The Corruption of Courtesy

                 I have been putting a good deal of thought into what to write.  Not just here, but in other aspects of my creative life.  I have, unfortunately, started a great many different types of stories, but none of them seem to get finished.  One problem with spending so much time observing and contemplating is the almost incessant amount of information which comes to me.  I can be 20 pages into something and suddenly find new information that seems to demand I write something new regarding it. 
                There is one thing which I have begun that I do have some hope for.  I have begun work on a new book which will be the first of its kind for me.  A self help book of sorts, but the information will be for a much different audience then what most self help books are for.  Currently I have it titled "Indestructible"  which is the most I am willing to venture about the contents at this time. 

                The reason I mention it here is that the contents that I am planning to inject into the core has a great deal to do with my observations about the human condition.  In particular, the condition which is brought to the forefront of my life every time I am in the urban collective.  This idea of 'courtesy' is something to which has become very corrupted as the centuries pass.  How many of you (my readers) have encountered a situation which someone else is discourteously bothering you?  I can give a few examples that are likely to strike a chord with nearly anyone.

The inattentive mother who sits idle while her child or children are screaming, running around, or in any other means, disturbing everyone and anyone that enters their sphere of annoyance.

The smoke filled car racing in front of you down a highway at a shocking 35 miles per hour; scared to go any faster because they have been "hot boxing" the car since they left their parents parking space and honestly believe that no one else on earth could ever imagine that they are driving while completely stoned.

The abusively loud teen who is screaming at their prospective mates on the cell phone, arguing over issue's that everyone else around them not only know to be irrelevant to anything serious in life, but also know that the relationship has little chance of success because such trivial trifles point less to a real problem and more to a waning lack of interest by one or both parties.  Yet, everyone around this teen is forced to endure the conversation.

                For all of us who face these and other situations on a daily basis, or even a weekly one, I find it necessary to say one thing, 'Shame on us!"  Now you might be asking why I say shame.  This is a very simple thing.  It is we who are at fault.  These situations exist because our sense of courtesy is just as corrupted as those who are so blatantly offensive to courtesy.  Why?  Simple; we continue to allow it.  We even justify it with a full subject of psychology dedicated to condemning any action which provokes us to speak up against these situations. 

                As a civilization, we have been molded to endure.  As a people, we are expected to keep our cool when others fail to adapt their emotions to an open and collective situation.  We simply want the mother to know that it is her responsibility to shut her child up.  We expect the driver to know they are acting stupid.  We believe the teen can feel our stares of discontent and so, we bitterly shut our mouths and wait for them to act accordingly.  But ask yourself, how often does this happen?  I venture to say that it is a rare event indeed.  In fact, it is usually a change in the environment which stops the annoyance, not the people committing the actions.  Sadly, each time these offensive people enter a new environment, they continue acting out as if nothing else in this world matters but themselves and the irrelevant situations which bring them to the event.  The mother never shuts her child up and when the child grows up, they simply become loud, annoying, self entitled adults who not only continue the tradition, but evolve it into something worse.  The same style of consequences will also follow in any other situation.  However, it is not the fault of the offenders for they will always do what they are allowed to do.  It is by not standing up and shaming these people that the whole of our civilization is forced to endure such people every day, every week, every generation.

                I am a proponent of liberty.  However, I also believe in simple courtesy.  Allowing someone to steal your time, your comfort, your rest; your break from the office, your peace while eating with a friend, your time with your family, I say there is no difference if they were taking your television right from your home.  This kind of theft may be legal, but it isn't by any means moral.  Though they may have the right to do such things, we also have the right to voice our disgust with such actions.  Sadly, most humans do not learn from punishment and reward when they become adults.  Adults learn from shame and deprivation.  The law will not allow us to remove anything from them but their time, as they do to us, but there is no laws which state we cannot and must not shame them for being so base and entitled.

                Perhaps it is time for those of us who are so accustomed to biting out tongue to cease this activity.  Otherwise, how are others to know what the boundaries are?  How can we possibly expect another to understand that they do not have the right to steal our calm for their own sad intentions?

No comments:

Post a Comment