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It says much about how little that I understand the world that we live in, that only now am I twigging on to the full importance of politeness, and how essential an element it is in our modern lives. It is needed more then we realize. It is the essential lubricant of the social world, the grease that keeps the cogs of interaction from jamming as they are wont to do, and preventing the friction bursting into violent flame.

It is to this end that we all are so polite to strangers, are so full of courtesy to people we have never met, and in all likelihood that we shall never meet again. Yet the idea of behaving in a rude or deliberately confrontational manner for most people is an anathema. I would like to think that its our base decency, but really I suspect its the fact that you can’t tell who has a black belt in karate and who might have really tough friends.

Cynicism aside, we tend to forget though that it is even more a requirement for friends and family. They are the people that its so easy to take for granted. We can rely on them to do things for us, and not complain too much, they will be willing to do mundane and odd things for us out of friendship and blood, that we would never dream of asking an acquaintance to do. But they are also the people who get asked to do things without the benefit of a please, and do things without the reward of even a thank you. Paradoxically we are least polite to the people that we should be most polite to, the people who do the most mundane things for us.

I think that this is something about me that I’m going to change, and see where it leads me.