HISTORY OF IDEAS – Manners


It seems natural to most of us that we
shouldn’t burp loudly in front of strangers, touch their behinds without
permission or spit in the face of those who annoy us but history shows us a
different story. What we might take to be normal impulses
to be modest, restrained and dignified are the hard-won fruits of a long and always
unsteady civilizing process. Human beings have gradually and
painfully learned to tame the beast inside for the sake of propriety and
kindness. At a moment in time when some people question manners and the pressures they impose on us, it can be fruitful to look back in time
in order to trace key moments in the history of manners and to search their
by for the future of manners. 13,000 BC, Gough’s Cave, Somerset, England W’re in a cave in what’s known as The Magdalenian period, one of the later cultures of the Upper
Paleolithic Age in Western Europe. Our ancestors have learned to use harpoons made of bone antlers. They’ve domesticated dogs and in their
spare time have developed a taste for making remarkable images of the fiercest
wildlife around them especially hyena reindeer and mammoths. We look a little different from the way we do now: our bodies are generally heavier and
more solid with strong musculature and straight foreheads with only slight brow
ridges and prominent chins. Our manners would surprise us to: we sleep around a lot and openly. There is a lot of what we now call
rape. We do everything in front of one another in our caves and most strikingly
we have an occasional habit of eating our human enemies. Following a squabble the leader of a
group will take an enemy severed head carefully remove the brains and tissues
and prepare the skull for use as a ceremonial drinking vessel. Primitive humans don’t do manners. Circus Maximus, Rome, 20 AD We are at one of the high points
of ancient civilization in the West. In many areas of daily life we won’t have this many manners and complex etiquette for another 1400 years
at least. We’re taking fascinating care to tame nature within us. For the wealthy ones among us at least we’ve taken to having at least a bath a week, to removing nasal hair, ? tailing displays of violence, to policing the way men behave towards women, to carving chicken and fish and brushing our teeth a lot, conscious of our bad breath and its effect on the
sensitivities of others. However, with little knowledge of odontology Romans use a variety of somewhat random ingredients for toothpaste: crushed bone and oyster shell is popular, horse urine is another favorite especially from Iberian breeds. The specifics of the Roman approach to oral hygiene may be questionable but the mentality is advanced and fascinating. Good personal appearance and cleanliness are believed to be what set Romans apart in their minds from what they term the
Barbaria: the people who live north of the famous olive line, the line above which the noble olive tree will not grow, the Germanics and Celts among them. Humanity will have to wait a while until
Charlemagne is next recorded as brushing his teeth with thyme. Poitiers, France, 1152 French Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henry II of England at her court in the South of France. She employs a poet, the troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn to compose songs of love for her and her husband. This sounds merely romantic but the
songs are not simple sentimentality. They are part of Eleanor’s subtle
attempt to civilize her husband and the men around him by putting into verse how a good man should treat his lady. She and her ladies-in-waiting learn to use poetry to set expectations of how military men should act around women. Slowly thanks in part to Eleanor and
attitude known as chivalry develops in the courts of Europe: an idea that men
need to moderate their force and sexual impulses to protect what is termed the
honor and dignity of women. Eleanor of Aquitaine is making an early
highly coded call from ?? to what we would nowadays more bluntly term sexual harassment. London, England, 1209 The Book of the Civilized Man is published by Daniel of Beccles. It’s a poem written in Latin that explains how to act with courtesy
and decorum in social situations. It advises for example if you wish to
belch remember to look up to the ceiling, do not attack your enemy while he is
squatting to defecate, never pest a lady or look too closely at their dress. Don’t mount your horse in the hole and
in front of grandees do not openly excavate your nostril by twisting your
fingers. Slowly the aristocracy is becoming more self-aware about its conduct in social circumstances. In particular, men are being asked to behave with more decorum around women and as an ever-increasing sensor of picking one’s
nose in public. Murano, Venice 1450 A new kind of tableware, the Venetian glass goblet or flute takes Europe by storm, under the direction of the Venetian
master glass-maker Angelo Barovier. On the island of Murano, some 3,000 glass blowers are sating demand for a new highly delicate and ornamented kind of glass. Part of the reason for the demand is that the glasses are extremely easy to break. Any slightly rough handling of them and they shatter like a dry autumn leaf. The Venetian drinking glass is not fragile because of a deficiency or by mistake; it’s not as if its maker was trying to
make it tough and hardy and then stupidly ended up with something a child could snap. It is fragile and easily harmed as the consequence of a deliberate search for extreme delicacy. The underlying thesis is that it’s the
duty of civilization to create environments where it’s okay to be fragile. It’s obvious the glass could easily be
smashed so it forces people especially men to use their fingers very tenderly. It teaches people that moderation is
admirable and elegant not just a tedious demand. It tells us that being careful is
glamorous and exciting even fashionable. It’s a moral tale about gentleness told
by means of a drinking vessel. The Venetian glass makes a big claim: being mannered and civilized involves being aware of the effect of one’s strength on others. Marseille, France, 1533 14-year-old Catherine de’ Medici marries the future Henry II of France. Her home city of Florence is by now the epicenter of culture in the Western world. And she brings with her new culinary fashions that quickly become all the rage:
macaroons, gelato and most significantly a collection of forks. The fork adds a bizarre complication to
the rituals of eating dinner: instead of using our fingers which are ideally made for tearing meat off the bone fast, we’ll slow down on purpose and may use the strange new instrument so as to temper and guide our appetite. The fork quickly spreads around Europe, by 1600 no European court is without a large set of forks. This marks out the savages from the
civilized. Marais, Paris, 1750 A Swiss philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes an extraordinary essay: “A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences”. What makes it so revolutionary and such a milestone in the history of manners is that for the first time in Western
