“Do manners discourage independent thinking? Would societies be more creative without them?”
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” Emily Post
Creativity according to the Oxford Dictionary is “The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”
Awareness of the feelings of other people can definitely coexist with the use of imagination. Many creative works of literature explore this healthy coexistence. Not only in the stories they tell. In their creation, the creation and publication of a book involves many people working together. Without manners, working together is impossible. If your thinking was 100% independent, you would not be able to connect or communicate with others at all.
Two insensitive people would drive each other mad. Perhaps one unkind and thoughtless person can coexist with someone who makes up for that level of distaste. Kindness, consideration, honesty, and respect all necessary for good manners.
Manners allow you to express your independent thoughts without fear. By knowing the guidelines, you know how to push boundaries without doing real hard.
No man is an island
In the essay “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as Told to Leonard E. Read”, the origin of a simple pencil was tracked from nature to completion. The wood, graphic, wax, production, metal, eraser, and chemicals involved are so very complex. No one person could do it.
Without manners, it’s difficult to function in society. It takes human interaction to pay our rent or to purchase food. That has become easier with computers buffering many of our daily processes.
Without manners, societies don’t exist. We evolved to trust and seek connection which has enabled us to have larger creative feats. Very little in your life could be achieved without others
“Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor” Emily Post
Etiquette is the guidelines for which we interact. Some guidelines within our culture may be detrimental when misapplied. If we act in ways that don’t consider the harm to those around us or create rules that inhibit others. It takes independent thinking to understand your life, the people around you, and how to apply these guidelines to your life and situation
Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.