Genuine politeness should come out of respect not out of fear

Today’s public space is dominated by the idea of “political correctness”. This basically means that everything one says or does are extensively monitored and analysed. New rules of social interactions are developing and are introduced for the public use with such speed that it outpaces majority of human’s natural ability to adopt and adapt to it.

Many evolutionary conserved reactions to stressful situations such as expression of anger, yelling, shouting, even simple direct, blunt talking are considered socially unacceptable and inappropriate.

Interestingly, on the other hand, popular TV shows are popular exactly for opposite reasons for showing what society lacks and aspire to have: an opportunity for natural reactions to challenging social situations.

It is obvious that our society did not develop a heightened tendency for “political correctness” or “artificial politeness” out of genuine respect to a fellow human being as in Kant’s philosophy, but rather as a consequences of real, perceived or imaginary fear of getting ostracized, isolated, or even sued.

Fear, however, produces superficial interactions and artificial social norms with weak bonds. Moreover, since our natural reactions cannot be blocked, they must be expressed someway and somehow. In fact, rather than helping, such re-channeling of natural reactions further diminishes societal harmony by producing chronic “mean” behaviors.

In my opinion, a genuine politeness should be derived out of genuine respect. Genuine respect develops when there is a trust. Trust, in turn, develops when people’s verbal or non-verbal communications are matched with their actions.

posted by David Usharauli


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