culture an author sticks up for the so called “un-mannered savage”. For the guys who would have ? not brush their teeth, never employed a fork and had a lot of nasal hair, but whom Russo now contrast favorably with modern mannered
people. Rousseau tells us that people living in
what he calls the state of nature were in his eyes far superior to educated and mannered Parisians. Their manners may have been simple but they were honest and
forthright without the sins of what he now terms the “over-civilized”. Russa retells the story of civilization as one of loss and decline, from a primordial state of fresh-faced curiosity, honesty and enthusiasm to barbarous over
politeness, fakery and deceit. He describes the elaborate French
court Versay as less civilized than an early human cave. Readers across Europe are astonished and not a little impressed by this impudence. For hundreds of years moralists have been arguing that our natural selves are wild, harmful, over-sexual and dangerous and that we must
learn to a tame them for the sake of others. Now Russo suggest the diametrical
opposite: civilization has gone too far, it’s our mannered selves that have become the problem, and the task of a properly evolved civilization is to throw off the
chains of manners, to relax us, strip off the etiquette and return to primitive
frankness. Russo’s point continues to echo down to our own times. It is his voice we
can here whenever someone sticks up for the simpler life and suggest we dress
less formally, eat dinner more casually and more readily say whatever is passing through our minds. New York, United States, 1827 A French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville is on a tour of the young United States, in an effort to understand the spirit of a new kind of society: A democracy. He is immediately struck by American
manners or lack thereof. In Europe, reflects de Tocqueville manners have been codified to emphasize hierarchical differences between people. Ordinary people defer to aristocrats, aristocrats to royalty and so on but in
the United States everything is done so as to suggest that there are no differences between people. No one takes off their hat to anyone, a
postman can casually greet a judge, a mule driver can strike up cheerful banter
with a wealthy merchant, and one can not tell by someone’s clothes whether they
might be living in a mansion or a hut. Expressions like “how you doing” and “hi” are heard everywhere across the new republic. It could be charming but the
aristocratic de Tocqueville wryly notes a problem: these casual
manners do not do away with class and wealth
differences, they merely sentimentally disguise them. The manners of old Europe
have been accused of being cruel in their stress on hierarchy but now
de Tocqueville accuses American casual democratic manners of their own kind of cruelty: because they pretend that everyone is in the same boat when clearly they’re not really. At least in old Europe everyone knew who the king and the aristocrats were, adds de Tocqueville. Now the casual manners teach everyone to think of themselves as alike and encourage them to dream of making it to the top of the pile. But when society remains very unequal
and opportunities for genuine advancement and not as widespread as is
thought then bitterness and a sense of failure are likely to be the result to
de Tocqueville ? notes. Casual manners can be their own form of
fakery. Northern Ireland, June 2013 At a meeting of the G8
developed countries a few eyebrows are raised when some of the most powerful
men in the world including Barrack Obama of the United States David Cameron of the United Kingdom and François Hollande of France all appear at a press conference without ties. The men also hug and in some cases high-five each other during the course
of the summit. The absence of ties is an inadvertent and continuing tribute to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Ties have been deemed a symbol of oppression and hierarchy by the people who control the nuclear codes and direct the world economy. Between 1996 and 2008 sales of ties in the U.S halved. In the UK, the Tirerack company, for 20 years the country’s biggest seller of ties goes into administration in late 2014. By early 2015 in The United States only 18 percent of male employees regularly wear a tie to work. One-third show up in jeans at least once a week. Southwark Crown Court, London, September 2014 Eleanor of Aquitaine’s long campaign to civilized men reaches a new milestone: A minor British DJ Dave Lee Travis is
found guilty of indecently assaulting a woman two decades earlier. He is accused by a judge of having
displayed primitive behavior when he groped a young female employees breasts at his radio offices. Patting bottoms, eyeing breasts and throwing out leary comments is now deemed deeply anachronistic and vile manners. Dave Lee Travis, a 69 year old father of two is roundly punished and humiliated for his actions. Travis is in a long line of men who in
the early 21st century are called to account for their behavior towards women. They are puzzled and at a certain level
incensed by this. They had come of age in a period when Victorian manners towards women were on the retreat seen as outdated and
hypocritical. These men had believed in messages about casualness and sexual
liberation but it seems they had fatally misinterpreted what a world with a few
less sexual manners would actually be like. Slowly society is learning to re-heed some of the basic lessons of Victorian etiquette books always stressed: That men must be
careful around women, that they must never touch or look at them
inappropriately and that the overwhelming priority is never to cause
anyone else discomfort through one’s advances. Men like Dave Lee Travis are
judged to be pathological and sexual predators. Looked at through a longer lens
they could also simply be accused of having forgotten their manners. The history of manners shows an ongoing
search for the best way to be kind. For long periods, it seemed that being mannered had to be about hiding and moderating the inner self which was associated with something beastly and cruel. Then under the
influence of Rousseau and the Romantic philosophy to which he gave birth good manners were associated with being
natural and free, letting out the inner self which was deemed to be good and
spontaneously kind. But we have come to learn that there are in fact limitations
to the natural approach. There is unwitting cruelty and political
subterfuge in the defense of natural manners which suggests we’re all equal
when we’re not which allow one gender to pester another. there’s a fine line between being natural about things and being bothersome to others. Aline we are continuing to explore often at great cost to all concerned. There are no doubt many behaviors which many of us
subscribe to now which a later age may come to see is no less vulgar than
Catherine de Medici found a meal without a fork. The aspiration to be well-mannered
shouldn’t be seen as pretentious or fake. It should be generously
interpreted as always belonging to a highly important wish not to cause other
people distress through one’s impulses and needs. The history of manners goes on.

