Redirection

zondag 20 augustus 2017

The Importance Of Manners

It dawned on me recently. Though nowadays most people live either on their own or with their spouse and/or a couple of minor children, and the houses are big and spacious, not so long ago even wealthier among us often had to share their house with relatives and servants, and the children were often quite numerous and stayed at home much longer than now.

In books like those about Miss Silver you can see that this Victorian habit of living all together survived even into late fifties and it was not uncommon for childless couples and singles to share a small family type hotel where each would have his separate room/s but would share meals and bathrooms.

In a situation like this it's of crucial importance that people don't become too familiar with each other and keep some privacy while on the other hand, they always stay polite and neighbourly, otherwise you can expect all sorts of nasty fights and general unpleasantness. It also helps when folks share some common concepts like the hour at which they eat their meals, for instance, otherwise you have a chaos when each household member eats at his own time and the kitchen is always a mess.

Another thing that helps is tolerance of others. It's strange that though our society supposedly increases in tolerance each day, people actually hardly tolerate each other any more. They prefer to socialise with their computer or TV set, they seldom talk to their neighbours, they drop their friends whenever it suits them and hardly even care about their own blood relatives, when they can't extract any profit out of them.

It has become fashionable to criticise egoistic baby-boomers who spend their time and money going on luxurious vacations now they are retiring yet nobody asks why they should keep the inheritance for their children and nephews/nieces when they hardly get any attention from them, either. There used to be a time when people hanged out with their second and third cousins, now they probably don't even know their names. So may be, we don't need manners, after all?

10 opmerkingen:

  1. Housewife Outdoors21 augustus 2017 om 04:19

    Good points. Manners are there to keep certain distance between people rather than encourage intimacy. I once read some business life consultant say that it is bad that people do not act formally anymore: he thought that making friends and bonding at workplace is actually a bad thing, things go more fluently when people keep certain distance.

    I have always pitied heroines in Jane Austen novels; having to share your bed with your sister, no privacy at all.

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  2. People socialise in the workplace because it's the only thing that matters nowadays. There is practically no social life outside of work anymore...

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  3. Sanne

    Some very interesting points you've made here, but I think you have missed an important aspect about manners. People were not formal with their friends, there were people you could let your hair down around and others you did not.

    It also encouraged married couples to be more intimate as they needed to be more formal with others.

    Mark Moncrieff

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  4. Mark, it appears to me that people belonging to "better circles" were pretty formal even within their own family. After all, they used to change for dinner:)

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  5. I completely agree on all those points. All I can say for the baby boomers, in general if you have spent enough quality time with your children then they would care more about you than your inheritance. That alone speaks volumes.

    -ThatStepfordGal

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  6. I'm inclined to think there is a general tendency in Western society to egoism and disregarding family ties. And even if you try and do everything by the book while raising your children there is always a chance they come under worldly influence...

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  7. You are very right about that! As an immigrant I have noticed that between Western families and families like mine. Worldly influence does get to immigrants too but to a lesser extent, for sure. I wonder why it has become like that in the West?

    -ThatStepfordGal

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  8. I never thought of several of the points given here. Good thoughts. I do have one question...what books have Miss Silver as it's character? I am not familiar with the name. You have me very interested to read them now! Sarah

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  9. Sarah, Miss Silver mysteries were a series of books written by Patricia Wentworth, a British lady author who died in the 1960. She wrote the first book somewhere in 1929 and the last one came out the year of her death. They are nice books.

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