It makes me think of certain other activities, which, while ritualistic, are not efficient at all. Consider the wedding industry, in which the emotional static of an upcoming marriage rite is manipulated for maximum profit. One simply must have engraved invitations, and an elaborate rehearsal dinner, reception, videographer, photographer, music director, ad infinitum. For what purpose, to make everyone as comfortable as possible and to strive for their maximum enjoyment? No, certainly, as the bridesmaids wince in the custom-colored heels they're wearing and the identically-clad groomsmen vaguely realize that they feel ridiculous. All for effect, for the creation not of a moment but of a production that can be replayed in media: Pictures to prove what a grand event it was.Then there's the funeral industry, but that's another rant entirely. And you're right about process; if I just want to get to DC then I hurtle across New Jersey on 95 and look at nothing, but if I want to acknowledge the land I'm passing through, I take the longer way.
Interesting point, thank you. I think weddings and funerals are intended to be time-valuing activities, but have (at least sometimes) been perverted into means to create products and appearances. The Japanese tea ceremony is a time-valuing activity that is the very opposite of efficient. I once heard it described this way: you must do everything in the ceremony as if it's never been done before and never will be done again.
I couldn't have put it better myself, even if I read my own mind.