Civility. On the rise, or on the decline?

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Recently, my college campus has adopted a civility statement, along with a civility committee to help the campus become more civil. I find this comical, because the main part of the statement was that we are (as a society) becoming more civil versus less, as proposed by the various groups of people that think the planet we inhabit is a giant rock infested with assholes.

And so because I have not been on the forums for a long time now, I would like to begin a discussion. Do you guys think that in the general society, civility is on the rise or decline? If you need it, here is the definition of the word civility.

ci·vil·i·ty/səˈvilitē/
Noun:

1. Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.
2. Polite remarks used in formal conversation.
 
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Well, with the definitions you provided, not at all. I don’t think people necessarily insult one another to there faces (I won’t get into trash talking behind the backs), but using politeness and such in conversation? I rarely see it lol.

And I am not saying the whole planet is a bunch of jerks… but I don’t see people randomly using polite remarks other then “Please” and “Thank You”.

But this is just from what I see.

 
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My take on the issue via others opinions:
This one
This one
This one
This one
This one

And even a Vice-Pres will defend “less-than-civil” behavior ON the Senate floor.

NOW, what is wrong w/ an institution of “higher” learning trying to remind young adults that one attracts more flies w/ honey than they do w/ vinegar. After all, isn’t what your school did simply a reminder?….is there punishment involved?

 
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Because, karmakoolkid, it’s the same members of the institution I see breeding hypocrisy from their words by bad mouthing other professors, students, and at times, I’ve even heard staff bad mouthing the college itself. Now, civility is a bit more broad than just interactions with one or two people, it goes beyond that to even interactions between entire groups of people in society.

Also, that was a very interesting link you shared; I may have to print that document out and bring it to the civility committee meeting this coming week.

 
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Compared to what period? If it is declining or rising, it is very steady, since I have not seen much of a change during my life.

 
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When the campaign for civility exist for civility sake, this almost definitely means civility is declining…. Demand and supply….

 
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It doesn’t mean civility is declining, simply that the university might like levels to be higher on-campus than they presently are.

 
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I’m speaking of in the general society over a period of a few decades, Darkruler.

 
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Originally posted by vikaTae:

It doesn’t mean civility is declining, simply that the university might like levels to be higher on-campus than they presently are.

Which I see as some administration finds that civility is not up to par to previous standard or having a trend downwards, thus I can conclude its declining.

 
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Originally posted by KoD2:
Originally posted by vikaTae:

It doesn’t mean civility is declining, simply that the university might like levels to be higher on-campus than they presently are.

Which I see as some administration finds that civility is not up to par to previous standard or having a trend downwards, thus I can conclude its declining.

I have no argument that a downward trend and a decline are much the same. What is at contention here is: HOW MUCH SO. And, as how this degree relates to what the OP’s school felt necessary to respond.

Coming from a different angle on this, just what incidents promted the OP’s college to “adopt a civility STATEMENT”…and just how severe were these incidents?

Maybe the OP touched on this in this reply to a post of mine:

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:


NOW, what is wrong w/ an institution of “higher” learning trying to remind young adults that one attracts more flies w/ honey than they do w/ vinegar. After all, isn’t what your school did simply a reminder?….is there punishment involved?


.
.
He said:
Originally posted by 09Kisame09:

Because, karmakoolkid, it’s the same members of the institution I see breeding hypocrisy from their words by bad mouthing other professors, students, and at times, I’ve even heard staff bad mouthing the college itself. Now, civility is a bit more broad than just interactions with one or two people, it goes beyond that to even interactions between entire groups of people in society.

My reply to this would be:
First: the college’s statement was just that…a simple statement,,,a REMINDER that civility is not only important to the learning process, but it should be REFLECTIVE of it. An institution should be a place where DIFFERING ideologies exist and are explored.

Second: I don’t think dissension of opinions necessarily need be uncivil I don’t think there is necessarily “hypocrisy” in expressing disagreement w/ other professors or the institution itself or even those making the statement doing these things.

Third: Where the problem begins is when ppl aren’t able to disagree without being overly-heatedly disagreeable//uncivil while doing it.

Of course, 09kisame is right about how the same applies to society in general.
My opinion on this is why it is sooooo very important that those of higher learning (likely the leaders of society) be REMEINDED of just how important civility is for a society to function w/ minimal problems.

 
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I have no argument that a downward trend and a decline are much the same. What is at contention here is: HOW MUCH SO. And, as how this degree relates to what the OP’s school felt necessary to respond.

Arbitrarily.

First: the college’s statement was just that…a simple statement,,,a REMINDER that civility is not only important to the learning process, but it should be REFLECTIVE of it. An institution should be a place where DIFFERING ideologies exist and are explored.

Differing ideologies need not necessarily be civil…

Second: I don’t think dissension of opinions necessarily need be uncivil I don’t think there is necessarily “hypocrisy” in expressing disagreement w/ other professors or the institution itself or even those making the statement doing these things.

Civility “breeds” hypocrisy. So few can be civil and truly honest about it…

Third: Where the problem begins is when ppl aren’t able to disagree without being overly-heatedly disagreeable//uncivil while doing it.

Or some(most?) people just cannot accept differing views….

 
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Originally posted by KoD2:
Originally posted by vikaTae:

It doesn’t mean civility is declining, simply that the university might like levels to be higher on-campus than they presently are.

Which I see as some administration finds that civility is not up to par to previous standard or having a trend downwards, thus I can conclude its declining.

Or it could simply be that it is not declining, but the administration feel they should have a much higher level than in the general populace. There’s nothing in their desire to support the conclusion that it actually is declining.

