By Rhia Perkins
The “Me” culture seems to have taken over campus. Everywhere you go the dominant attitude seems to be “every man for himself” and the resulting rudeness is startling.
These days it seems people look at you funny when you hold the door for them on your way into a building, smiling and saying thanks to someone who’s served you food or helped you in the bookstore is out of fashion and it just isn’t cool to clear your own garbage after you eat in the food court. Whatever happened to that internationally famous Canadian politeness?
Everywhere you go on campus you find litter, computer labs and work spaces with chairs left pulled out from the tables and book bags and coats clogging the aisles of lecture theatres. It’s not just on campus; our roads are a classic example of the decline of politeness. Drivers hop from lane to lane without indicating, to end up three cars closer to the lights when they change, never letting merging traffic enter the stream and running lights as though they owned the road.
No one seems to do anything for anyone else anymore. More and more every day compassion is losing ground as a human value–whether it’s due to a lack of education, a change in morals, or just a simple consequence of overcrowding the golden rule is out and selfishness is in.
The irony of it all is that a little consideration for others makes life much more pleasant for everyone. It puzzles me that no one seems to remember the simple power of a smile or the fact that when they don’t clean up after themselves, someone else must. Society is like a machine, and it’s the please’s and thank you’s that act as a lubricant to keep it running smoothly. The more we ignore the little niceties of life, the more friction there is between individuals. Just like any machine, as friction between the parts increases, so does the possibility of a breakdown.
Clearly, thanking the bus driver as you get off the bus won’t prevent a nuclear holocaust, but it’s uncanny the way a bad mood can domino through a group of people–the boss has a bad day and takes it out on the assistant, who takes it out on his or her spouse, who takes it out on the kids, who take it out on the dog–and so on and so forth.
Fortunately, this works just as well in the other direction and one random (or not so random) act of kindness can spread through many lives. So, make an effort today! Thank the cashier when you buy your lunch, hold the door open for the person behind you, compliment your prof on his or her lecture, tell your mother you love her–this is definitely one area in which an individual effort makes a huge difference.