29th July 2021

Manners do indeed maketh man, at least according to William Horman, the late well-beloved headmaster of Eton college in the late 15th century. As  for myself I am inclined to consider than man unfortunately is more inclined to maketh manners in the design of his own worst instincts and behaviors. Horton is also well respected for his masterpiece of English language, ‘Vulgaria’, literally a collection of everyday sayings or proverbs common in the tongue at that time and previously. Mine own claim to any form of esteem or admiration rests on far more flimsy grounds, perhaps like Baldrick a cunning if somewhat course wit, or as in the Blackadder himself a more than nifty way with rather disemboweling phrases.  

My reasoning with both deportment and etiquette is that since Hortons time, some nigh on six hundred years, much in the manner of humankinds manners and sensibilities has changed quite extraordinarily,  on an avenue more akin to a rather intermittent travelator than any well controlled forward pathway. Mankind’s progress is replete with circumstances most regrettable, cruel, and inconsiderate, the very opposite to anything that might be considered the showing of good example. Each age has produced a set of rules for activity wholly different from the last, and certainly whilst definitely developing, not in any way that might be honestly considered a consistently enlightened way.

Manners, like morals and ethics have liberalized as the centuries roll along, public torture and execution is no longer considered polite in the civilized world, and unusual methods of private worship is not a blight upon the face of the majority of states. Liberalization is also inclined to dilute behaviors, the automatic expectation of mutual respect has flown from societies lips, to be replaced by a sort of mal-tempered ambivalence in many instances. Lack of the inane fear of repercussions for uncalled rudeness has most certainly proved a bane in most areas of social intercourse, whilst positively reducing the chance of mortal duel or damaging fist fight, the lack has increased overwhelmingly opportunities for bullying and discourteousness.

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