The Living Force
External considering makes life easy for both oneself and others. When you are trying to maintain the status quo in a group whose style of communication is tainted by pathology, you may be making things easy for the group but are you making things easy for yourself? Answer to that question would depend upon what your aim is in a general sense and also the more specific purpose behind interacting with such a group.whitecoast said:From this perspective, what constitutes good manners can vary between social groups. In some more sardonic friend circles I know, sarcasm and subtly insulting one another is just a form of play. If you were to derail those types of comments with the naive politeness you're used to showcasing around the elder's home, you would probably get awkward side-glances from people. So I often do need to give mixed company a cold reading to try and determine the types of behaviour they consider the least threatening, most welcoming, et cetera.
Personally though, as much as I try and keep people humming along hunky-dory with my good manners and such, a part of me wishes that people were less sensitive to disruptions of their vagal nerve stimulation from inconsequential garbage (e.g., if arriving at a party without a frock coat is enough to send guests into a splitting frenzy and thinking him/her rude, you really have to wonder about the stability of the rest of their instinctive substratum!)
There is self-importance coming out from the above text. You could be outwardly doing the "right" thing, but on the inside seem to have an attitude that is opposite of what external considering demands. A general sense of good will towards others is the sign of psychological health. Certain adjustments need to be made when one is confronted with psychopathology but having a dress code in a party does not fall into that category. Even in the case of dealing with pathology, a sense of superiority or contempt is hardly a productive attitude.
But codifying good manners into all these behaviour rules as was the fashion in Victorian times seems more to me a trait of more hysterical cultures. OSIT. By their standards, Diogenes of Sinope was a pretty rude guy, wasn't he? But he lived a more natural life than many contemporary Hellenics, and I'm sure a hunter-gatherer would find his behaviour far less rude than a regular Athenian.
There is a small number of exceptional people in society who stand out in a positive way. Similarly, there is a percentage of deviants. In between, there are the regular people who show a range of psychological characteristics. Diogenes of Sinope was most likely an exceptional man. He was not only tolerated but revered by the masses because of the kind of life he led and people could see the essential good-will behind his abrasive actions. People trying to imitate Diogenes' external actions without the corresponding inner development would not be tolerated in any society - osit.
For the general population, rules of behavior serve a useful purpose. These rules act as a deterrant against rampant narcissism and disregard for others at the basic level and such rules of behavior are observed in every society from bushmen to uptight Victorians. The problem lies not in the existence of rules but in the corruption of values that give rise to the rules through the influence of macro-social psychopathology.