Very well written and we need not stick on to the past on any issue because life is always happening in the now and in the present context, everything is contextual/situational. There is no point in following only rituals or following things ritualistically in any domain of life. But unfortunately from individuals to institutions to international diplomacy /relations follow this and lead their followers to lead a shallow life.
There is also no point in patting and pronouncing that relations are normal as if it is an achievement by itself, this applies to all relationships. I can get into examples and detailed logical explanations for all the points indicated above.
For want of space and time I would like to sprinkle around some quotes of Dean Hannotte, a great Psychological Counselor and Author which will convey many factors, more lucidly, connected with such issues as discussed in this article:-
1. " "Normal" is just a euphemism for "lacking ambition".
2. "All euphemisms grow into damnations".
3. "Don't read history and weep. Create the future and laugh".
4."There's never a right attitude for taking the next step. Just get there."
5."All political correctness is a desperate attempt to avoid analytical effort."
6"Power leads to abilities. Powerlessness leads to despair. Which one is better?"
7."People always think they know as much as they need to. Until, suddenly, they don't."
8."A genuine education requires forgetting old falsehoods more than learning new truths".
9."If you need to be unconventional, unconventionality will find you and lead you by the hand."
10."If you don't believe you can do something, you'll never find out whether in fact you could have."
11."It's better to long for something authentic than to accept something false and call it "good enough".
12. "To be well-adjusted means that when monolithic social forces change capriciously, you comply robotically".
13."You're welcome to join the conversation, but please leave your guns, your umbrellas, and your citations at the door".
14."Running away is always the easiest tactic, isn't it? Unfortunately, as a strategy, it's about as effective as saying, "I quit."
15."Dead historians didn't understand the issues we're now facing. With every advance in psychological sophistication, recorded history becomes less relevant".
16."Enlightened self-interest drives all human progress. So don't worry, just act in your own self-interest. You owe that much to all the people who will learn from the example you set."
17."All social evolution is a work in progress. All innovations start out "half-baked". It takes generations for any progressive movement to understand what the hell it is really trying to do".
18."Lord Acton said "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Adlai Stevenson said "Power corrupts, but lack of power corrupts absolutely." Dean says, "Power empowers. Next question."
19."It's easy to believe our existing skills and insights fully prepare us for life, but actually new situations that require genuine growth can pop up at the worst times and impose the most inconvenient punishments."
20."Those who are really smart understand that in disputes it's better to be wrong than to be right. If you're wrong you have an opportunity to learn something. Only people who are allergic to learning need always to feel they're "right".
21."I have a feeling that lots of discoveries are awaiting our notice. Not only in the hard sciences, but all around us. In how we think, how we relate, how we treat one another, how we view progress. We're just beginning to become civilized"
22."I enjoy cherry picking passages in books that bolster my own conclusions. But what really helps me is hearing the views of others who are able to defend their opinions and, if I'm lucky, teach me something I simply hadn't considered before".
23."All serious life changes make you feel like a fish out of water at first. Then, once you've learned to crawl on dry land, you'll realize how much you have evolved and how much more alive you feel. And you'll never go back to living in the water again."
24."Many inventions are dreamed up because they reflect the best our imagination has to teach us about ourselves. When it comes to choosing between discovering more about the world around us, and inventing a better world we can build with our own hands and hearts, I vote for imagination".
25. "Ideologies aren't science. They're contour maps of human ambivalence and confusion, what people feel when they don't know what to think. People who take ideologies seriously are the first ones to conclude that human nature is so intractable that a science of human nature is impossible".
26. "When high school football teams pray for victory, all they're doing is saying, "We deserve victory more than the other guys." There is never any evidence offered, and for a very simple reason. They know that imaginary friends in the sky aren't in the least offended when you lie to them."
27. "We should applaud all progressive movements. All negative and foolish practices need to be opposed, especially religious and economic. There is no one "war for the future". There are millions of people all doing their best to make different sorts of contributions. It's not a song, it's a symphony" .
28. "Archimedes said, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." In psychological terms, this means: Find the biggest issue around and give your life to it. Whatever small effect you have will eventually have large effects on all the lesser issues out there."
29. "Do you need proof that social progress comes from personal growth rather than political might? People who are skilled and insightful solve their problems peacefully and with an eye to satisfying all disputants. Governments solve their problems like reptiles: whoever is bigger and stronger wins. Do the math".
30. "People confuse memory with consciousness. They often say, "I tie my shoes unconsciously." And this is partly why Freud's oxymoronic theory of an "unconscious consciousness" appeals to the gullible. I believe we're perfectly conscious when we tie our shoes. But it's such an unimportant event that we habitually remember none of the details afterwards."
31."I know that people do bad things. But that does not mean there are bad people. When a child thinks, "That man did a bad thing! He's a bad man!" he's falling into the philosophical error of reification, the big brother of deification. His mind perceives a true fact, but his heart blows it out of all proportion; his emotions have defocused his critical thinking. This cocoons him in a false sense of security, since he mistakenly believes that he now knows everything he needs to know about what he has just experienced. It makes him not more, but less, capable of dealing with that flawed man in the future"
32."The world is full of talented and bright people who fail to create anything of lasting importance to others but who nevertheless lead interesting and occasionally instructive lives because they insist on demarcating themselves from social traditions. Unlike conventional people who settle down early in life, forget their dreams and wait to die, people who are true to their human potential are alive for the duration. They ask questions. They change their minds. They are living clumps of froth riding the crests of ocean waves, occasionally born aloft by a gust of wind to land on a new perch and view new wonders, while the great ocean beneath slumbers on unaware."
Also links related to rituals and ritualistic behavior