Wondered how repetitive practices, such as institutionalized anti-semitism or religious repetitions, move one further away from reality, or a critical evaluation of reality. Lines of research, across domains, referring to “institutional effects“. Seems to come down to do it because everyone else is doing it. Reservation or critical evaluation regarded as dissent to deviance. Limited concept of “healthy reservation” in social discourse. No discourse possible, other than relating to debates on cult nuances. Stronger the institutional beliefs, the less tolerance for reservations about same. Conformity studies as parallel to studies of institutionalism.
Though maybe not.
In “Repetition II“, Lorne commented as follows:
I look at repetitive religious practices and ask: why? My short answer would be that those practices are born in a pre-literate culture. Repetition hammers home the point to people who aren’t going to read on their own. Look at the evolution of the creeds. The earliest version of the Apostles’ Creed dates from around 200. It’s short, and easy to memorize. The Nicene Creed is the same, and from 325. Jump to the 16th century and you have the Augsburg Confession, which nobody memorizes. But they don’t have to – the populace has become literate and can read the thing, if they are interested.
That does not mean there is no place for liturgy and repetition in the modern church. Like meat loaf or Mom’s apple pie, they can be comfort food; something familiar and constant, that people can turn to for solace, when they are hurting and trying to make sense of a fallen world. It’s not repetition that bugs me in modern (or post-modern) religion as much as the context of the repetition.
Neil Remington Abramson commented further (reproduced with permission):
My priest taught me that the three legs on the stool of Anglican faith are tradition, scripture and reason. We recite the Nicene Creed in the Book of Common Prayer service out of tradition. Anglicans have recited this creed, and this service, word for word for about 400 years.
My priest taught me that because of “reason”, we all say the same words but the meaning may not be the same for all the reciters. Some believe the creed and the service represent the the word of God, as understood through the scriptures, and they sincerely believe it. Others merely recite out of the continuous 400 year tradition. Some have reasoned through what they are reciting, and it makes practical sense to them. I hope to be in this group.
We are united in common recitation. We are the “people of the book” I am told. But our motives and interpretations may be quite different, and generally we hope to be open-minded about that. It is enough to be united, even if the essence is not the appearance.
Socially (religous or otherwise), when does the essence turn empty, or negative, due to minimal, if any, critical assessment, by self or others?