On Sunday, August 12, 2017 I discovered this meme posted by one of my Facebook friends. I commented on it. Just to be clear, I declare for the record that I consider myself an uncivil bastard.
Bold message. I used to proclaim loudly similar ideas. The notion is appealing because the world is filled with people that I despise but who I still have to tolerate. That's a feature of civil adult life: we have to tolerate other people's insanity. Or their stupidity. Or their rudeness. Or their ... whatever. And the same in reverse. I understand that people might dislike me for reasons just as good, or even better than what I hold towards them. I say similar things all the time. Do you disagree with abortion? Okay, don’t have one. Do you oppose homosexuality? Okay, don’t do it. Do you disagree with the business of slaughtering animals for food? Okay, don’t eat meat, then. Problem solved. However, because we are unavoidably social creatures (by design) who we are and how we live naturally affect others. It is a bold notion, this idea of ignoring our fellows. But the older I get the more I question its value. Even its validity. It might be said that the very stuff of social life is living our lives to please others, although this suggestion butts against the idea of Western individualism. Western individualism, unlike other brands of individualism, is uniquely, especially, and typically self-centred. Some might call it the very stuff of incivility. But I could be wrong.
Now, contrary to the bold declarations of my younger self, I feel like suggesting that anyone who really, truly and genuinely has no care at all for his fellows’ regard might satisfy the definition of a sociopathic monster. That disposition reveals a grave absence of appropriate balance in one’s life.
I kind of have an appreciation for the Apostle Paul on this matter. He’s a man who had a different thought about pleasing others (1 Corinthians 10:32-33). He cared about what others thought of him, because it reflected on who he was as a Christian. He also knew he represented God, and cared how others viewed him, so as not to bring reproach on his God.