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Manners and Courtesy

Evan Hodkins, in his article entitled, “Spiritual Chivalry” [1] has made an admirable distinction between manners and courtesy.  

Manners are “a certain set of socially-approved behaviors befitting a proper gentle-man or -woman.  These prescribed rules of etiquette lubricate social interactions, rendering public contacts safe and predictable, thereby eliminating a wide range of uncomfortable episodes.  The trouble with etiquette is that it is quite predictable, and often hypocritical; a bourgeois straight-jacket intent upon curtailing individual self-expression.”  

The hypocrisy “eventuates whenever there’s a considerable disparity between one’s public mask and one’s private face.  In Jungian terms, the degree of pretense is directly proportional to the distance between Persona and Shadow.  The bigger the Personal, the more sinister the Shadow.  Manners often fortify this gulf, by arranging circumstances which are riddled with sham.  But, we seem to have made a deal with the Devil.  By abandoning our decorum, we have unwittingly exchanged hypocrisy for narcissism, one abhorrent unpleasantry for another.”  

“Manners are puerile, externally-induced forms of superficial civility, laced with hypocrisy and gender-based condescension.  Manners needed to die so that Courtesy might be born.  All this chaos has been purposeful.  

“Courtesy... is another matter entirely.  Courtesy invites us to get over ourselves.  It is heart-inflamed acts of uncontainable charm, lustrous demonstrations of spontaneous goodness, spirit-enfleshed instances of extraordinary loveliness, miniature manifestations of heavenly aroma lavishly erupting from the inner fountain of Love’s true core.  It is a spiritual gift, not a societal duty.”           

“It is rarely the big things that cause relationships to crumble.  Human beings usually act heroically in times of crisis.  Rather, partnerships gradually deteriorate when one sloppy insult is stacked on top of another.”  “Each act of courtesy is an actual instance in which the unity of all creation is majestically confirmed.”  

Thanks very much, Evan.


 “Your depression is connected to your insolence and refusal to praise.” 

                                                                                                                        -- Rumi

Education         The Public School Nightmare

Seventh Generation Education         The Tao of Teaching

Or forward to:

Calvin and Hobbes

Health and Responsibility         Scapegoatology         Woundology

Wow!  What a choice!



[1]  Evan Hodkins, “Spiritual Chivalry”, The Alchemist, Vol 2, No. 1, Winter 2002.  [New subscriptions available from <http://www.schoolofalchemy.com>]


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