21 Feb

Once people start going about their business oblivious to techniques of civility like pausing momentarily to allow someone passing to pass, like respecting a cue – then it’s on. And it’s on. I’m not certain how many times an elderly person has shown over-the-top gratitude to me simply for doing what one should do – giving them the respect they are entitled to and letting them pass first. They have grown so used to being pushed out the way they believe that if you don’t do that you are displaying Franciscan standards of virtue.

How has it come to this? Go to a museum during the school season and you’ll see it. Once when you went on a school excursion the teachers lined you up regimentally. You were required to wait until adults had passed. Now kids crowd thru the entrances to cultural institutions like stampeding herds only much nosier. Teachers are no longer authority figures, more facilitators. They say things like: Uh guys I, like, think maybe we should…

Once exiting the art gallery several adults including myself were literally pushed to the walls by an oblivious flock of wild little humans. I mentioned to the teacher leading up the rear that this was inappropriate. That children should give way to adults. He gave me a look of such smug condescension that red flames shot up behind my eyes. I wanted to clock the prick.

The pop psychology ridden management-obsessed dorks would probably give me the same condescending smirk and tell me I need anger management training. They would. In this world increasingly governed by passionless robots they think that feeling anger is a problem. That’s what they mean by anger management that one should not feel it at all. No wonder so many of us get thru each day on properly prescribed, pharmaceutically-manufactured addictive drugs! Anger is not something to be managed, it is to be controlled..

And how do we teach control and maintain it.

One such way is by the training at a young age to mind other people. This is the whole point of such dead customs as the giving of one’s seat up to an adult. As an adult you will then give up your seat to the elderly. It will be automatic and you will not perceive it as an inconvenience or a slight but as something befitting a human being. You will also exercise reason when confronted with someone who is smug in their discourtesy. You will neither clock them nor let on that that what you really want to do – unless there is a good reason. Control. These techniques of body and mind are, like table manners or hygiene, best instilled when young.

We no longer do this.


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