 
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Maybe less civil people just gain more attention than before. Media can play a big part in forming our opinions on this.

 
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Or it could simply be that it is not declining, but the administration feel they should have a much higher level than in the general populace. There’s nothing in their desire to support the conclusion that it actually is declining.

Or they have a go at it regardless of the civility trend… with certain other agenda/s else I couldn’t think of a reason for it other than pointless.

 
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I would say civility is on the decline. I think this is mostly because the world is getting more and more populated (metro centers edging out rural areas) and the more populated an area, the ruder people are to each other—I guess it’s easy to depersonalize those around you when there are so many of them and life is fast paced.

 
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My reply to this would be:
First: the college’s statement was just that…a simple statement,,,a REMINDER that civility is not only important to the learning process, but it should be REFLECTIVE of it. An institution should be a place where DIFFERING ideologies exist and are explored.

Second: I don’t think dissension of opinions necessarily need be uncivil I don’t think there is necessarily “hypocrisy” in expressing disagreement w/ other professors or the institution itself or even those making the statement doing these things.

Third: Where the problem begins is when ppl aren’t able to disagree without being overly-heatedly disagreeable//uncivil while doing it.

Of course, 09kisame is right about how the same applies to society in general.
My opinion on this is why it is sooooo very important that those of higher learning (likely the leaders of society) be REMEINDED of just how important civility is for a society to function w/ minimal problems.

It’s the idea that the same people who decided to create the committee and pride themselves on bringing the campus closer to civility, are the same people that proactively contribute to the lack thereof; total hypocrisy.

Originally posted by Twilight_Ninja:

I would say civility is on the decline. I think this is mostly because the world is getting more and more populated (metro centers edging out rural areas) and the more populated an area, the ruder people are to each other—I guess it’s easy to depersonalize those around you when there are so many of them and life is fast paced.

I like that you used the term “depersonalize” because it couldn’t be more true.

 
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Originally posted by Twilight_Ninja:

I guess it’s easy to depersonalize those around you when there are so many of them and life is fast paced.

Your brain is physically capable of forming simultaneously-active, complex connections with around 150 people. About the size of a small community. As you move further and further away from that number, it becomes a biological necessity to depersonalise. When you’re interacting with a few hundred different individuals every day, your brain would never be able to cope if it wasn’t doing this as a survival mechanism.

 
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Interesting. I guess that’s why small town pull together while Los Angeles & Tokyo….not so much.

 
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Okay….you two gals beat me to this aspect of why civility is in decline….overall.

I see the decline of civility as a direct inverse-proportion to an increase of population density…both of the physical nature and of the cognitive nature. The latter may or may not be a part of the former. But, it is the only part involved via participation w/ other ppl that is a result of exposure to them by use of the many forms of media presentation…TV, Internet, newspapers, magazine, radio, recorded music, etc. All of these bombard the mind w/ vastly differing aspects of life than those one typically is exposed to in their stationary area of existence.

So, more ppl//influences = less civility.
Most of this is what vika points out.
My simple version of that is: Supply vs. demand. We just don’t have the time to cultivate the depth of relationships needed to establish a better common ground by which we can nurture a greater civility born of a greater UNDERSTANDING of the basis on which a person is operating on.

So, we ourselves operate on a very superficial generic system of presentation of ourselves and of assessment of others. We just don’t have the time to do much more than this w/ interactions of such a huge amount of ppl…esp. those we actually “face-2-face” with or via phone//Internet.

I see an application of “bell-curve” involvement w/ not only in-person interaction,,,but “one-way” interaction w/ media. Some of it will be of great interest….thereby causing us to want to invest as much POSITVE input//reception as possible. Some of it will be of such little interest that we couldn’t care any less about it…often to the point of “hostility” because they//it interlopes into our lives,,and we aren’t able to avoid it,,,as much as we would like.

Fortunately (FOR THE MOST PART), I was raised in a very small community. I am the leading edge of the baby boomers. My eighth grade graduation class was 14 ppl. The year before that was 7. Before that….3. And, I’m not talking about sparsely populated western Kansas. My town was only 45 minutes from Wichita…a city of 110,000. We were 10 min. from Wellington..10,000 (doctors, hospitals, clothing, etc.) We had only a grocery & a bank & a post office & the 8-grades school & an half-ass hardware store. Most of the ppl in the town were retired farmers who had turned the nearby farms over to sons.

Everybody knew everyone else. We cooperated—not so much because we liked each other and had a whole lot in common personally—because of the common good of the community we wanted. Doing such together is how things got done. Civility is the lubricant for such cooperative actions.

We “gave of ourselves” (volunteered our time//labor) freely cuz that was the way it was. We didn’t need taxes to pay someone else to do it for us. We had a volunteer fire dept., all pitched in to expand & remodel the one, consolidated church. We all participated in putting on a Groundhog supper (many versions around the state) and the proceeds went to many causes for the town infrastructure and ppl.

For me, I find civility to be a good start for cooperation in relationships.
I’m like Will Rogers: I’ve never MET a man I didn’t like.
BUT, after getting to know him….all manner of feelings can evolve.
Sure, I’ll take the “high road” as much and as long as is possible…even to the point of simply “moving on//away from” them.
BUT, there comes the point at which “corrective measures” must be made—IN A CIVIL MANNER—so that other person is aware he is crossing the (MY?) lines of civility.

 
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I like how well-poised and organized your thesis on this issue is, karmakoolkid. I mainly started this discussion because I wanted to see what others think. I personally believe that civility is relative due to agents of culture and socialization.

 
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I think it’s also relative based on historical context, especially as far as political campaigning goes.