Is chivalry dead?
It is well said that the measure of a society is how strangers are welcomed, indeed even as according to ancient codes of hospitality towards wayfarers in the journey of life.
Plainly, simple compliant social sensitivity is heteronymous. Mere conformity can be as deficient in real Social Intelligence as would be complete obliviousness. Social Intelligence is normative in that Social Intelligence compiles and evaluates expectations as are socially transmitted, shared within smaller groups or larger societies, entailing even subtleties and intricacies for social behavior mapping of the metaphorical social landscape, all for prediction of results of different options in behavior given varying expectations depending upon circumstances, situation analysis or social behavior mapping and thence, as applicable, instinctive extrapolation of one's own or another's situation, in particular whatever hierarchical position or kinship that anyone might find themselves in, as adjunct to and beyond the broader Emotional Intelligence to most generally extrapolate motivation and Point of View of others at all.
Yes, polish that turd! Social skills are nowadays commonly discoursed at their least subtle or edifying level of painfully clumsy cynicism. Where is the art or the joy? Let us hope, not entirely forgotten:
Be a mensch!  For Menschlichkeit or creditable humaneness and integrity, is the art of being a mensch, upfront, honest, autonomous, responsible and accountable, yet gentle, with benevolence, empathy, sympathy and even friendship. Indeed, a synthesis of single minded convergent thinking with nuanced situational Gestalt may be achievable in the intellectual cultural Jewish trait or aptitude of justice, proportion, perspective and whole integrity, especially as refined in prewar Germany, by Einstein, Freud and Marx, Relativistically, via the integrative synthesis of divergent frames of reference or POV, everything from time dilation and inner life to a larger view of economics, overviews and special cases. - All factors that may play into differing values and levels, priority and autonomous coping in case of inner conflict between responsibilities and/or interests, honestly true to oneself and straight with others, and why Jews do not Zen
In the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.” Such advice will be no less distinct no matter how gentle, and never slippery, obscure, evasive or snide and demanding. Therefore, tact is not tact that is simply expected, especially out of simmering resentment against all dissent, and therefore in cultivation of the toadying of an utter tool. Never under estimate the danger from indignant sensitivity of often even comically over parented nuance vigilantes, being only rarified in sheer hostile superiority, such as, for historical example, of the Imperial Japanese exalting themselves divinely fit to oppress all others by virtue of their indisputable exquisitely refined sensibilities. Notwithstanding, however, the invasion of Manchuria must be deemed something of a discourtesy and indeed perhaps somewhat oafish. To quote — W.B. Yeats, ‘The Second Coming’: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst | Are full of passionate intensity.” Or to paraphrase from the old saying, there is no one so socially inept that there is isn't some bully even more socially inept, simply because they imagine themselves so brimming with superior social grace. Alas, adept, in the final analysis, only at self-enamored bullying, and exalted or refined only in a malignant crucible of sheer overbearing mean spirit. Those least fit to judge are ever the most eager. It is the ineptitude not of the struggling uncertain and bumbling nebbish, but of the Moralism of confidently self righteousness, that knows no bounds of menace and destruction, far beyond any paltry breech of decorum. Alas that such cowardly and volatile heteronymous social anxiety as manifest in acute perception of nuance together with poor self awareness and also sans Emotional Intelligence or empathy, renders all but the narrowest range of peer standardized micro-expression, even comically aping one another! unintelligible and threatening even for no particular reason. It is amazing how serial bullies ever so sensitive and either toadying or vengeful to the tiniest of cues, remain nevertheless so bereft of subtlety, moderation or tolerance for ambiguity, in the evaluation all that they feel and experience.
However, true social grace and Chivalrous courtesy that has nothing whatsoever to do with enforcement and preservation of local customs for the sake of peer group cohesion, is neither prosecutorial nor persecutory, and never manifest in standing resolute upon any principle of being precisely correct about manners, no matter which etiquette or sensibility applies, but rather in moderation of power and deference to vulnerability, most brilliantly achieved in the blessed élan of giving way that is gained by smoothing over petty quarrel and from artful abetting of others in saving face, especially in whatever venial infractions or misstep. Indeed, speaking of subtlety and subtext, far from precision and rectitude, in any meaningful values such as of proportion, moderation, farness and mercy of democratic civility, tolerance for ambiguity remains requisite, especially such as in redeeming social hypocrisy that with such wry honesty and caution, passes over all manner of Empirically observed broadly and chronically unmet ostensible social expectations with the proverbial grain of salt. True social grace is like ballroom dancing, the opportunity for elan gained consummate achievement in helping even ones most awkward dance partners feel happy, clever and graceful nevertheless, never by artlessly and spitefully judging, harming or demeaning them.
•  befriending the bullied  




Copyright 2004 - 2017 Aaron Agassi



Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

Emotional intelligence or empathy is the aware capability to recognize, discern, differentiate and regulate one's own and one another's emotions as arising, in order to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and adjust emotions adaptively to environments or towards achievement of objectives. Emotional intelligence is the capacity for negotiation with patience, insight and temperance, the central problems in relationships with empathy. meaning: sensitivity to the moods, emotions and motivations of others more deeply and insightfully, thus to enter imaginatively into another's point of view. Insight coming into terms with oneself, mitigates anger, envy, anxiety and confusion. Empathy is fundamental to humor and resilience in life's travails.

