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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,728,681  

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Reponses: 97

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Question of the Week: 81 - 10/13/2002

ExCUSE Me! Has Common Courtesy Become A Thing of the Past?

Is it just me or are people crabbier, ruder and less courteous than once was the norm? Have you ever received an email without any sort of greeting or salutation, but which ‘demands’ that you must do such-and-such for him/her and right now as well? Or perhaps had a parking spot stolen? Been given the one-finger salute? Been behind the person in the ten-items only line who has at least twice that amount? (C’mon! I know that you count them, too!) Held the door open for someone who obviously thinks that it must be your job or something and so has no need to thank you for YOUR courteous gesture? Tell us your horror stories! What can we do to make the world just a little better mannered? For some background info, talking points and helpful suggestions, see: Courtesy by Chuck Gallozzi.

 Reponses:   There are 97 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

Open Your Eyes... Oct 18th. at 9:01:59 pm EDT

Denise (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Age: 32 - Email

I try and look at everyone else as what they are, a fellow human being...perhaps the preson driving so slowly in front of you is just learning to drive...perhaps, the person who walked through the door you held for them without even noticing you there, is only running into the store for a new pair of panty-hose to wear to a loved ones funeral, is upset there for not as observant or courteous as they usually are...granted, being a fellow human being, I am not perfect and so I fail at this...but all we can do is try...try...try...

one of my fondest memories was witnessing a child at a nearby wal-marts on christmas eve, asking for help in finding a particular gift for his mother...he mentioned to the sales person as how he didn't want his mother to think him dumb because he did not give it to her, knowing she wanted it...I introduced myself to him explaining that I overheard his problem...I helped him find the gift...he may soon forget...his mother may forget the gift...but I will always remember that day...when I gave myself a gift by helping another

A Revision Of The Golden Rule Oct 18th. at 5:42:29 pm EDT

Coyoteknight (Reseda, Ca) Age: 28 - Email

Half of me wants to agree that the world is going to crap and everyone I run into is a jerk. Come on, everybody knows this.

The truth is that while everyone is getting surlier and surlier, part of the reason is that we expect the others around us to act in a certain way, an extreamly artificial an contrived way that has nothing to do with how we feel and think. What does this say about ourselves?

We all want people to be a certain way, and I'm not just talking about saying bless you when you sneeze or to bite their lip when you say somthing that they disagree with, we want the quality of humanity to rise.

We want people to BE more noble and kind which is somthing entierly different than being "polite" and "nice"

I think that we have to become the ideal that we almost expect others to be if we are to see this happen.

We can't force others to act the way we want them to without being hypocrits ourselves and this is where the other half of me comes in.

I know that the reason people act like such morons is that they are doing the whole politeness schtick for other people, and they expect the same in return. The obvious problem with this is that other people have bad days or are from different countries that have different ways of signaling respect or were just plain brought up by people that didn't know or didn't care about these customs and rules.

The result of this is that people stop "trying to be nice" at the first sight of rudeness or they keep on repressing their anger until they blow up.

I feel that the only real solution to this problem is to look at the source of the matter. do we treat our friends in the same way as the masses?

No! and the reason is that they are the masses, faceless and innumerable, they are not real people to us, just bodies to avoid, try to grope or any other objectifying action we can think of.

This is how we experience people on the street and elswhere that are "strangers".

In the past we were alienated from eachother by distance and lower quality transportation or comunication, now we are separated by population, there are too many potential friends and allies to choose to connect with and so we ignore the humanity in almost all of them.

We cannot force others to recognise each other for the potential friends they are, nor should we lest we become tyrants ourselves, but we can choose to look at the people in the crowd in a different way.

Try this the next time you are in a crowded bank, or even better, a resturaunt, instead of scanning around the blob of humanity, hold your attention on one individual at a time and watch for a moment to get an understanding of what it is they are doing. That's all!

Try it and you'll realize, not just think or believe, that these are individuals like yourself, they aren't just a mob of things out to get you or obstacles to avoid while walking down the sidewalk.

You will see the man tying his shoelaces in front of the door you are trying to get in as a man and you will see the woman who has toilet paper on her shoe is a woman, both with the same day to day actions as you. You automatically act in a different way, when you see a man as a man and a woman as a woman.

Not nice, not polite but you act as if you are an individual talking to another individual.

Of course you don't change overnight, and the people on the street won't change, but the more you do it, the more things will change.

Yes, You will change slowly but surely because unlike somone who is trying to be nice, you are not "trying" in the first place.

You are naturally reacting to the realization that the body before you is a person.

No secular dogma, no preformed pattern of assumptions that if he does this then it means that, just two individuals or a collective of individuals connecting in some inexpressible way behind the words being spoken.

If you want the world to be more authentically noble, then start with yourself and pass on to others the importance of seeing people for what they are, individuals united in their uniqueness.

Instead of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, become the person you would hope others would become and forget about whether people are being rude to you or you are being rude to them, being an authentic person is what matters.

