useless protocols

can anyone give me a reason as to why we adhere to some of the useless b.s protocols we have in society? i mean… i can understand and justify, though weakly, stopping at a red light for 2 minutes at 4 am… i dont know. maybe im saving someones life somewhere. but others i just cant do that. maybe its the motive behind them. i mean theres legal ones like bagging alcohol before you sell it. then theres social ones like “eavesdropping” in a public place which always confuses me. “i dont mean to eavesdrop” ive got that in line at a restaurant… or professional ones like ties. or even educational like hats. what is with humans and mandatory dresscodes? i dont get professionalism. i mean fine i wont burp and curse in an interview or anything but ill be damned if i dont find out how much im getting paid before the interview is over.

Man is born free yet everywhere is in chains. Smash the Cistern!

  • Graffiti on wall of public toilet cubicle

Because we become human by learning and mastering our ritual repertoire.

Once you’d got it embedded in you, it is damn tough to remove.

Speak for yourself. I was born human.

Yeah . . . being a shapeshifting lizard is a bitch and a half somedays.

Thankfully, we rule the world. That keeps me happy.

Another wise lizard once said:

“Confucian teaching holds that learning to be human does not simply happen by itself. It involves a personal decision and commitment. Without such conscious effort, we are human beings in a limited sense only, for we are unable to realize our full human potential. Therefore, we must commit ourselves to the moral and spiritual process of learning to be human in order to begin the lifelong task of becoming fully human.” --Tu Weiming

Conscious effort is just as limiting in terms of actualising potential as apathy. I speak as someone who has experimented with both.

I disagree.

There should, of course, be a point where effort is no longer required. But that happens after cultivation, not with it.

i can a point in denying base desires for the sake of being “human”. i can even pretend that artistic taste is a think to relish in. denying logic and simplicity though seems wasteful.

The protocal I hate the most is the one devoid of humor.

In church you often can’t make too many jokes,

In class, you have to keep it to a minimum,

and various other places too…

Life is short, most people need to take stuff less serious and laugh more. It would make many peoples lives more enjoyable, less stressful, healthier and…fun.

If I ever go to court, I am going to make it the most funny experience of my life…unless I’m the one on trial, then I better keep cool. :sunglasses:

I am going to assume your post should have read this way:

I am still not entirely sure how this is to be meant, but I see it as being simple and logical and there is not so much a denying of base desires as their sublimation. So, it is quite different from what I think you are suggesting.

It is simple because people work on changing themselves daily – they say all you need to create a new habit is to conciously repeat the activity twenty-or-so times. By creating habits, we control how we spend our time and thus, what sort of a person we become and are.

It is logical because it works – the military is an extreme example of this where the psyche of the individual is stripped to its bare minimum and rebuilt from there. Talk to someone before and after boot-camp, the changes made are quite astounding!

Given how these practices can alter a person’s nature, it no longer becomes a matter of denying one’s base desires because their base desires have become in accordance with ritual. The example given by Xun Zi is that, just as wood that has been steamed and shaped into a circle maintains its shape, so too does man’s character when it has been transformed by ritual.

With respect to ritual, which I think touches on Sirwedishmike’s point, I’ll let Prof. Tu have his say,

taht was a gneearl satetmnet. what i maent is taht i can udnerstnad laws aganist rpae and murder and other base desires.

but why would we want to be this type of person?

thats for discipline. do we dish out useless commands for the sake of discipline? why not use other tools like respect?

yea i dont buy that at all. i can communicate meaningfully and as you can tell i dont use correct grammar, punctuation and under normal circumstances i dont use complicated words if i dont have to. unless its required for a grade or to get information from someone as it is here. if i was to talk to you like an asshole cursing and criticizing all your rituals id receive no respect in return. so the only way to communicate within a society of snobbish rituals is to humor the people who follow them.

i suppose a deeper question related to this is “is respect anything more than a lie to get people to cooperate with you?” at least in a situation like thsi.

I can agree that respect and sincerity are incredibly important concepts, but how to go about doing this?

Ritual gives a means whereby respect can be made manifest so that all parties can recognize the nature and sincerity of the respect.

Clearly blank ritual alone is insufficient, there has to be some eventual goal to it. But in the case of many of the ‘senseless’ rituals addressed here, it has more to do with ensuring that the habit remains strong.

As for why we should want to do this – well, that is what it means to be civilized. We’ve inherited our culture and it is our duty to both continue and improve it.

that actually works for me.

hah its funny. this is strangely one of the first times i was able to carry a conversation through to a sufficient answer quickly in the 8 years ive been on message boards.