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Welcome to Perspectives on Life!

The purpose of this blog is to stimulate our minds and souls to help us determine what we really believe and to ensure our actions and daily lives coincide with these beliefs.

Your participation with comments and questions are critical if this blog is to be successful. I want to develop a community with active participants so that this blog has life instead of being static, lifeless words on a page.

The topics of this blog will cover a wide range of interests. Hopefully, our discussions and debates that challenge our perspectives and beliefs and will bring clarity, self-discovery, enlightenment and inspiration. Our goal is to gain insight … not to win converts to a particular ideology or philosophy.

Please join me in this blogging adventure.

W. M. Brown

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Manners Matter

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What distinguishes humans from apes? Manners and etiquette. Without respect and consideration for others, we are nothing more than savages.

There are no concrete rules or laws regarding manners and etiquette. In summary though, having good manners is showing courtesy and respect for others in all situations and circumstances. There is no excuse for for being rude, offensive or disrespectful … ever. Caring about others is what manners are all about.

Manners and proper behavior have evolved over centuries from customs, conventions and protocol. Manners promote a civil and harmonious society.

Let’s not forget that the way we behave determines the way we are perceived by family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers. With that in mind, lets take a look at some very basic manners:

  • Open doors for women, the elderly and the disabled.
  • Hold the door open for those immediately behind you. Don’t let the door come slamming back on them.
  • Use the terms please, thank you and excuse me lavishly. Make it a habit.
  • Don’t shout. It is rude and annoying.
  • Don’t interrupt someone who is talking to you. That person’s voice is as important as yours.
  • Don’t swear. It’s low-life language.
  • Don’t point. It’s a low-class gesture.
  • Don’t eat, drink or smoke in the street. It’s the action of a commoner.
  • Eat with your mouth closed.
  • Don’t talk when food is in your mouth. Others don’t want to share your hamburger.
  • Don’t gang-up on someone else.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Turn away from people, food and your phone when you sneeze or cough.
  • Show respect and consideration for the elderly and disabled.
  • Smile. It illuminates your face and attitude.

I go through periods of time when I need to read these basics daily … and several times daily. I am working on making these times far less frequent.

Manners is what changes a man and a woman to a gentleman and a lady. The rewards are worth the effort.

Keeping Our Idealism In-Check

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We have all had the experience of being around someone who is so enthused about a particular ideal of theirs that they are absolutely obnoxious to be around. They are so motivated and dedicated to this ideal that they become oblivious to reality, logic and reasoning.

The problem is that idealism, with unbridled enthusiasm, can become so engulfing that it potentially leads to the following progression:

Idealism > Propagandizing > Fanaticism > Extremism > Autocracy

Let’s take a look at the definitions of these terms so we have a common understanding of their meanings as it relates to the purpose of this post.

The tendency to represent things in an ideal form, or as they might or should be rather than as they are, with emphasis on values. (Dictionary.com)

To propagate or publicize (principles, dogma, etc.) by means of propaganda. (Dictionary.com)

Excessive intolerance of opposing views. (WordWeb Dictionary)

Extremism means, literally, the quality or state of being extreme or the advocacy of extreme measures or views. (Wikipedia)

The unlimited authority, power, or influence of one person in any group. (Dictionary.com)

While this progression is readily seen in religion and politics, it is also present in social movements, environmental movements, business, education and sports.

The progression from idealism to autocratic behavior usually begins with a valid, legitimate ideal or belief. But … at some point in time our idealism becomes a blinding obsession. It is at this point in time when our idealism, including the individual(s) or group supporting it, becomes so unbalanced that it has the potential to damage individual(s), our community or society if we let idealism run wild with no checks and balances.

In the end, our ideals and beliefs we have to help others collapses because we did not keep our idealism in-check. To prevent this, we must always be grounded in reality. This doesn’t mean that we cannot dream, share that dream, work to grow that dream and influence others. We just need to keep our enthusiasm, actions and expectations within self-controlled boundaries and reason to prevent radicalization. Let’s not be the reason our own ideals fade and eventually fail.

Please share your thoughts, comments and questions. Thank you!