You won't believe the stress that is releived by just doing this one simple thing and that in and of itself is worth it. };>)>

Even In Canada You Say? Oct 18th. at 3:43:08 pm EDT

Larolyne (Canada) Age: 40 - Email

Yes, even up in the North Country where we are considered polite to the extreme you can run into such behaviours. The best defense is to ignore those people and carry on. If you treat other peope with respect than in turn you will be eventually treated with respect. Also, impress upon your siblings, parents, children and those around you, the person you are disrespectful to today could be on the next interview panel for your next job. ;) It truly is a small planet!!!

Unfortunatley Yes Oct 18th. at 8:11:34 am EDT

Ben Dunbar (Middlesbrough) Age: 16 - Email

It really is a shame, I for one always stay polite, bar the occasional catty and more oft' bitchy responce to "Do you worship Satan?". Gah. But as others have said it is EXTREMELY hard to stay cordial when some lil' (insert appropiate expletive here) is following you down the street hurling abuse at you for being gay, or for whatever other reason. I try and do quite well, but the world in general has lost a lot of it's manners. I just hope we can find tham again soon

Blessed Be

Ben Dunbar

Ecclectic strongly rooted in wicca.

Great Question Oct 18th. at 2:55:04 am EDT

Perrin (Hades, still) Age: 26 - Email

I think courtesy in general has taken a descent in recent years, for various reasons that no one really noticed. I think I "woke up" to this fact when a total stranger shot, and killed a man in Boulder, for no other reason than "Road Rage". Part of the blame for this the good old atomic bomb, prior to that invention you could kill, usually in an army or even a "police" action, but now one push of a button can wipe out the masses in a few seconds. We all have to find a release somehow, or some one pushes the wrong button, and we all get to find out if we're wrong. I try to be courteous to others, but some times it goes the wrong way. If you have a problem with being courteous, consider that their life is likely a lot worse than yours. The other person may have found out that his "Fiannce" is really a guy hiding from various parties for conning them. My point is that the Gods/Goddesses may rule the heavens, and hells, but only we can attempt to improve the world, just because I use blood sacrifices does not mean I'm a bad guy, just paranoid.

As Always,


PS. I added the dots to my "mark" as the spaces did not work last time.

What Is This "Curtesy" You Speak Of? Oct 17th. at 11:05:18 pm EDT

Jesica (CT) Age: 18 - Email

Curtesy? For what? Before I get pegged as a disrespectful youth, may it be known that I treat all with the respect I wish I recieved. I'm labeled as a punk, yelled at, and harrased on a daily basis, by people of all ages. This wears me down. Keeping cheery and good natured is not an easy thing when you get put down far more often the smiled too. So why then, should this curtesy still exist?

A Couple Of Things I Haven't Seen Mentioned Here: Oct 17th. at 10:54:14 pm EDT

Legend (Chandler AZ) Age: 28 - Email

There is a difference between being impolite and being direct. While it's always more polite to be polite (rather by definition), sometimes somebody's situation demands that they convey a given amount of information in the shortest time-span possible Of course, that's not an excuse to ALWAYS be in such a hurry that you can't be polite to people-- if that's the case, your life is just too damn complicated. On the other hand, if someone seems really upset, worried, concerned, in pain, of if you're working together on some project with a very finite time element (like finishing concrete before it sets up, say) it's actually less polite to expect people to be polite. Has anyone else ever gone up to the customer service counter of a store and been forced to stand there five minutes listening to the representative carrying on a mundane personal phone conversation? There is such a thing as TOO MUCH politeness.
Another example of excessive politeness I've come across, is in dealing with salespeople, telephone operators, managers, and bureaucracies in any form, where people seem to mistake kindess for weakness, and twist it to their advantage to get what they want out of you, and almost universally DISGUISEd as politeness. When all the time, you know what you want or need and have all the logic and reason your side and STILL practicallyhave to shove a gun in the person's face to get them to listen to you/take you seriously/give you what's rightfully yours/whatever. The problem is, politeness just isn't worth anything at the bank.

Common???????? Oct 17th. at 10:05:50 pm EDT

Don (Charleston, SC) Age: 29 - Email

Common courtesy seems to have followed the same path as common sense.
If someone holds a door open for me, lets me into traffic, ect. I may not give a verbal indicator of what is done, but I at least nod or wave as the situation permits. As far as the ambulances go, I try to get out of the way of any emergency vehicle, they may one day be going to save me, so I wish others the same opportunity.
Until the majority sees the value of courtesy, the minority must do what they feel is right.

Courtesy Oct 17th. at 10:01:20 pm EDT

Tracie (Charlotte, NC) Age: 28 - Email

Well, there certainly has been a lot to say on this topic. Why, I wonder, do pagans have such a hard time being polite? I didn't see that specific post, but I will have to. I know that from recent experience in my coven (I just joined one), while a time to start is mentioned in email posts, once we gather, some members have other commitments that make it hard on them to get to our gatherings, and also, you can't account for traffic at any time of the day or night around here :)

I've been studying Paganism for nearly 10 years, but its the way my parents brought me up that affects my courteousness towards others, and I don't think that has much bearing on the fact that they are Christian.

