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I am looking for a good word or short phrase to communicate the fact that an action or an institution is needed, available, in common practice, meaningful, useful, and implemented. It should have some regard to the passage of time. In the following sentences, I use the phrase "need and course" to communicate that meaning, but I ma looking for a better, widely accepted word or phrase

Even in our automated society of high technology, there is still a "need and course" to farm by hand.

Even in our age of advanced military technology and magic, there is still a "need and course" for hand to hand combat.

  • Your examples are fundamental or indispensable. Not sure those carry the connotation you are looking for, though. – stevesliva Apr 22 '16 at 3:25
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    I'm not familiar with the phrase "need and course". Do you mean there's a place for farming by hand, or do you mean that there is still a requirement to do so? – Lawrence May 22 '16 at 11:58
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A phrase that may serve your purpose is "intrinsic need".

Intrinsic is an adjective meaning "belonging naturally; essential."

To use one of your examples,

"Even in our automated society of high technology, there is still an "intrensic need" to farm by hand."

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I would suggest "wisdom to be gained from".

Even in our automated society of high technology, there is still wisdom to gained from farming by hand.

A bit less wordy editorial suggestion:

Even in our high-tech, automated society, there is wisdom to gained from farming by hand.

Following the same logic, I would suggest:

Even in this age of almost magical military technology, there is wisdom to gained from hand to hand combat.

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The phrase "a place for" along with your institution or verbal noun would work here:

Even in our automated society of high technology, there is still a place for farming by hand.

A quick Google Books search turns up examples like

"The new technology is here . . . but there is still a place for traditional television." (from a report by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee)

and

"[T]here is still a place for visually observing and making sketches at the eyepiece." (from Star Clusters and How to Observe Them by Mark Allison)

I believe this phrase captures your meaning--there is still a need for the action or institution, and thus it still occurs/exists.

Much more colloquially, you could also use "a thing" as in

Even in our age of advanced military technology and magic, hand-to-hand combat is still a thing.

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Northern European languages often prefer a noun (need, course)where English would naturally use a verb.

He found organic gardening was widely practised on the allotments.

But I found this on a dust jacket:

A concise and highly informative guide to the cultivation and harvesting of ... culinary herbs.

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