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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Does safety turn us into jerks? My theory about swords and politeness. (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Does safety turn us into jerks? My theory about swords and politeness.
Storm Saxon
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quote:

Oh? I still have one more:

--|--

[ROFL]
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TomDavidson
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"I found this to be more effective b/c it just pissed them off more...."

You know, perhaps you should continue to research approaches that don't piss people off at all...?

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PaladinVirtue
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Like do nothing? Definitly an option. But that just leaves me feeling slighted and angry b/c of their unjust rudness.

I supose you feel it is petty to feel happy at angering someone who who has angered me by acting like a jerk? Maybe so. But then agian, nah. It is human to be pleased by a feeling of justice to a percieved slight. Petty maybe, but universally human. And good. This sence of justice derives from our beleifs about right and wrong, and leads us to act accordingly. I am glad that I took joy in watching them become irrate when they are ones who are acting rudely.

I should add that in the before mentioned situation, I did move my car out of their way the first chance I had. Or else, IMO, I would have been the one who was being rude by createing or sustaining the problem.

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TomDavidson
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"I supose you feel it is petty to feel happy at angering someone who who has angered me by acting like a jerk? Maybe so. But then agian, nah. It is human to be pleased by a feeling of justice to a percieved slight. Petty maybe, but universally human."

Since not all humans feel that way, it's not universal. And since it IS petty, perhaps you shouldn't defend it quite so stridently.

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PaladinVirtue
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"Since not all humans feel that way, it's not universal. And since it IS petty, perhaps you shouldn't defend it quite so stridently."

Wow Tom, way to put me in my place there. [Razz] Maybe you feel you are more enlightened than me, good for you if that is the case. Really, well done. But to say that the need for percieved justice is not a universally human is wrong. All people, those with neurocies excluded, seek to live in a just world where they are treated fairly. Even people who act unjustly attempt to justify their actions so that they don't violate their own priciples of justice.

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Rakeesh
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I think you've touched on an issue is, ultimately, about making the world safer. Obviously I mean this is a general worldwide trend that happens slowly, but...

For human beings, we're lessening the impact of natural selection. Disclaimers, air bags, gun locks, widespread and effective medicine, etc., mean that less people will die from accidents (often caused by human error to some extent) than they have previously. A part of this is that people are less likely to die from the stupid mistake of mouthing off to someone who's tougher than they are.

Now, I don't think this is a bad thing. Far from it, I think it's a noble human impulse to try and make the world safer and save more lives. I just think there is a drawback (?) to it. For example, in the book Guns, Germs, and Steel, the author discusses how, in his experience, children in Third-World nations are actually more intelligent than the typical child in a First World nation. He does not mean that they are better educated, but that they have generally higher IQs.

This anectdotal observation of his is based on the idea that, simply put, kids die more in Third-World nations and have to be more clever to survive than they do in First World nations. Being able to spot trouble coming, avoid accidents, think on one's feet, etc.

Now I make no claims as to whether his observation is true or not. It's just something I've read, but it seems to tie into (somewhat) this discussion, and the observation rings true to me.

Of course, as it has been said, on the Internet the problem of rudeness is multiplied many times, simply because people know there is no possible physical consequence for outrageous insults.

J4

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Dan_raven
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I've thought about this last night.

Heinlein is the one that said, "A well armed society is a polite society."

Yet is that truly so? If politeness is based on fear of retaliation then only those who cannot retaliate need be polite.

Certainly the gun has been a great democratizer. Before it took years of practice to become proficient with a sword or bow in such a way that you were a threat to others. Now, everyone from the President down to the lowest child can be easilly killed by a gun fired by the rankest ameuter.

If rudeness becomes justifiable reason for homicide or even for assault, then who is safe? The man with the biggest gun? THe man with the fastest draw?

Politeness is supposed to be the common respect one human shows for another. Are we to turn that into the respect one shows for someone's gun?

