Politeness (was Re: Society)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*lib.org)
Tue, 30 Dec 1997 04:30:48 -0800

I see politeness as social "synovial fluid". Sometimes greasy, but functional.
Without it, imperfectly-mating (and, perhaps, "irrational") elements are
more likely to grind together. When too much of it is present, swelling,
reduced mobility and discomfort can result.

I sometimes find impoliteness in others disturbing; I am even, on occasion,
polite to myself. I regard rationality as necessary but not sufficient to
my current preferred existence. I believe I've come to this opinion
rationally. :)

Consequently, I find politeness to be practical. I do find myself wishing
things worked smoothly without it, but I wish my car didn't need oil
changes, too.


At 11:23 PM 12/29/97 -0800, you wrote:
>> However, in most forms of day to day interaction, there is no
>> reason *not* to be polite; there is a substantial difference between
>> politeness and altruism...one doesn't necessitate the other. Neither
>> politeness or rudeness will contribute to social breakdown...they are
>> simply two ways of looking at reality: through an optimistic, polite view,
>> or a pessimistic, rude view.
>I don't see politeness as optimism at all; I see it as capitulation
>to irrational standards. Learning to use the dribble glass, as it
>has been put so eloquently. And the expectation of politeness gets
>in the way of plain no-bullshit communication.
>Lee Daniel Crocker <lee@piclab.com> <http://www.piclab.com/lcrocker.html>
>"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
>are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
>for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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