100 thoughts on “HISTORY OF IDEAS – Manners

  1. But fork was introduced in Western Europe by byzantine princess Theophano in the 972 AD when she married prince Otto II, later Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. https://www.google.com/amp/s/mybyzantine.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/byzantine-women-%25E2%2580%2593-the-princess-theophano-and-introducing-the-fork-into-europe/amp/

  2. I think that the history of manners is ambiguous. It can be interpreted as cyclical or linearly progressive.

  3. There is no reason to believe that women were raped more lightly in the paleolithic then today, their fathers and brothers would have avenged the dishonor. I believe the images of the man with an erection running after a woman to be fake. Furthermore communities were small so everybody knew everything about everybody. And as procreation was not understood at that point women were seen as magical. Religion evolved around the mother goddess. It is with the domestication of animals that the idea that it is the man who puts a seed in the woman emerges. And with agriculture came organized society that you like to call civilization. Within that society people who are not acquainted meet, hierarchies form, exploitation starts, it is at that point that a code of conduct is needed to diminish the abuse by the powerful.

  4. But still no one taught them to take off their shoes before going into their homes. Like seriously, what is the state of your floors white people?!

  5. Wow! Kudos ob your French pronunciation! Rarely we ear that degree of respect for our langage from an English-speaking person. We appreciate, really. 👍

  6. Don't forget to brush your teeth! One doesn't want to be offensive before one goes on their raping spree! 😁🌽

  7. Manners are important, etiquette not so much. A decline in manners can lead to rioting, a decline in etiquette has led to our no longer eating bananas with a knife and fork.

  8. The history of manners goes on…this might be one of my favorite videos. I didn't skip a second.

  9. What’s the name of the painting that has a girl holding a musk in her hand??

  10. I wish you wouldn't pronounce the French names weirdly and sped-up. In this one I'm lucky to have already been familiar with them but had I wanted to Google them I'd have 0 idea what these people were called. Slow down and pronounce them the English way, people all over the globe will thank you.

  11. Chivalry was a code of expectations concerning how a man should compose and conduct himself in regards to mounted combat, i.e. general riding abilities, skill in using various weapons from horseback, knowledge of formation tactics, etc. There was no singular code of chivalry, nor was the concept of chivalry meant to be a guide for men's manners.