According to Psychology Today, Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage ones own emotions and the emotions of others, generally said to include three skills:

1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;


2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;


3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.





Copyright 2017 Aaron Agassi




In Defense of Redeeming Social Hypocrisy?
Maybe they should just explain, but that might break the spell


Either stand up for yourself, living openly, or else guard your privacy. To chose neither strategy, amounts to helpless vulnerability. Taking social expectations in good faith and at face-value, seeking therein meaning and value in life, is the masochistic willful naivety of anomie and desperate heteronomy. For it is not true virtue of any kind, but appearances, reputation, entirely a social reality and not an ontology at all, that are ever the actual concern of propriety, but the Absurd shadow of values lost to antiquity, in loyally guarding what remains, the dreary social order of sheer heteronomy. Such is social hypocrisy, an unspoken understanding taboo from open discourse. And beware: for social hypocrisy, as any other, ranges from the venial to the deadly.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “The world is his, who can see through its pretension.” And isn't life just an ongoing Comedy of Manners? It is, if you are lucky. And if you really want to know where you stand, then learn to dance upon quicksand! Toadying painstaking attention to rules in detail, is often an obsequious and reviled failed gambit of approval seeking, ultimately no more key to popularity than random hostility. Moralism frequently comes into conflict with empathy. A sensibility and sensitivity of the most vexing and confusing ambiguity so thick with subtext, not decisive moral outrage, however picayune, has long been key to advanced civilization:

Originating in days of yore from the flower of High Chivalry and the Code of Courtly Love, the upright way of going about all such infidelity that is ostensibly reviled and forbidden, such is the saving grace of redeeming social hypocrisy wherein, witch hunts and crackdowns where not always deemed such good form. For ages many communities have given mere lip service to prudery and intolerance, while actually never making good whatever pro forma token threats against their neighbors. Hypocritically tolerant, hypocritically permissive. In a word: chivalrous. But redeeming from what? Why, to this very day, from the most dangerous and deeply dishonest of deadly hypocrisies and evils of repression and hysteria, namely bullying in all of its forms: rampant exploitation, malicious gossip, Reactionary self serving cockblocking and cronyistic scapegoating, indeed sexual harassment enabled by faux fragile serial false accusation, even organized group stalking, all the long sociopathic norms of civilization. Indeed, possessive dominance and control are all too often normative. But are they really normal? And by who's toxic norms?

As such regressive attitudes as racism and anti-gay bigotry fall from favor and are relaxed within a society, it may even become routine to discretely warn the parties in legally forbidden assignations before the police respond. Many people make a token fuss, at, for another example, such things as budding May/December romance, but in unstated deference to the superiority of Empirical Case Based Reasoning over rules based reasoning, and in tolerance for ambiguity and sense of proportion that is hallmark of maturity, as a prevailing psychological and sociological coping process with ambivalence, thus reconcile to the fait accompli once they gain closer acquaintance and grow to respect those involved. Many people may discover themselves more tolerant than they imagine themselves. Indeed, exactly such dawning acceptance is hardly uncommon.

That is why, in such deadly hypocrisy, it is typically the outcast ostracized and unknown, who bears the brunt for real or imagined transgression, looming monstrous or just inflatedly picayune and trivial. But the awkward lone vulture is largely a misleading myth. And meanwhile, in deadliest hypocrisy, bullies, chameleonic scapegoating cronies that they are, always circle the wagons about their own, especially in protection and concealment of the very worst, all manner of the most malevolent of actual predators, even violent and criminal. It isn't just pedophile priests!

No matter how socially inept you are, there is always someone worse precisely because they think they're so much better. The latter never entertain any notion of how out of touch and how out of step they are, co validating and reinforcing, living as they typically do, so cult-like and self righteously certain and persecutory, in the proverbial echo chamber. The most destructive bullying, hypocritically moralistic and self serving all at once, is nevertheless indeed all the more highly socially skilled, yet so abysmally graceless no less. Closed social circles, so unwelcoming of outsiders, encourage courtship only via social climbing rather than direct social interaction. Private life is their most public concern. The sensitivity and sensibility of true social grace remains predicated upon a certain tolerance for ambiguity that is halmark of maturity, instead of simplistic black and white thinking. -Travelling the middle road of Siddhartha, moderation in all things including moderation itself! Not polarizational extremes of Manichean black or white thinking. Even the most Reactionary prudery and outrage can be well moderated by the proverbial grain of salt. For example, men may rail at others: Are you looking at my cousin's girl friend? -But really only in token because they think that they are supposed to, and then quickly forget all about it. Even the routine preservation of boundaries need not be acrimonious or menacing, for those who have better ways of defining themselves. Thankfully, not everyone is all that moralistically serious and pigheaded as arc the one hopes apocryphal gun toting fathers of pretty girls. Nor do all communities so blithely support as entirely unremarkable, the jealous rages and violence typical of the breed. Not all of us are quite so blithely angry, artless and controlling.

