Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Anonymity is the enemy of civility

Is this true?
Being around people we know, and who might judge our behaviour, makes us all behave a bit more decorously. Which is probably why London is renowned for its unfriendly and rude inhabitants. Londoners are constantly surrounded by thousands of people they don’t know. These humans quickly become obstacles to get past on your way to work, rather than people with ickle wickle fweelings and stuff. Cue groups on Facebook such as ‘I Secretly Want To Punch Slow Walking People In The Back Of The Head’ or ISWTPSWPITBOTH to long standing members (of which there are 390, 489). Our constant anonymity numbs our sensitivity to other human beings, and turns normally civil men and women into rude, granny-bargers

In rural English villages nobody considers eye contact an act of aggression, curses doddery old people, or shoves past small children to get on the bus. Why? Because in a village you are never anonymous. Vera might be curtain twitching, and if she is, then the whole village will know of your uncivil behaviour by tomorrow morning.

So, yes, it’s true. Anonymity is the enemy of civility. The solution? Duh - shopping locally, obviously!

Those still villagey areas of London are the ones filled with independent local shops. In these areas neighbours share sugar, Vera curtain twitches, shopkeepers know your name, and most importantly of all, people are civil.


Helen said...

I love this post, it is very thought provoking. Ever since reading it I now feel ever so slightly guilty for getting annoyed at my fellow, slow walking commuters.

You speak true words, we need to embrace local shopping, local produce and local community.

Anonymous said...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you

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