that all worshipers are able to  understand and engage in religious service no matter where they live. A structure that has stood the test of generations, claiming to have a calming effect on participants.

In contrast thinking independently, exercising free will are activities frowned upon in most controlled societies, the control of daily task and thought are considered essential if anarchy is not to prevail.

In recent years Western societies have moved increasingly towards individualism, life styles that do not necessarily produce the best outcomes for its citizens. Should the desire for complete freedom of action in all aspects of life remain central to harmonious living? I am not suggesting we need a dictatorial form of government, but rather more self-control over our desires and actions, but a better understanding of the resulting consequences. Fundamentalists are trying to impose their will, while libertines are advocating the opposite. I have no idea where the correct balance lies, but excessive ritual and routine or freedom of action both seem detrimental to a peaceful world. .But the continual focus of minority groups on their personal problems and determination to impose them on everyone will not necessarily  create a better world.