Indeed, any taboo, shall we say, of May/December romance, remains among the most prevailing entrenched of intolerance in part because the very real concerns of the danger of abusive exploitation of the most vulnerability, are not to be dismissed. And such misgivings are so readily played upon by the Reaction. Competing sensibilities upon the propriety of May/December romance remain polarizational. Many are Moralistically scandalized, and thence presume to represent some pervasive consensus. Others defer to the law of the land as cut and dry, quite surprised that anyone in this day and age would ever demand more. Only those who actually campaign to lower age of consent at all, even perceive themselves in any controversy, because only they remain aware that they form a purposeful opposition. Amid all the most heated and embattled culture war, there seems precious little cognizance and even less curiosity regarding actual prevailing practice: the more nuanced, subtle, complex and chivalrous redeeming social hypocrisy and how people actually conduct private life, often even in open secret. -Not to speak of the most flagrant impunity for bullying and sexual harassment on the one hand, and concomitant scapegoating on the other. 

Neither desire nor compatibility are actually restricted within age groups, any more than within regional ethnogenetics (" race") or heterosexually in every case. The often disturbing truth of all of this is attested time and again, and variously explained away mythologically. But as the saying goes: The heart wants what the heart wants. From the onset of puberty onwards, a degree of opportunistic "harmless" dalliance with non related elders, has long been pretext for plausible deniability and sublimation worn ever more thin, of howsoever at all less rarified motivation. Far from isolating the vulnerable and demonizing strangers, a normal family actually chivalrously serves indeed as a buffer and a conduit for what ought to be so unseemly. The young may learn and fall back on the same reserve and coquetry, quite without supervision, as they gradually assimilate into the adult world. For what sort of entry into adulthood hysterically avoids contact with adults of whatever erotically suitable gender and orientation? There are no dire rules, only time honored guidelines, all best spiced with that proverbial grain of salt, the lid on the proverbial pressure cooker metaphorically never quite battened down. The challenge to social aptitudes can be confusing, tantalizing jet intimidating, neither permissive nor repressed, but of mediation and moderation, the ambivalence of rules if not actually meant to be broken, than anything less than inviolate in real life.

More simple, forceful and explicit prohibitions may be arguably more appropriate for interventions in reform of societies wherein children are subject to arranged marriages and the whims of an elder partner, and consent is nigh inconceivable. But historical arranged plural marriage in Utah is very different from trendy group marriages in San Francisco. Context is everything.

Marshall Brickman expresses blithe prevailing prejudice in opining that: "Open marriage is nature's way of telling you that you need a divorce!" How then must we account for all the seemingly loving and successful open marriages? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. True openness can be so disturbing. Most people remain unready to embrace the truth directly, and are quite practiced in simply ignoring Empirical experience and observation, their own or gathered indirectly. Nevertheless, in the ribald jape of famous comedian Bob Hope: "I haven't known any "open" marriages - but quite a few have been slightly ajar!" A devout Christian online, recommended his own technique for iron clad and treasured exclusive fidelity in the most shocking Draconian avoidance of all occasion of sin. Any time he stumbled into the warmth of a budding friendship with a female coworker, he would abruptly cut sever all contact! Barking mad and self defeating, you say? It remains that ambivalence is the norm: a norm of haphazard moral back sliding and fornication, even while paradoxically only doing what is deemed right and good in a free country. The masses remain unshakable and steadfast in belief that jealousy is immutably natural rather than at all cultural and learned, indeed generally unquestioning of the function of jealousy in maintaining prevailing social order, accepting jealousy driven punishment and reward systems as moral and pro-social in order Moralistically to excuse actingout out whatever their own impulses of jealous rage into destructive hostility, but also in the moderation of blithely undermining that very institution.

Indeed, are most people ready to admit that quite simply, they are not willing to sacrifice all other values of freedom, equality among peers, autonomy and democracy with roots in chivalry, in tradeoff for the purity and certainty of rock solid iron clad exclusive marital fidelity? That quite simply, ever risking the fall from grace, and seeking forgiveness afterwards and patching things up again, is part of the normalization of deviance? And is all of that really the worst outcome? Because, after all, clearly, most people would never freely choose otherwise. 





Copyright 2013 - 2017 Aaron Agassi