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romanylass
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On a serious note, I think it would be disturbing if people are more polite to armed people,or better armed people, or felt they could be rude if they were armed. That would quickly deteriorate, in part, as Dan Raven pointed out, because guns are a big equaliser.

( I also think ever smacking a kid for any reason is wrong, rude or not, but that's a whole 'nother topic)

On a less serious note, Kama has a much cooler sword than I, (prhaps I need to get a pic taken.) But I got mine for $10 at a yard sale so I'm not complaining. (Yes, it is battle scarred)

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Slash the Berzerker
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My point is slightly different.

I am talking more about escalating rudeness created by a complete lack of consequences.

We all know people that are horrible to be around. I've worked with several like this. They are loud, rude, aggressive, and no one will confront them because they are always willing to escalate the argument beyond reasonableness.

But our unwillingness to confront them just encourages them. It lets them know that if they are just louder and ruder than everyone else, they will get their way. The guy who cuts people off then flips them off keeps doing it because nothing bad has ever happened to him from doing it, so why not?

If someone dragged that rude office guy down to the parking lot and cleaned his clock, I would be willing to bet his attitude would change a bit. Especially if it kept happening every time he was rude to someone.

Now, do I think we should be getting in fist fights with everyone rude? No. Should we all carry pistols to shoot at rude motorists? No.

But I wonder what we can do to create consequences for such actions that would discourage them. Our current society encourages them to continue, because we train ourselves to back down from the unreasonably aggressive.

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ak
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<thinks about this>

I don't back down from the unreasonably aggressive. I wonder what is different for me? Is it because I'm female and mature and can get away with it? I can think of one case where I only blinked in amused surprise until the man ran out of steam and left. Two more cases where guys physically threatened me and in each case it made me so angry that I nearly went off, and then they backed down. Once where someone disrespected me pointedly when I had been quite polite to him, and that made me angry and he backed down. One other time I jumped into a fight between two strangers and calmed down the one who was angriest, stopping the fight.

Physical intimidation makes me very angry. When guys use that looming thing they do to try and threaten someone, it's all I can do not to kick their teeth in.

So, is it the surprise of seeing the gentle female suddenly turn into a dragon before their eyes, or do they quail before the ludicrous picture of getting into a fight with a girl, or maybe is it that I just dominate them mentally? I'm not sure. It worries me a bit. I certainly hope it's not I who am the unreasonably aggressive one.

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Jenny Gardener
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Way to be fierce! *offers a high-five*

I don't have much trouble with aggression, either. Maybe it's because I can stay calm under that kind of pressure. I get cold and nasty, like a snake. I slip into a soft, even tone of speech and I look directly into the eyes of someone who is trying to threaten me. Most of the time, they look away. Because the aggression doesn't intimidate me, the bullies have to look elsewhere for their fight.

It's interesting, to me, to notice that aggression needs someone to play the part of the victim. What if you just refuse to play the victim? Even if you get knocked down or hurt, you don't have to let that incident shape the rest of your life. You can let it go, and then that aggressor really has no power over you other than the physical power. And mere physical power gets old. I think aggressive people get off on being able to control the wills of other people. If your will doesn't allow anyone else to control it, then you are free.

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punwit
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quote:
Injuring you for offending someone is not an act of rudeness, it simply is a very strict punishment.
Kama, You are assuming something I will not stipulate. Unless the sword wielder is impartial and infallible I will not accept that the punishment is anything more than simple rudeness.

I also will conjecture that much of what we view as rude behavior is someone punsihing us for a perceived slight. Since they aren't carrying a sword they resort to abusive language, foul gestures and so forth as a means of punishment.

Supppose the sword wielder is Vinny. His idea of rudeness on your part is your refusal to pay for protection from his Uncle Vito.

Suppose the sword wielder is a local tough that simply wants your wallet and watch. Your refusal to accomodate his desires is construed as rudeness on your part.

The real idea of being polite proceeds from respect and integrity not from fear of retaliation.

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