Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Etiquette, Manners and Intellect

Einstein understood treating others with respect.

The scorn for manners and conventionalities manifested by a large contingent among our intellectual men and women is, according to a writer in Harper's Bazar, one of the unfortunate features of society as it is now constituted. She says:

It is only in leasure that manners can be brought to the pitch of art, but in any well ordered home, however humble, much may be accomplished in this direction by constant insistence upon the observance of the best known rules for outward conduct and by dwelling upon the importance of cultured manners when the morals and the mind are under training. 

Every opportunity should be seized for imparting to children ease and naturalness of bearing in company. The conductors of all kinds of institutions of learning should see to it that a certain ceremony is scrupulously kept up during all of their receptions and parties. 

It is impossible always to tell how much the intellect or the heart is profiting by instruction. Progress made in the culture of the manners, on the other hand, can be gauged by the commonest observer. It is true that the very finest kind of manners cannot exist without the highest development of the inner soul, but “society” manners are exclusive of such lofty standards, while conversely our good Dr. Holmes wittily, and not unjustly remarks, that “there are two virtues which Christians have found it very bard to exemplify in practice. These are modesty and civility.” It is high time that the real aristocracy of the earth —its learned men and its men of genius—should bear the outward signs of what the earth has always called its “best society.” 

No intellectual person can aspire to the position of a social “swell.” But if social usages were taught, as they might be, in intelligent homes—these “minor morals” which so much affect the future of our boys and girls—scholars would not lay themselves open, us they do now, to the too often deserved charge of “boorishness,” and would not be the victims of covert sneers from the gilded youth upon whom they may have an opportunity to impress perhaps the first worthy ideals." – Harper's Bazar, as published originally in The Red Bluff Daily News, 1893

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