I posted this elsewhere, but it struck home in a way I wanted to share here.
My friends (to paraphrase) “Civility is dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of its burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner…
Civility is as dead as a door-nail.”
It began as a tiny cough, when it became PC to NOT hold a door for a woman with an armload of packages, even though I would do the same for a man. Progressed to a ghastly choking as elbows surplanted “Excuse me"’s at counters, and died a hideous death as cell-phones became more important than the people around you and concern for others on the road, as ’self’ replaced the last vestiges of ‘we’re all in this together,’ c. WWII.
We are descending into a miasma of indifference to others. One in which Narcissism is regarded as a virtue, at least by each individual. We live in a society (if you can call it that) increasingly antithetical to care for others, and blind to the idea that “If I am quiet through this concert, not only will I be kinder to others, but I will enjoy it more myself!”
I am a child of the 50’s, a child (again) of the late 60’s and early 70’s. I love people, and get joy from making them happy. I am out of sync, and out of place. I weep for the future children. I cry for my society, and what it could have become. And I miss Jimmy Carter, who ‘admitted’ to the nation that he had ‘lusted in (his) heart.’ and felt shame for it.
My childhood was buccolic. Fish in the streams, penecillan still worked against just about everything, and the Red Cars ran all over LA. People were nice to each other. Even my father, who was a racist in his own way, taught me that black folk were good people, but (for a reason I never understood) we didn't socialize with them. He hired them, and treated everyone the same. I think that was what he fought for in WWII.
I think that if we don't get back to Empathy, we are going to become a nation of sociopaths. So hang up, smile at you neighbor and the poor guy on the street. Spend some of your energy on others.
Be nice to each other. That's all.