Re: Who are you calling stupid?

From: stencil (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 11:42:30 MDT

This appeared in the "Letterbag" section of the current

       I am interested in the remarks on manners vs.
morality, and think it is a useful subject for our society
to contemplate. Thank you for opening the dialogue. Years
ago I was struck by a scene in the film Laurence of
Arabia. King Faisal is talking with a reporter who is
heading into the desert to observe an upcoming battle.
(Whether the remark was actually made by Faisal, or is
simply good screen writing, isn't critical here.) The king
says, "Ah, yes, mercy. Laurence has a passion for mercy.
With me it is simply good manners. You shall have an
opportunity to observe which motivation is the more
reliable." That the battle ends with the fictionalized
Laurence opting for total carnage doesn't prove one thing
or another -- films go the way the script goes. But
Faisal's remark is an interesting view of an issue that
will become more and more critical as we become more and
more of a global society. The peoples of Islam, of
Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism -- to name
only a few -- draw on overlapping but different
moralities. And we are increasingly linked by economic
realities while separated by competition for shrinking
space and finite resources. What motivation do we want
everyone to rely on when we are toe to toe, armed with
conflicting moralities and weapons the people of Faisal's
day never dreamed of: morality, or good manners? (Lynn

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stencil sends

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