We confidently declare that there is no more ubiquitous phenomenon in human society, that that of “routine.” Indeed, we are presently employing that feature in the writing of this note.
It may be permissible to define the word, “routine”, as a regularized, standard, and unvarying sequence of behaviors, performed for one specific purpose. Examples of such unvarying routine behavior are seen to take place in all our personal rituals, such as going to bed, awakening, brushing teeth, shaving, bathing, getting dressed, having breakfast, commuting to work and answering telephone calls. Routine behaviors of individuals are so fixed and predictable, that they have been proposed by several legal academics, as a potentially admissible subject of testimony at trial, provided relevant to the issues.
Routine procedures for the accomplishment of many tasks are readily available and require no thought; they exist without the challenge of original evaluation and the hazards of creative experimentation. Since past routines have proven to be successful, their replication can be accomplished with confidence.
There exists, as well, the category of routine speech. This phenomenon is customary and useful in greetings between friends, neighbors, workmates and family. Other examples of routine speech, occur between commuters, travelers, vacationers, in table talk, in interaction at stores and barber shops, banks, and waiting rooms, and at all places of public assembly. Intrinsically repetitive and uninteresting, routine talk appears nevertheless, to have social utility by its perpetuation of existing societal relationships, accepted behavior and the maintenance of the sense of community normalcy.
Empirically, various members of society may be identifiable by their publicly known regular activities or behaviors. For example, a neighbor may be known for the fact that he routinely and regularly mows his lawn on Tuesday afternoons, another for his nuanced speech, such as, “How ya dooin?”, someone else, by the fact that he is eternally engaged in the repair of his ancient car, yet another, by his daily routine of jogging through the community.
In stark contrast to the social utility of routine in mundane matters, it is understood that in the sphere of society’s search for vital solutions to its existential scientific, ethical and intellectual problems, routine thought, and timeworn ideas, are regressive, and can have the potential to be distracting and harmful. Essentially required in these instances, is the creative infusion of new ideas and untried, imaginative approaches. Intellectual prowess, and not stale replication, is essentially needed. To fill this need, it is essential to operate, support and maintain fine schools and universities and most importantly, a capable, educated and creatively inspired citizenry.