Why Does Society Need Social Rituals?

Topics: Religion, Sociology, Human Pages: 2 (680 words) Published: October 27, 2006
In chapter one, The Nonrational Foundations of Rationality, Collins explains that humans in society act on more than rational thinking. Being considered as a superior race, human beings pride themselves on their capacity to use reason in order to problem solve and create new science and technology. However, if this was a completely rational world, Collins argues, no social contracts would exist and thus, society would not exist at all, the world would just be composed of isolated individuals. It is not rational to trust that other people's actions will benefit the individual. Collins alludes to people having their self-interest as their main concern. So how does a society form or stick together as a cohesive unit? To help explain this, Collins use the free bus example, in which he concluded the rational thing for an individual to do is to expect or encourage everyone else to be to contribute to the fund of the bus, while the individual just rides on for free. The system could work if people felt a sense of duty or were filled with enthusiastic response to attempting a way to create something free and beneficial to society. If everyone was unselfish and contributed voluntary, the free bus system would work. But for that to happen, emotional attachment and moral feelings would have to be the force involved-and not rational calculations. Moral feelings bind people together in a group. But what inspires morals to be created as opposed to our natural, rational thinking? Collins argues that social rituals produce these moral feelings. By doing this, the people partaking in the unifying rituals, which creates group solidarity. Their shared experiences allowed them to achieve accomplishments in a contractual society such as creation of businesses, and citizen's rule abiding tendencies. Social rituals allow people to feel like they belong among other members of society. When people believe that they are members of something, then they do their best to make that society...
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