Written By Sherwood Kohn
After the long winter’s dormancy, the arrival of spring and its accustomed reawakenings rekindle one’s kinder tendencies; a resurgence, if you will, of civility. And heaven knows, it is welcome.
As if we needed any more evidence, after the last couple of election cycles, of our society’s incivility, there is a wealth of testimony to the phenomenon impacting our everyday lives.
Bedeviled by security searches, uncaring ticket agents, crammed cabins, narrow seats, lost luggage and endless delays, passengers find air travel increasingly and unpleasantly impersonal.
Discouraged by shabby seating, floors sticky and littered with trash, commercials on the screen, ear-shattering sound, rising ticket prices, sullen personnel and noisy, if not violent theater patrons, moviegoers are retreating in growing numbers to the safety and privacy of their homes, where they can watch DVDs in comfortable alienation.
Dating from perhaps the time of Vince Lombardi, sporting events have evolved into high priced, winning-is-everything contests between steroid-pumped, millionaire prima donnas. The sports fan has become an economically necessary, but inconvenient component of the games.
Technology, with all of its benefits, has a dark side. As we find it possible to withdraw into isolation chambers defined by computer screens, keyboards, and omnipresent wireless phones, we lose touch with other human beings; life becomes more detached and dehumanized. People become objects, things to be manipulated in the service of power. Civility is no longer necessary. Why, indeed, would anyone need to be polite to an object?
If all of that sounds unduly grumpy, look out the window. It is spring. The trees are budding, flowers are blooming, Mother Nature is the essence of civility. She cares nothing for man’s rudeness. Life is being renewed despite the human race’s constant attempts to suppress it.
I don’t care what poet T. S. Eliot said. April is not the cruelest month.
As long as we celebrate rebirth and the triumph of goodness with Easter and Passover, there is hope that mankind-out of a sheer sense of survival-will turn to spontaneous acts of civility.