A spontaneous mechanism of social control characterized by non-rational behavior uncritically adopted by the members of the society.
A ritual is a behavioral template, obviously of evolutive origin. It operates a socially and transgenerational recursive pre-conditioned conditioning based on a set of mostly gestual communication devices (in fact a language in a very general sense). It is representational and tends to standardize learning and use of basic behaviors.
Rituals seem to have their roots in some animal behavior like nuptial parades, territory marking and danger signalling. In human societies, they become masses manifestations, generally religious or ideological. They strongly inhibit individual behavior and, by reinforcing adhesion to common beliefs, values and norms, focalizes mass action. Consequences can be either positive, or negative.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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