Choosing Civility in a Rude Culture/ By David Zax
“We are facing a crisis. There is a growing consensus that the situation is dire—and looking bleaker every day. Almost everyone has contributed to the problem, and everyone is a victim of it.
This catastrophe? The “coarsening of America,” as our pandemic of rudeness has been called. And if it seems alarmist to speak of rudeness in catastrophic terms, consider some of the arguments advanced by those who do: that incivility costs the nation more than $100 billion a year in accidents on the road, that billions more are lost to diminished productivity at work, and that many acts of violence have their origins in acts of rudeness. And beyond the physical damage, they say, there is reason to believe that rampant incivility is damaging to the soul. Humans are deeply social creatures, after all, so it seems logical that good social relations should improve our lives.
Armed with such logic, a coalition of the hopeful is trying to buck the rude trend, even to reverse it. They are fighting, you might say, a civil war, and if they succeed, then perhaps someday decades hence schoolchildren on field trips will crowd at the foot of a bronze statue of Pier M. Forni, professor of Italian literature at Johns Hopkins University, who will be remembered as one of the greatest generals in our nation’s struggle for civility.”
….”He cites studies showing that, more generally, volunteer work can induce a feeling some have termed the “helper’s high”—like the “runner’s high,” a period of elation followed by tranquility. “Kindness,” he said, “is very good for the kind.”
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/choosing-civility-in-a-rude-culture-97997109/#DuC00ojepO2kayeq.99
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