All religions have pictures and therefore we typically associated rituals with religion however rituals exist beyond religions. Defence – Army, Navy, Airforce has several rituals, so much so that we don’t even observe their presence. Most institution, most organisations seemed to have some rituals.
Why do we have them? Are they good or are they bad?
Well this is a vast topic but let I want to tell you how rituals is a good thing in passing on Knowledge and good practices.
Have you wondered how knowledge is passed on? One obvious method is to write books.. But only explicit knowledge can be passed on by such a measure. knowledge which requires expression of feelings and subtle information that can’t really be expressed in the book because they are not black and white is called tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is generally in the head of the expert and experts finds it very hard to convert this knowledge into explicit knowledge by writing it in a book. A good way to communicate this knowledge is through stories, sharing personal experiences and showing demonstrations.
There is a tired way to communicate knowledge accurately for generations. This method also is very powerful in ensuring that knowledge is practised. It’s called embedded knowledge. Embedded knowledge refers to the knowledge that is locked in processes, products, culture, routines, artifacts, or structures (Horvath 2000, Gamble & Blackwell 2001). Knowledge is embedded either formally, such as through a management initiative to formalize a certain beneficial routine, or informally.
As you can make connections now; rituals are nothing by actions that embed some knowledge that our ancestors or organisation felt is required for better life or better Output. To really understand what knowledge is embedded in a ritual, a good starting point is to break down the ritual into individual actions and see what are the benefits of each of the actions. Some of the benefits maybe accrued only after a long period of practice or may only compliment another action and Dear for all actions may not have any value by them-self therefore context in which the ritual is performed is key in understanding the embedded knowledge.