Restraint is strength. Not in all things, but certainly in most. The society that we are building (used loosely here) in the rubble of the powerful edifice that rose after World War II, lacks this bulwark to a critical extent.

A fatal mix of distraction, narcissism and nihilism has been willingly, joyfully injected and we are reaping the sickened spinning dance that follows. Nowhere is this more evident than in our personal and public interaction.

The focus here (if that word can be stretched to meet the prevailing vacuous mien) lacks any peripheral concept. Consider the cellphone talker, blithely walking through a store or restaurant speaking at room volume with no consideration whatsoever for the other humans that inhabit the space. Yelling and loudly laughing into the device as if ensconced in some room — all by him/herself.

It seems like a small thing, but it isn’t. It’s symptomatic of the replacement of concern for others in a shared society with the all-consuming sense of self. Civility is the first casualty of runaway self-indulgence but not by far the worst.

Duane Buckner


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