Living in an era where civility is forgotten

I was chatting with a buddy of mine this week on the subject of forgiveness and how it relates to the world in which we live. The topic came about when I was telling him about a mistake I made in an article and how there was such a lack of forgiving and understanding surrounding said mistake. From that, it hit me just how our culture has degraded with regards to courtesy and kindness.

I can put this into a number of perspectives. Let me give you an example. I am currently reading The Year of the Black Rainbow by Claudio Sanchez and Peter David (Published by Evil Ink). While reading that book I’ve come across both editorial and formatting issues. Those have not stopped me from enjoying a book I paid full freight for. Why? Because it happens. For so many reasons. The speed at which consumers want good dictates a much faster pace than the days of yore. Mistakes are inevitable.

I’ve also purchased a high quality set of studio monitors and ear buds (for book narration). These speakers have helped me to hear imperfections in recordings I’ve listened to for years. Do I complain? No. Why? Because nothing is perfect, mistakes exist…even in the music of Rush (say it isn’t so!).

But that’s not really the point to this post. My point is simple — we (as a society) have turned our backs on civility. Instead of offering up concern for someone else’s suffering, we’d rather whip out our mobile phones and film the tragedy in motion. Why is this? What happened to our society that caused us to lose touch with our souls? Is human suffering the new commodity? Does failure sell?

I blame…

Reality TV. Plain and simple. Thanks to that dark spot on modern network television — society has been acclimated to laughing at the sheer stupidity and awkwardness of mankind. We long to see others, in real time, fall, fight, flounder, and fail — just so we can either feel better about ourselves or realize just how imperfectly improbable humankind is.

I am far from perfect. I make my fair share of mistakes. I don’t, however, watch reality TV. When I see someone fall, my inclination is to help them. When I see someone fail, my instinct is to hurt for them. I would like to think the world would be a much better place if that were the go-to behavior.

It makes me sad to think we’ve fallen so far from grace. But I don’t think it’s hopeless. Remember, as with everything, it only takes one to start a revolution. So I would ask each and every one of you — help stamp out the madness. Reach into your heart and pull gentility back out and let it breathe.

Forgive the small stuff.

Forget that which does not apply.

Remember, we are all in this same wacky hay ride together.