Digest of terms

habit

patterns of behaviour which become established as ways in which a person operates, both individually and socially. According to social scientists, they may be genetically inherited, family induced, or culturally copied, and it is likely that we will show different degrees of consciousness of them, as of the extent to which we are continually shaped by them. They include such features as basic posture, how we walk and how we greet others, the sequence with which we begin or end the day (even, within that, how we wash, dress, undress), the TV programmes we watch and how we position ourselves whilst watching them. Habitual routines, as with the material 'habits' worn by monks, give pattern to our identities. As such, they are capable of being aids to survival or of becoming oppressive routines. They can be stimulating or dulling, authentic or deceiving. They can tune to deeper engagement or reinforce a state of being that is oblivious to its own isolation.

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