The death of consideration

William Bennet did have it right once. Maybe that’s why he’s so deserving of scorn now, his despicable comments having sullied a once noble, similar notion.

I’m struck seemingly on a daily basis by the thought that the employment of consideration by the general public has not only expired but that it’s passing has caused a breeding ground for the forms of life that would feed on it’s corpse. It’s not just that respect for the rights of others is lacking, but more that the pendulum has swung so far that now rudeness and actions that can only be characterized as agressive are to frequently be expected. Okay, even though I in fact now do often expect to encounter them, they still and always will piss me off to no end.

I don’t know what’s the matter with some people. It’s amazing just how, and please pardon my French, “fucked up” they can be by even an early start to what would otherwise be an enjoyable day. Drivers, coworkers, hell even the police, all ranks seemingle have an unconscionable few that want to share what must be their intolerable existance with everyone else; actually not just share but fling upon with great velocity.

I’m fucking tired of it. Problem is I’m fucking tired of it but I don’t know how to make it stop.

Here’s the deal; I’m really big on going out of my way to actually employ the Golden Rule… “Do unto other as…” Most always it’s reciprocated in kind. Sometimes it’s simply not recognized and hey, so what, no big deal. But every once in awhile it’s met with selfish inconsideration and even, unfortunately, rudeness, and it saddens me greatly, especially in the context of what it means for the society our kids will be forced to inhabit.

I think it’s why I periodically go to church. Don’t really know, although I’ve given it a great deal of thought, if I buy into everything that the religion I’ve been exposed to is going to be the recipient of my blind faith. But I will say this… I know the dozen or so times I go every year that the people I encounter there will for the most part be gracious, kind, giving, polite, respectful and, as you’re probably guessing, considerate. It’s a needed retreat. It reaffirms my faith in the decency of man.

I’m really not being an advocate of religion here. I’m just saying that the currecnt state of decency among people often leaves me hungry for something better. It’s sad and while I try to instill in my child the values that will enable her to be a wonderful person, I’m at the same time saddened at the thought that she too will likely encounter disappointment at the small but impactful lot that behave in a manner unbefitting a supposedly advanced form of life. Sometimes I find myself wondering at just how it is that man can wage war, commit murder, do the things that we as a society find revolting. Then, I see it happen again on a daily basis in admittedly smaller but no less disappointing ways.

Yeah, my perception is probably going to improve, but it’ll only be through an appreciable, sustained effort.

I’ve noticed it too lie, but I also think that the pendulum will swing back the other way. Ya know why? This:

You’re not the only one doing that. :wink: It’ll get better.



preview is my friend. preview is my friend. preview is my friend.

Two things have helped me to feel better when I was seeing what you are seeing now.

One was to spend just a little time at the end of each day thinking about the little things that I am grateful for – the scent of a maple candle, a postcard from Utah, a husband who brings me coffee every morning…

The other thing that I try to do is to “let go” when I do something for someone else. I don’t mentally put any expectations on those that I do things for. Expectations can lead to disappointment. So I take full pleasure in the act of giving with no strings attached.

Your daughter is lucky to have a good teacher!

I notice rampant self hatred, self censorship and intense conformity, but not really face to face rudeness. Of course I’m in a college town so it may be different here but it is perfectly acceptable to be deeply insecure, to blatantly hate yourself and to show disgust for nonconformity. Thats not me trying to draw a ‘me’ as somehow above all this and ‘them’ as evil suckers but it is a major problem for my generation. For me that has always been my main disagreement with the idea of religious morality. If religious morality meant ending the insecurity, hatred and conformity and replacing it with a deeper understanding that we all have feelings and value and that most things in life are transient I’d be in favor of it. But it always strikes me that religious morality is merely replacing one form of objectification (treating people as objects to obey a set of rules and mores rather than individuals with feelings and value) and blind obedience (to the social order) with another form of objectification and blind obedience. Being shunned for being too loud/quiet/happy/sad and being shunned for moral/religious differences are the same thing to me and I guess I’d prefer the former because at least in that system on some level people realize something is terribly wrong. In the latter people seem to think everything is ok.

Like the OP I’ve tried going to church but it doesn’t work for me. I don’t like the environment, it is too oppressive for me. And I don’t want to believe in Jesus at all. In my eyes, Jesus is considered the messiah because his followers were better at converting poweful people who then forced everyone else to convert, not because of anything special he possessed. I like the charity work and all those things, but not the teachings. I’ve thought of going to a pentecostal church and making it clear that I had no faith whatsoever in Jesus’s divinity and I had no interest in reading the bible and I just wanted to experience the ambiance, but I guess I fear that I’ll just come across as a challenge if I do that (whomever can convert the nonbeliever get a special reward), that or I’ll get kicked out.

Just a few hours ago I got the urge to drive around town and while driving saw an old man walking on the side of the road with a gas can. I pulled over and turned around and picked him up, drove him to the gas station and drove him back to his car afterwards. It was 11pm at night and he was an old man carrying a gas can. I’m sure over 100 cars passed him (his car was 2 miles away) but nobody stopped to help him. Shit like that bothers me alot more than whether people say things like ‘fuck’ or show their belly buttons on TV.

I’m saddened, but not surprised. I’m afraid my generation is at fault. So many people my age (near 60, now) opted out of their child rearing obligations, leaving us a generation clueless to the art of building a polite, respectful human being. Behavior that was once totally unacceptable (like being openly rude to one’s elders) is now fodder for this week’s sit-com.

Thoughtful responses all… thank you.

I remember when I was much younger, just having reached the age of responsibility with it’s expectation of industriousness, and having difficulty feeling fully motivated to go out and make my place in the world. I spoke with a counselor about my misgivings and he, a personal friend of the family, made an observation that I’ve never forgotton. He wondered out loud if the fact that my father, an extremely intelligent and accomplished man, hadn’t provided a standard so high that the notion of ever equaling his merit was causing me to give up before ever starting. I recognized his observation as being very much the case and instead resolved to follow my own path to self worth, plus decided that the benchmarks would’nt be realized all at once but, instead, would come a day at a time.

Maybe this’ll require a like thinking. While the problem seems enormous to the point of being rightly impossible to cure, maybe having different expectations and being content with the little things each day is a better approach, to keep doing your little part and hope that more do the same. I’ve expected more from people and, aside from a wonderful little five year old, that’s probably not very realistic.