Here's a theory: Some Pagans may think that being courteous might somehow reveal their beliefs and might then somehow leave them open for attack of prejudice. But again, this is just a thought. I know that when I show courtesy, no neon sign blinks over my head declaring my religion.

As for small town inhabitants staring at you when you drive in, remember that you are the newest thing, and you are also a stranger. Small towns pride themselves on being insular. My sister lives in one and she says a friend of hers who also lives there (10 years or more) is still considered an outsider, and hardly anyone is overly friendly. Actually heard much the same thing quoted on a "Murder, She Wrote" episode some years back by the main character.

Good luck everyone and remember, be nice! (even if it hurts)

Courtesy Oct 17th. at 9:27:24 pm EDT

Anna (Wisconsin) Age: 54 - Email

Good manners are not dead, unlearned by many perhaps, but not dead. I find that when I treat others with respect and curtesy those manners are almost always returned. Maybe we can teach by example.

From My Point Of View Oct 17th. at 9:03:39 pm EDT

Athais (Harrisburg) Age: 45 - Email

As a nurse, I am trained to observe what goes on around me. One thing that I see is tired, worn out people running here and there but never happy. They want the most out of life and feel that 'taking it all in' and 'doing everything' is the way to acheive the most of life. They measure themselves by how high they can go up the corporate ladder or by how much money they make or by how many possessions they have. I measure myself by how I treat others and how many people I make smile. The key to this 'courtesy' thing is in what a person places value upon. If they value those people that are aggressive and care only for themselves, unfortunately they will pattern themselves after those people.

I once had a patient who barked orders to the nurses. He never was nice no matter how nice he was treated. I asked him one day why he treated people this way and he replied, "So I get what I want." That's the key. People want to 'get what I want' without realizing that true living is not in the getting but in the giving.

I have found that people are getting ruder and ruder everyday. Where I work, some of the doctors are very rude to the nurses because they want to get what they want. I am not one to be abused so I walk away telling them to look me up when they can be civil. I do the same for others who treat me poorly and when on the telephone I hang up.

I think that the television has alot to do with the way people act today. People view shows where characters disrespect each other in the most abominable ways. Some call it comedy but I call it bad behavior reinforcement. Additionally, I have often felt that people who are disrespectful to others don't like themselves. When one disrespects others one disrespects themselves because how others view you will be in a negative way. Nobody wants to really be viewed that way, do they? That is why I say that one disrespects themselves when disrespecting others.

There is, also, a lessening of the value of humans. Babies are thrown away, old people beaten, women raped, children starved and abused, etc. I think this, also, comes into play.

Until the value of humans can be raised, until what one values as success in life is raised, rudest will always be present. Unfortunately, it is passed down from generation to generation. One should not tolerate rudeness. Being rude in return is not the answer. But, when I walk away from someone abusing me, I am showing respect for myself. To not do so is condoning the behavior which only perpetuates the problem. I have noticed that people respond to this. It calls attention to the bad behavior. I have, also, noticed that people are not rude to me because I am not rude to them. I weigh every word and action before saying or doing it. What I reap in return is politeness.

In summary, when dealing with rude people it is best not to reduce yourself to their level and be rude back. They have to look at themselves in the mirror and live with who they are and how they treat others. So do you.

Courtesy - Not Quite Dead, But On Its Way Oct 17th. at 8:02:40 pm EDT

Shae O'Herne (Apache Junction, Arizona) Age: 44 - Email

As a strong proponent of excellence in customer service, I have noted the demise of courtesy for some time. I can't say if it has any relation to the increase in technology or what, but it should not matter how busy someone is or how tired they are, people should remember to treat others the way they wish to be treated. I teach my children two versions of that philosophy: The Law of Three AND The Golden Rule. It matters not to me what religion these adages were born in, they make sense. If you want people to treat you nice, then treat them nice. Obviously, you won't always be treated nicely, but don't make it your business to beat the others to the ugly side of town, if you know what I mean. Rudeness is only a small step from violence, and if we watch the news at all these days, we know that the line is being crossed more and more every day.

The only way to even begin to change the tide is for each of us to make an extra effort to exemplify what we see as good behavior, good judgment, and good attitude. Those of us who are parents have to teach our children the same - not in a military "yes, sir" "yes, Ma'am" sort of way, but in a kind "Please" and "Thank you" sort of way. Some of the laxity we see today may be a direct response to militarily imposed control by extrememly strict upbringing.

As a society, perhaps we need to stop worrying about what is "Politically Correct" and think about what is right or kind. Stop regulating so much behavior, so that people have a chance to act out of their own hearts. Who really knows the answer? Certainly not I. But as a Pagan I believe that we do each have the power to begin to create change, and to add positive energy to the universe through our own behavior and through spellwork and prayer.

Anyway - Blessed Be to all, and good luck to us as we try to make the world a better place!


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