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Whatever happened to mannes?

Do you remember a time when people were a little nicer, a little softer, a little gentler witheach other? I certainly do, and I feel that much of the world has show somehow gotten away from that...

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    Gail . 50+

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    Sep 16 2012: I do not know China's history well enough to comment on your milieu, but I do know that people are actually a little nicer today than 50 years ago in the US.

    fifty years ago, you might be lynched if you were black, living in the south, and you looked at a white woman in the eyes or spoke to any white person in an "uppity" manner. 40 years ago, as a white woman in the northern US, my employer could feel me up, knowing that if I complained, I would never get another job in my field. 30 years ago, one in four girls and one in five boys would face sexual assault. 20 years ago, a homosexual teen was tied up and dragged behind a car just for fun. 10 years ago, a woman who was assaulted by her husband was told that she must have done something to deserve it. (I know someone who was fined $2,000 and received 30 days in jail for digging clams without a license, but he received a $300.00 fine for putting his wife in the hospital with a broken jaw and broken ribs during one of his violent temper tantrums)

    I do have to say that these issues are getting easier, but I do not look back with misty-eyed longing. I recently moved to the US Southeast, and am pleased to walk into any store and share it with people of all colors. The words "thank you" and "please" seem to be increasing.

    At the same time, in the political venue, there is more virulent hatred, but as much as you see on TV about it, there is very little in daily conversation because we basically treat one another better than TV indicates.
  • Oct 15 2012: I'm wondering if manners are a mere diversion anyway.
    Yes, it may be useful to someone willing to just grease the wheels of society.
    However to someone who wants to really value people and look deeply into them, one could maybe ignore "manners" in search of touching in more necessary & needing places.
  • He Xia

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    Sep 18 2012: You have an in-depth thinking over this toipc and very fresh too. I myself didn't have very happy childhood either. I didn't live with my parents but with my relatives, which made me feel alone all the time. But the more I am grown, the intenser feeling I have to miss my parents because I have a boy now and I know how hard it must be for my parents not accompanying me then. I want to relive my childhood again. But the fact that I can't makes the memory even more cherishable and I become a person being fond of old memories. Miss the older, more traditional China.
  • He Xia

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    Sep 18 2012: Beautiful words. You must be well educated. Thanks for your reply.
  • He Xia

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    Sep 18 2012: Yes, it's "manners". Sorry I didn't notice I missed a letter. Hope to get your comment. Thank you
  • Sep 17 2012: One aspect of our perception of good/bad manners is that our concept of manners keeps changing.

    At its root, good manners are the things we do to lubricate the workings of society, to reduce friction. While this principle remains the same, the specific things that are expected of us keep changing. When I was boy, men did not open doors for other men unless they were carrying a large or heavy item. In my community, self reliance was an important characteristic for men; in return for opening a door for a an unencumbered man you would receive a frown, at least, and possibly a rebuke. Now this is viewed as a polite gesture and the usual response is a simple thank you. Society is changing very quickly now, and we do not all progress in sync. Sometimes people believe they are behaving politely and others around them do not perceive it that way.

    I have been out of the business world for a while now. Do people still shake hands when introduced?
    • He Xia

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      Sep 18 2012: Yes, good manners do move with us as society developes. In China, young people become more polite by saying thank you or please. But I doubt wether those good words are delivered out of habit or from their heart. Chinese people in the past preferred doing good deeds silently and anonymously。Present people like to show people good words and deeds.
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    Sep 17 2012: Always heard old days were better in all sense......may be we love to be nostalgic.
    However in the continuum of change we are in everything changes....and usually new things needs sometime to be accpetable....same to manners...

    With so many gadgets around and in pocket it defintely is redefining our interactions including mannerism.
    • He Xia

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      Sep 18 2012: Maybe it's too much to crticize the new things.But I just want us not to move too fast, carrying best things from past to move on with us together
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    Sep 17 2012: Let me add one more thing. In any group of people, a very small number of very rude people can tend to draw a very large amount of attention to themselves. This can give us a subjective impression of great waves of rudeness when it is really just a few people in the setting.

