Cats are annoying. We love them.

Bad manners in public discourse is a sign of decaying civilization.

Some people never agree with anything you say. They have to say “no” first. Relationships break up when one side always insists “I’m right.” You should realize if you know someone who never disagrees with you, he is a boot-licking liar.

Can we agree to disagree without calling names, and continue talking? Disagreement is not a sign of a dysfunctional society. It’s natural. We are all different from each other. It’s normal. It’s OK if we do not accept what is offered or said without checking it. The civilized society knows how to deal with disagreement constructively.

You put a cat on a nicely fluffed up cushion. It has to get up, sniffs at it, walks around it as though there is something wrong with it, and finally lies down on that very same spot on the cushion. If you love the cat, you have to learn to be patient. More so with people.

Some people are like that. If you say ‘this,’ they say ‘that.’ When you see red, they say “It’s sort of red.” Many professors are like that. They have to say “no” first as a mark of a learned person. In Japan such a person is called “heso magari.” Literal translation is, “a person with a crooked navel.” I don’t know where ‘belly button’ comes from, but it means “an annoying contrarian.” Kings of yesteryears used to chop the head off of anyone who contradicted them. We know some dictators who behave like that today.

We are all different and independent minded. We think, disagree and question first. When your child begins to ask, “Why?” you should be happy. The kid is growing up. We are all different. It’s a mark of Homo Sapiens. The trick is to accept the difference as normal and to find the way to live together on a small boat without throwing anyone overboard. Good manners help you do that.

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