The Good Life: Manners 101

Perhaps cultural practices require some evolution, like children, to reach maturity. In the middle ages, etiquette was a way to prevent violence among warriors. In the Victorian period, it distinguished between classes. Thus the ornate rules among the diners at Downton Abbey. Now, according to Diane Gottsman, manners have become about treating people with respect.

Just as we evolved from cave paintings to Rembrandt’s, so manners are a way to elevate our everyday, rather animal behaviors, to something human. It infuses rationality and regard in our actions.

You can still find the rulebooks out there. Post decedents are alive and well. Q&A yields many a conundrum for the average host or guest. For those pragmatic persons here are some concepts behind the many details.

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