    Take a case of a room, like a library or a classroom with, say, sixty people in it in which one person is walking around the room banging big cymbals together. Or take an airplane in which one child in pain does a lot of screaming through the flight.

    In either case, from the sound, one might come to the conclusion that people or airplane passengers have gotten so noisy these days.

    Sometimes it is a very small minority from which we are drawing inaccurate conclusions.
  • Sep 16 2012: Also, whenever I start feeling nostalgic I try to remind myself that there were plenty of problems in the past that seemed unsurmountable at the time and also that there have been positive developments in society: for example in the last 15 years people have become more secular, have started caring more about the environment and have become more tolerant of gay people.

    I'd rather my neighbor is a person who passes everyone by without saying a word than a person who says hello and shakes my hand every day but beats up every Jew, gay person, atheist and black man he comes across.
  • Sep 16 2012: "Do you remember a time when people were a little nicer, a little softer, a little gentler witheach other?"

    No, but I will as I get older and my brain will start to color the memories of when I was a young man and it will be easy to start belittling problems of the past when I know (in hindsight) I survived them, as my parents did before me and my children will after me, that'll happen even though I'm not one of those people who'll think the world was great when I was a child (people tend to think that because they weren't aware of "grown ups problems" as kids, I won't because I didn't have a happy childhood).

    We shouldn't let our brains trick us into this kind of nostlgic thinking because it leads us to unfairly criticize the youth and institute irrational, even dangerous government policies, especially now that the world population is aging.
    • He Xia

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      Sep 18 2012: You have an in-depth thinking over this toipc and very fresh too. I myself didn't have very happy childhood either. I didn't live with my parents but with my relatives, which made me feel alone all the time. But the more I am grown, the intenser feeling I have to miss my parents because I have a boy now and I know how hard it must be for my parents not accompanying me then. I want to relive my childhood again. But the fact that I can't makes the memory even more cherishable and I become a person being fond of old memories. Miss the older, more traditional China.
  • Sep 16 2012: Hello He Xia,
    Yes, I do remember when manners were more prevalent in society. However, a friend told me more than 25 years ago, in his opinion there were no more ladies and gentlemen. Have we deteriorated even more?

    If it is true that manners are improving in some places, then this is evidence of people moving in the right direction. The fact that people want better manners is evidence in itself of improving civility. Civil persons can discuss conflicts and disagreements without poor manners.

    What is sad is the lack of interest in good manners---by anyone. Being on TV, on TED, or any other venue where there is some degree of anonymity or the fact of not being the personal presence of another, does not, IMHO, justify throwing manners overboard!

    Are we not talking about personal relationships when addressing manners? We have opinions and when asks, such as you did here He Xia, then we can share our best we have to offer. We could live better and treat people with kindness and mercy. Those who cannot do so, either by choice or by ignorance, should not "occupy the field". Good manners are worth spreading on TED or anywhere else. Who benefits when someone is cynical or judgmental in a negative way?

    I hope this is presented to all in an acceptable and good mannered style. Please pardon if this is not.
    • He Xia

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      Sep 18 2012: Beautiful words. You must be well educated. Thanks for your reply.
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    Sep 16 2012: In my experience, people are often much ruder online than in in-person interactions. I have seen this in the comments in online news sites.As I don't use Facebook or other social networks, I do not know whether this phenomenon also holds there. This phenomenon may partly be a matter of trying on an aggressive persona that would not work in the workplace or daily interactions without isolating the person.

    If you spend a lot of time online, this may color your idea of how rude people are.

    I am assuming you are not refering to specific customs that may have gone by the wayside, like men standing up to let women sit on the bus.
    • Sep 16 2012: "If you spend a lot of time online, this may color your idea of how rude people are."

      Exactly, being online just brings out what is already there but hidden, just as alcohol and gossip do and have been doing for many millennia.

      Don't think someone is nice just because they say hello, they may just do it to look nice.
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    Sep 16 2012: Do you mean manners?