[Buddha-l] decline in politeness

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Sun Aug 22 08:51:28 MDT 2010


Richard wrote:

>The general decline in politesse that seems to be sweeping the
>has not found its way to the southwestern states, and probably
>for another twenty-five years or so.

Politeness went out with the end of rationing after the Second
World War in this country (Southend Council Estate UK). 

It used to be if you were in trouble and you wanted help or
generous support the poor would be your most reliable resource -
so my grand-dad used to say. Nowadays we're all so comfortably
off we've lost touch with real life. Locked in our one bedroom
flats in front of the TV or the computer terminal we think we can
just tell the world to f*** off. Apparantly hardly anyone knows
their next door neighbour in this country...though maybe that's
our world famous English reserve. Of course I'm an exception to
that - my next door neighbour comes in and drinks my coffee
....well actually its his coffee..every day. At least he's not
too impolite.
Aryacitta/David Living

List denizens probably will laugh their heads off, but frankly,
folks, can't we see the bread & circuses effect in all this? 
Consumerism functions to create profits for the merchants and
financiers, while increasingly isolating consumers (the majority
of any industrial population) from community and sociability. On
the block of the street where I live, everybody on the street
except for the people in two houses disregard everybody else,
while parking big cars on the curb. This block has two rented
houses as well. One of them is housing while at the state U for
two friendly American-Basque young women from far east in the
state, who wave and say hi if they are outside and see you, or
vice versa. I got them over one day for coffee. One of the girls
offered yard help if I needed it. The people in the other rental
never acknowledge anyone else's existence.  
The other (owned) house is next door: a "trustafarian" woman and
her off again on again partner. They act civil only when they
want something, like a new backyard fence, that they refused to
half finance (the local custom here. We built it anyway. The old
one was falling down.) There's much more but I'll spare y'all.
So, this is not an apartment scene, but a life in houses scene.
Makes little diff. Some neighborhoods hold block parties about
once a year for people to meet their neighbors, but it doesn't do
anything 'real' for sociality. 

All of the above, and what David is talking about, I think, can
be attributed to the extreme individualism and delusions of
self-sufficiency that are fostered by the widely promoted
political-economic motives and goals of consumerism and
life-style.  Also operative in this social isolation, it seems,
could be class and political antagonisms. The latter discourage
one, for example, from putting out yard signs during elections or
from writing letters to the local paper's editor, both of which I
do anyway. All political debates are now media-controlled or
online. Face-to-face, it's not done and people try to avoid even
the prospect if they know your politics differ from theirs, a
result of your yard signs and ltes.  
So David is right: with social isolation encouraged from all
sides, and the TV and computer for company, "other people" (whom
Sartre called "Hell") can just f*** off. 


More information about the buddha-l mailing list