Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Via feelings, this... [not via, as an in-n-out visiting self-negtiv sometimes shoulder sits and tells me, an arid, academe-inflected near-as-dammit surrealee braintwista avant-lista] ... My wife and I often wonder - as we float through shops, sit in bedroom, and walk the line outside - about whether there was ever a time when chaos was less. One example: We open a door, stand aside, let others through. Rarely a thank you. In fact, often we feel the person in question thinks we must be weaker than they. I am personally minded of a key scene in Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground. If you know it you will know what I mean: it concerns people who always think you are in their way and, religiously, never step aside.

We seldom whine. Moreover, we never trade our private woes to win an argument or get ahead. It's that hilarious and telling 'cancer of the universe' sketch by Pete and Dud. We hate that attitude. It looks, though, as if whining and woe-trading gets you prizes. The squeeky wheel gets the grease. We prefer to keep our dignity and to live privately. (Of course we are pious; we are Catholics. Allow us a high horse, please, in place of material gains lost by not joining in. We harm no-one.)

I feel the destination for this line of thinking is already colonised, by brain-rancid, illogical and piecemeal media-made images - of Grumpy Old this, that and the other. We do not occupy this faux generality and refute its cartooning. Such issues are real. Polemic is unfulfilling, even as a starter.

Manners are important. They have both social power and an important, even crucial psychological function. Negating them demonstrates ignorance of these facts, and betrays weakness not strength.

There are some intrinsic heirachies: a mother with a baby, an old person with a stick, a person in a wheelchair. Upon seeing these on a bus, off your arse and help, off your arse and offer to help. Or cut out your heart and sit.


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