Ray Browne, founder of the Journal of Popular Culture, regarded the study of ritual as an essential aspect of the study of popular culture. He noted that, despite all of the changes that came with the shift to modern society, ritual has continued to serve as a mechanism for translating ideas and abstract motivations into action. “Ritualism,” he wrote, “is the mystique that draws forth from deep in the psychology and sociology of a people certain attitudes and potential actions, codifies and forms them and then imposes them on the people in the form of approved forms of behavior”.
The ritual process, as Browne described it, gives its architects and participants the unusual ability to integrate the mysteries of symbolic meaning and the practicalities of specific behaviors that are necessary for the preservation of the individual and society as a whole. Ritual isn’t just a hollow form, but it isn’t merely a mystique either. It’s the bridge that connects both of these things, the path that travels between the most profound aspects of being human and the most banal, systematic social routines.
That ability to cross borders between the emotional and the practical is what makes ritual such an excellent tool for those in the budding movement to rehumanize business. Business is often depicted as as rational, efficient sphere of activity, but like all human activities, it is culturally driven. Wherever culture is present, ritual is at play.