The Difference Between Routine and Ritual
William James, at the dawn of modern psychology, argued that our habits anchor us to ourselves. As someone equally fascinated by the daily routines of artists and with their curious creative rituals, and as a practitioner of both in my own life, I frequently contemplate the difference between the routine and ritual, these two supreme deities of habit. They seem to be different sides of the same coin – while routine aims to make the chaos of everyday life more containable and controllable, ritual aims to imbue the mundane with an element of the magical. The structure of routine comforts us, and the specialness of ritual vitalizes us. A full life calls for both – too much control, and we become mummified; too little excitement and pleasurable discombobulation, and we become numb. After all, to be overly bobulated is to be dead inside – to doom oneself to a life devoid of the glorious and ennobling messiness of the human experience.
This equipoise of routine and ritual is, to me, one of the essential balancing acts of life – not unlike that of critical thinking and hope, reform and freedom.
Peace and Blessings