There are few things that send me into a tizzy. I’m a generally calm kind of person that doesn’t really get caught up in the little things. I mean, I like my things the way that I like them, but I’m not going to get caught up in your stuff.
That is, unless you’re rude. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about friends ragging on one another or some situation that demands very specific attention and some foot laying down action. At those points, I think you’re beyond what is required out of politeness. But when someone I don’t really know is rude for really no apparent reason beyond opportunistic and ambitious tendencies, it just irks me. (My issue, I know.)
This got me to thinking, though. On an evolutionary scale, how did politeness help? Where was the day when Caveman #1 turned to Caveman #2 and said “Would you mind possibly passing a piece of woolie mammoth leg?” I can just imagine Caveman #2 grabbing a piece of woolie mammoth leg meat and smacking Caveman #1 over the head with it. Hmm, politeness didn’t quite work out for Caveman #1.
So, where did this sense of fair play come from? This humanistic desire for what is “right” and “polite.” And how is it that my Cavemen ancestors made it through the evolutionary ladder with a sense of anti-rudeness?
Now, I am sitting here, putting this into the perspective that politeness is a good thing, but I could just as easily say that all it means is that my ancestors played by the rules set up within the society that they lived in. Never going beyond or away from what is expected of them. But that’s the part that trips me up. What was expected at that point was to survive at all costs. And I don’t think survival would be a realistic goal when you’re asking if it’s okay for you to eat, sleep, and drink.
So, how did we get to this point? Where did this idea of “right” and “wrong” that we all seem to live so strongly by come from? How has that form of communication outlasted the a woolie mammoth leg over the head? I mean, I’m glad it did, but I still wonder why.
Well, I’m beginning to believe that my ancestors thought too much. And that it’s a hereditary condition.