The only truly happy man is always a fighting optimist. Optimism includes not only altruism but also social responsibility, social courage and objectivity.
-W. Beran Wolfe

From "Choosing Civility" by P. M. Forni:

Angrily contested parking spaces, cellular telephones ringing everywhere, blasting stereos searing the night, offensive anonymous Internet messages, volleys of racial or homophobic epithets in the streets and out-of-control bullying in the schools; shrill fellow air travelers, narcissistic co-workers, yelling supervisors, pushy shoppers, surly salespeople, littering campers, needlessly honking drivers, unsupervised small children disturbing the peace in public places, domineering and snappy stressed-out spouses, and self-serving friends. At the end of the twentieth century we started to have a clear sense that incivility was becoming a problem that couldn't be ignored. We saw a connection between rampant incivility and a diminished quality of life. It is our job to now to increase and spread that awareness and make concerted efforts to bring about the changes so many of us seem ready to welcome.

I suggest that we seek ways to

  • improve the living conditions and prospects of the poor and the disenfranchised;
  • rediscover the teaching of civility and good manners as an invaluable tool to improve everybody's quality of life;
  • create opportunities for connection among the members of our communities in order to curb the trend toward more and more anonymity, in other words, revitalizing, civil society; and
  • lower the amount of stress in everyday life, especially in the workplace.

    Just about the most important thing we do in life is interacting with other human beings. Shouldn't improving the quality of this interaction be at the top of our agendas? Being civil in our everyday lives is a time-tested way to bring about such improvement. A better quality of human interaction makes for a better life--a saner, more meaningful, healthier, and happier life. It is that simple. It is really that simple. All we have to do is stop, think about it, and then act. The sooner, the better.

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