Tradition often dictates the acceptable life scripts that someone can follow. Tradition provides guidelines of how one will live. Tradition includes examples of what is expected to happen if someone deviates from their selected life script, from ridicule to disaster.
However, tradition is not legally enforced and rarely socially enforced. Tradition dictates everything from how meals are fixed to recommended places to meet potential spouses to whether a wife will work in the home or in the family business.Failing to follow tradition can result in alienation from one’s family or even community, but it lacks the enforcement mechanisms of either rules or laws.
Rules for a social group can arise as a means of preventing problems recorded in tradition. For example, rules on the segregation of genders often originate from traditional fears that mixing of the genders will result in sexual immorality.
Traditional knowledge of certain foods carrying a high risk of food poisoning can lead to religious rules prohibiting its consumption. For example, kosher dietary rules forbid eating the shellfish. These rules are commonly attributed to the health risk of eating under-cooked shellfish. The rules in both cases arose from the intent to prevent harm.
Knowledge has the potential to liberate someone from pre-defined roles or to act as yet another constraint. Individuals can select the path their own life will follow based on knowledge of themselves or their desired life outcome.
Individuals have the opportunity to evaluate existing life scripts and modify them for their own life or adapt the life script to fit modern life. Knowledge of potential hazards can also act as a constraint.
Someone raised in a mining community may be pressured to work in the mines. The knowledge of the danger inhaling dust can cause may drive them to work as an equipment operator, truck driver or buyer instead. The individual then follows the expected life script of working for the mine after becoming an adult but has modified their script.
(continued from part I)