Rafed English

The Position of Manners in Society

Adopted from the Book : Youth and Morals

Manners are an essential factor in societies and in the perfection of nations. Manners were born as a part of humanity. No one denies the vital role that manners play in bringing peace, happiness, and felicity, to man's spirit; nor does anyone doubt their useful and decisive influence in strengthening the fundamentals of the integrity of conduct and thinking on both the social and public levels. Can you find anyone who suffers from honesty and truthfulness and searches for happiness in the shadow of treachery and lying? Manners are so important that even the nations that do not believe in religion respect them and feel that it is essential for them to abide by some set of ethics to be able to advance on the winding path of life. Everywhere societies are found and under all conditions manners share some similarities.

The famous British scholar Samuel Smiles says:

"Manners are one of the powers that move this world. In their best senses manners are a manifestation of human nature at its highest peak, for manners are a presentation of human nature at humanity. Individuals who excel in any field of life endeavor to attract the people's attention to them with every means of honor and respect. People trust these individuals and imitate their perfection, because people believe that they possess all the gifts of this life, and that if it had not been for the existence of such individuals, life would not be worth living. If inherited genetic features attract the attention and appreciation of people, then manners necessitate gratification and respect of all well-behaved people. This is so because the first set of characteristics is the work of genes and the second set, the fruit of pragmatism and the power of thought's and it is the mind that rules us and manages our affairs throughout our lives.

~~ Those who have reached the peaks of excellence and greatness are like bright lights clearing the way for humanity and guiding people toward the paths of morality and piety. If the members of a society anywhere lack good behavior, they will be unable to reach excellence regardless of how much freedom and political rights they enjoy. It is not essential for nations to possess vast areas of land to live honorably; for there are many nations with large populations who own vast areas of land yet lack all the necessities of perfection and greatness. Thus, if the morality of a nation becomes corrupt, that nation will eventually vanish."

All agree with what this scholar has said; yet. there is a great difference between knowing the facts and acting on them that matters here. There are many people who substitute their animalistic inclinations in the place of good conduct. They substitute excellent morals for lusts which appear in life like bubbles appear sparkling on the water's surface.

Man has undoubtedly come out of the factory of life bringing with him completely contradicting instincts. Now man is constantly the subject of a fierce struggle between the traits of evil and goodness: the first step to eradicate man's evil traits is to capture his lusts and anger in this battlefield for they are the cause of his animalistic power, envy. It is incumbent on anyone who wishes to achieve perfection to avoid extravagance on either side and to rid himself of his harmful inclinations that stem from such traits and change them into useful and beautiful feelings. The reason for this is that man benefits greatly from his feelings, but such feelings can only appear good if they are obedient to the commands of reason. According to one psychologist:

"Human feelings are like a container that is divided into two sections. The first section being offensive and the other defensive., If man can direct his defensive feelings to become victorious over the offensive ones, then he will gain control of his existence and lead it as he desires not as they desire."

Those who have balanced their internal powers with their lusts and that which their dreams prefer, and have created a sense of peace between their minds and hearts, have undoubtedly followed the path of happiness between the problems of life with a will free of weakness, failure or defeat. It is true that man's abilities have reached a very advanced level of practicality, movement and speed, which give mankind the chance to reach deep into the depths of seas and oceans using his thinking powers. Yet, what we observe today of the continuous misery and fluctuation in the heart of civilization has reached the point that it has become like a toy in the hands of problems and inflictions. This can only be blamed on the diversion from the path of noble traits and spiritual values.

Dr. C. Roman writes:

"Science has advanced in this era but manners and feelings are still in their primitive stages. If manners and feelings had advanced along with reason and mind, then we could possibly state that mankind hadvanced in their humanity too."

According to the laws of balance and equality, the fate of a civilization that lacks noble traits faces destruction and extinction. The reason for the persisting miseries and imperfections in various societies is a phenomenon of people's needs for moral values. Values that would spread the spirit of life in the flesh of the dying civilization and grant it the powers it righteously deserves.

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