On Civility

Civility, like any other human trait, is a gift.  Like most other gifts, we share it as we see fit.  That's the funny thing about gifts, isn't it?  That we can share them or withhold them in whatever manner we please.  We can develop them, or we can allow them to sit and remain as untapped reservoirs of self-improvement.  Where do we attain these 'gifts'?  Is civility just a natural propensity or a learned trait?  Certainly every good parent has taught their children to be exceedingly polite to others.

I digress; this is not a thesis on Nature versus Nurture, but it is curious.  It's curious that we should pit two such interdependent forces against one another.  Without one, the other is but a waste.  Nature is the seed that is cultivated by Nurture.  An inborn propensity to be nice to others is not as useful as a cultured, refined sense of good will and judgement towards others (Yes, I did spell 'judgement' with an 'e' because I believe it is proper).  Cultured civility requires more than just an attitude; it requires a method and formula that only nurture can provide.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every human being had a developed sense of civility? No brown-nosed flattery or snobbish pride in conversation, just pure, genuine respect for each and every person we come in contact with.  There is nothing better than having a heated debate with someone who is genuinely civil.  An atheist and a devout Catholic can be the best of friends through civility.  Arguments can be had and finished without bloodshed or tears through civility.  

Unfortunately, not every person on Earth has a developed sense of civility, and I dare say that the vast majority of people are lacking quite profusely in that department.  Take a look at the comment reel under any YouTube video, and I guarantee that you'll agree with me.  Many people actually get a kick out of destroying and neglecting civility in communication; they think it gives them some sort of godly power to derail the rhythmic flow of civilized conversation.

These people are the ones who were either 1) Born with the gift of civility and did not use it, or 2) They were born with no such inclination and have instead developed a taste for the opposite behavior.  Shame and guilt should especially be placed upon the first party, as they were born with something beautiful that was completely snubbed in exchange for vulgarity (Not to say these people are vulgar, but lack of civility is vulgar in itself, isn't it?).  If you allow it, civility can be one of the easiest traits to develop.  All it requires is a small ego and a large appetite for self-improvement.  The 'small ego' part is where most people go astray.  

Perhaps some people believe that developing civility would be too difficult because they don't have an inborn appreciation for others.  True, it would be difficult, but that is certainly no excuse to avoid it.  The point is, civility is one of many traits that are quite advantageous to have in this world of increasingly mindless individuals.  It is my belief that sharing and developing civility is an obligation to society, as our culture has clearly lost its sense of direction in relation to what young people should be required to learn.

Civility is a gift, but that doesn't mean it can't exist in every person.  Develop it and teach it, and the world will be a much better place.

The End

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