As manners have created the world. Part II
Once we started to discuss manners and even took the history of their distribution, it is time to move onto more pressing matters, namely: when did manners, and why they struck such a wide strata of the population than the rules of decency have become the norm in our, no doubt, developed society?
Of course, for the people of the lower status naturally to imitate persons who have climbed a little higher. It is therefore logical that the middle class was willing to accept the customs of the elite. But why culture has become pervasive politeness, after all, European aristocrats were engaged in different practices? For example, they wore bags of genitals (codpiece), which are popular among the people did not use it. Why the upper classes never practiced customs of ordinary people?
The answer lies in the economic, political and even scientific changes in the structure of society. They began to arise, but rather to redraw anew from the middle Ages and modernity.
Until the middle Ages man led a relatively independent life. But then it became hard. The poor were tied to their lords, worked for them, were dependent. The owners got what they wanted just by using force and ignoring the weak.
Thus, no one was worried about offending his person. Could the peasants to appreciate his friends from the point of view of etiquette? The truth is, I don’t think they wrenched from the behavior of his contemporaries. No social fears, but there was a real danger to die by the sword, torture, enslavement. That’s what bothered them. Practices just started to be dictated by religion, but were free from the shackles of social pressure. Life was uncertain, people lived mostly in the moment, acting without regard to future consequences. Otherwise it will not survive.
The ruling authorities, meanwhile, were consolidated in the hands of a few. And when they began to form a more or less stable government, people began to interact with each other more closely. Once this has occurred, society needs stable social landscape.
The right to use physical force was assigned to the Central government (army, police), to reduce the chances of a collision with violence. Formed new centers of stability and security. The population grew, productivity and living standards, respectively, also grew. There was specialization of labor. As a result, each member of society became more and more dependent on the other. The longer and more difficult was the chain of relations established between individuals, the more vigorously Chagall March of the civilizing process.
The population increased in density, division of labor and deep relationship has developed rapidly. People better understand the feelings of others, giving people personal space and moments of solitude, trying not to offend and to analyze the mood, waiting for a reaction.
Fear of physical attack has been replaced by fear of the inconvenience that made the tools of behavior in society real weapons and currency. The struggle for status and success were no longer fought on the battlefield, but she was no less fierce in the field of politics, economy, academia and, most importantly, within yourself. A chance to rise in this world, to achieve their goals is only a man with great self-control.
Customs and democracy
In an interdependent society, all classes are forced to treat each other with at least a basic level of respect.
A nobleman from the Renaissance could feel only shame towards people who were of equal status. But the court, which is his servant, such a shame it was not. Now a horse is able to feel shame, even in the presence of his subordinates. The rich man of the 19th century will become as red as the flag of victory, if you fart in the Elevator, even if in this Elevator he will be the Elevator operator.
In the early cultures that existed at any civilization, the right of violence was on everyone. Now this right is only authorized government representatives. You can’t bash someone in the head when someone annoys you. Even if you’re rich, strong, beautiful in every sense. People have ceased to be weak-willed slaves, and human life of the elite ceased to be valued higher than the life of a plumber, factory worker, doctor, or garbage man. These people also have the power, which allows them to avoid coercion.
Unique rules of etiquette have a certain social leveler. And without it, democracy cannot work. If this social equalizer not, she turns into a bloodthirsty Chimaera with an arrogant king in the head, that the ideas of freedom has only a nominal relationship. Citizens also takes a lot of: they should be educated to have critical thinking and have the discipline that allows you to control your life.
To markets, enterprises and public authorities function properly and prosper, people need to act in stable and predictable conditions, be visionary. If people can’t use diplomacy instead of aggression, their position in a democratic society will be much lower than the guys that are able to reach an agreement. People need to put aside short-term impulses and focus on long-term goals, which in the middle ages it afford never could.
Manners is, in fact, practice all of these skills and qualities in a way to achieve absolute self-control. They make you think and look forward, anticipating the consequences of their behavior. They kill impulsiveness and allow you to think rationally: instead of interrupting in a conversation, you wait, when it’s your turn to talk; instead of being dressed in sweatpants at a wedding, you wear your best suit; rather than to demand faster to bring food, you just politely asked to do so.
In short, individual self-control is the price of democracy. Thanks to him, Western society, as before, is the civilization that determines the future of this planet.
If politeness created a civilization, the rudeness will destroy it?
Rules of decency has made possible the democratic system, or, on the contrary, the democratic system made it possible for these same rules of decency? A question similar to the topic of eggs and chicken. But in this case, the truth is that these two components reinforce each other. The democratic system can create a stable and safe environment where the risk of violence is easily computed and reduced to a possible minimum. People care nothing for proper clothes for the wedding, chewing with his mouth open, if they live in a world of constant danger and chaos. But even in a safe environment, not everyone is able to radiate the greatness of self-control and delayed gratification.
The society prospered, both are necessary components.
That poses an interesting question: if manners have created the modern world, it can be started the cycle in the opposite direction? The real result in medieval society?
In the Middle ages, the behavioral distance between man and child was minimal. They wore the same clothes, spoke in a similar way, even the level of intelligence was similar. The kids were more adult than they are now. And adults behave childish.
With the invention of the printing press and other scientific, political and economic achievements, his childhood was transformed into a more protracted and significant period of life. This was done in order to give children the opportunity to feel the discipline and self-control, because then they had to read more difficult books, learn math, art, political discipline, and so on. A key part of this training, teaching manners and ethics taught in many schools, but, as a rule, inculcated in families. Children had to learn to restrain their impulses to achieve a better future.
Today there is deep concern that is associated with the degradation of the traditions of the past. There are fears that the failure to say «thank you» and «please» would weaken the ties of civilization and leave us savages bare-ass naked.
Barbarians at the gate
We humans came up with such ridiculous restrictions on his behavior. On the one hand, we understand that some rules and regulations actually limit our freedom, but safer to help move on the roads, for example. On the other hand, we all want to drop everything and do what you want. Often turn on a red light, spit on the rules for the sake of rebellion. Some rules are nonsensical, and madly want to break, and break.
But the lack of brakes never led to anything good. And there is a problem that is not so easy to decide now, because the head is raised reactionaries who deny the rules of decency, but happily sing the dogmatic norms. Others, on the contrary, want to destroy the rules that seem outdated, does not correspond, in their opinion, modern society. Society is on the verge of chaos, where raging new meanings, new appearances. The bunch that worked the last couple of hundred years, weakens, destroys the Foundation of self-control, and hence of the building will soon have hard times.
When we reach a critical point? Some signs can already be seen: the elite shows disregard for manners, parents do not teach their children etiquette; people no longer control their immediate impulses; aggressive behavior in bars and on the roads; people cease to think rationally, relying on faith. As a result, the society could not adequately participate in the political process, and does not want to do that. The society ceased to be interested in art and science. Society hell regress back. I wonder, is so bad as it seems?