The way we are and are not

Why, these days, does our society seem to attach such low importance to good manners? We were taught and I still believe that good manners and its executive branch called common courtesy simply represent a code of conduct that enables each of us to live side by side with respect, in tolerance and in best harmony with our neighbour. This may not be the Hollywood / LA / Las Vegas way but what's wrong with that?

An important part of the code is designed to prohibit elitism of the kind that resulted in the death of so many Norwegians yesterday. The nice looking young man with all the explosives and all the guns is an extreme example if what occurs when good manners break down completely. Obviously the same is true in regards to any form of unlawful one on one violence. There are no good manners in evidence when one pilots a fast moving airplane into a tall and densely populated building.

A lady who had competed and I think had won a medal in an Olympic Games long gone by was being interviewed on a BBC current affairs program this morning . 'Will you be going to watch London 2012?' she was asked. 'I don't think so,' came her gentle reply, 'Although they have sent me a ticket.'  'We simply can't stand the triumphalism,' quietly explained her equally aged husband; 'All that fist shaking and so on. There is no grace any more.'

Last evening I inadvertently turned on to a snatch of the BBC's Lee Mack Show. It was, (sorry Mr Everett), an exercise in the worst possible taste and the least possible good manners and in zero 'grace'. Hilarious! Daily examples of similar (if decidedly non-hilarious) conduct from our Westminster parliament, the White House, the financial centres of the world, the spurious halls of celebrity and the fields of sport echo in macrocosm that which Mr Mack's program delivered last night in microcosm.

We choose to live in a remote villageof the north-west Highlands of Scotland. Almost literally, 'everybody knows everybody' here. It would not be possible to behave without natural good manners and its bedfellow common courtesy. Your life would be unbearable, your death probably imminent! Of course not all is always sweetness and light because such as that is never in the human genome. But in general people wave and smile and chat to each other in passing and offer to help each other in adversity. It's called good manners and it doesn't hurt a bit and that's the way we want to live.

1 comment:

  1. And, best of all Bryan, good manners and common courtesy cost us nothing....


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