Civility means living together with others in a civilized manner.
With all the political divisiveness, greed, crime, violence, racism, selfishness, rudeness, and intolerance of others that appears to be so prevalent today, it can seem at times that civility is dead in our society.
But, truth be told, whatever is left of civility is ALL that is holding society together. Once the last shred of civility withers away, society will no longer be able to function as a society and will disintegrate.
Therefore, the restoration of civility is one of the most important and pressing issues of this modern era that we live in.
Civility is achieved through various ideas, agreements and behaviors, including:
- Seeking real knowledge and truth, regardless of personal convictions, fears, traditions, fixed ideas, and superstitions. Clinging to ignorance and false ideas for comfort or perceived personal gain is the road to discord and misery. Harmony with self, others and the environment is achieved through seeking and finding real truth. The more true knowledge you possess, the more personally secure you are and the more able you will be at successfully handling the world around you. The more false knowledge you cling to, the more hostile life will be to you and the less effective you will be at handling it. Truth brings freedom and happiness. If you frequently feel persecuted, attacked, and victimized, chances are you don’t have enough truth in your life. Truth leads to solutions and dissolves problems. If you have too many frustrating problems holding you down in life, you can confidently suspect you’re operating on some untruths and lacking sufficient true knowledge.
- Communicating with others, no matter how much you disagree with them, are upset with them, feel like you can’t tolerate their stupidity and ignorance, etc. Communication is the ONLY road to discovering new things, broadening your knowledge and understanding, resolving disagreements, and building relationships with others. Enough communication will resolve any issue. When you see someone attempting to stop communication by dividing people, pitting one person against another, making people fear and hate each other, etc., know that you are witnessing someone who has a vested interest in a chaotic and dysfunctional society — usually someone trying to control the society for personal gain or from a fear of others.
- Freely considering, seeking and tolerating viewpoints that differ from your own, and being tolerant of others who have viewpoints that don’t align with what you believe. By the very nature of being different people experiencing different lives, every individual has a unique viewpoint. Every single one of us sees life from the viewpoint of our own experiences, the lessons we have personally learned from our mad dash through life, and from our own study and observation. No two people have the same exact viewpoint. Engaging with other people to gain some insights into their particular viewpoints is one of the best ways to enrich yourself and expand your horizons. Blindly condemning and avoiding exposure to other people’s viewpoints is the path to isolation and ignorance. Being genuinely interested in other people’s viewpoints leads to good conversations and a better understanding of the world you live in.
- Allowing people to be themselves the way they want to be. It would be a dull world if everybody was identical. One of the greatest joys in life is meeting varieties of different people who are creating unique and interesting things in their lives. You don’t need to like everything and everyone you come across, but there’s no need to condemn and shut down anybody and anything that doesn’t align with your own personal tastes. Let it all exist and keep the world a vibrant and interesting place! And realize that someone else being different than what you would want them to be does not typically pose any real threat to you. It might disgust you or make you feel sorry for them, but you are not in any real danger from them being who they are (unless they are being a criminal of some sort, but that’s a different thing than we’re talking about here).
If you feel threatened by knowledge that differs from what you believe to be true, or it upsets you to see the way other people express themselves and live their lives, you may find it beneficial to take a good look at yourself and discover why you feel threatened by such things.
Are you so weak and insecure that you can’t handle a few oddballs living in your vicinity? Is your own sense of knowing and your confidence in leading a successful life so frail that it is threatened by anyone living differently than what you consider ideal?
If so, try out some of the items on the above list (seek new knowledge, communicate with others, consider new viewpoints, etc.) and see what level of further personal growth, stability and strength you can achieve in your own life.
The stronger and more confident in yourself you are, the more you can afford to tolerate others. It is a confident, stable and powerful person who can easily tolerate the “flaws” he or she sees in others and be compassionate, helpful and supportive rather than defensive and upset by such people.