  12. Nice reference to Bud Abbott and Lou Costello meet Dr Jekyll and mr. Hyde in the begging

  13. Horse urine and crushed shells and bone mixed wouldn't be a terrible solution for use in tooth brushing. The urine would whiten the teeth and shell and bone would be abrasive and remove plaque.

  14. My mother told me to chew with my mouth closed when I'm eating, but I might find it as a good thing. 🙂

  15. No mention of 1950s American etiquette that was strict and stifling. Americans believe in the first amendment of free speech, but we're taught not to talk about politics, religion, money, diversity and esp. sex and death. And finally, our manners are changing in the 21st century, especially Political Correctness from both the Civil Rights Movement half a century ago and currently, SJWs or Social Justice Warriors on college campuses, as well the workplace known for its rigid etiquette and culture, and the laws and the government. +

  16. Please make it clear that you are only talking about the West. North Americans, South Americans, Asians, Africans, having community vs individualistic priorities that taught behaviors that benefited all. Whites people are the youngest race on the planet. N. Americans manners are a front on most levels. We have devolved. Especially since 2016.

  17. uh yeah, chivalry had very very little to do with women, it was more along the lines of battle field etiquette. dont try to re-write history to suit modern political agendas or ideologies please. +1 thumbs down for you

  18. Wow. Women’s moment gave us manners! Back to being Vikings migtow red pill! Feminism kills masculinity

  19. The stuff said about human behaviour at 13000 BC is a total madeup bullshit.

  20. Remember those gentle gestures you were taught to do as a kid such as saying mister, sir or mam and opening a door to other people and helping elderly to cross a street n' all that stuff?
    Well fuck that shit, manners are offensive now!

  21. 5:34 The goblets were also fragile because no one knew how to properly anneal glass (slowly cool the glass over the course of several hours to equalize stress in the glass, the length of time depending on the thickness of the glass).
    Source: Bill Gudenrath from the Corning Museum of Glass explains this in his class on Venetian glassmaking techniques.

  22. maybe to add that both genders were at each other before manners 😀 2 way street , not a one way

  23. Forks may have been a civilised tool in western society but they just can’t beat chopsticks. Forks simply lack in precision when in use.

  24. Pretty sure Americans were much more financially equal than Europeans in 1827

  25. So it has taken thousands of years to get men to stop picking their noses and keep their hands to themselves.

  26. Also worth mentioning is Ziryab and his effect on the andalusian/spanish culture

  27. I don't think that ruso is saying that not having manners is better than having manners he is says that, damage individuals who are trying to manipulate will use manner as a show of competence, and not the other way around competence showing manners, also I am referring to competence here as understanding society, and creating system within society to optimize the well being of society with his understand of it, otherwise known as manners.

  28. Manners and physical assault are completely different concepts. These seem to get confused in this video.

  29. I burped in the middle of watching this video! Didn't know if should laugh or cry. Funny thing was even though I was all alone, I apologised loudly!

  30. Huck Finn never cared for edoocation or manners.
    Still, he knew right from wrong; his character was his compass.
    By contrast, there be high falutin and mighty civil folk whose misdeeds be such that they dim the sun itself.

  31. These things are just point in time, they are never static and will keep changing.

  32. I fucking knew it! If it wast for that fat, manipulating, walking vagina, men would be better today.

  33. No matter the time period, I think if you had been the victim of rape you would not think the other person were simply of bad manners.

  34. the painting of the two girls at 13:13 is by bougereau i do believe (could be wrong) he is my favourite artist

  35. Just like the tie, JFK did not wear a hat which changed a long held custom.

  36. What's with the subliminal "MANN" at 4:45?
    And this seems more like a history of Europeans and their lack of manners.

  37. I thought it was rude and barbaric to flash subliminal messages at your audience…

  38. 4:46 , it's a picture of a dude in front of a word that looks like manners

  39. The patterns I have seen and noticed in my lifetime and in my circles is that, in general, as a whole, white folks are more mannered than non-whites. We have respect for our elders, animals and the Earth. I can think of one other group seen to be higher elevated and that is the Japanese. I believe there is a correlation between Intelligence, and race, the higher IQ the more on average one will have higher morals values and manners. A look at FBI stats, comparisons of prison population and level of education, along with single mothers can be predictors of those with and without manners and you will see clear racial disparities.

  40. Informational video but this is white history. Egyptian civilization where very advanced and so was Mexican civilization but you chose not to mention them.

  41. What a hilarious video hahaha!!!! I can point out SO much that is not true, things appropriated from non-white cultures, but why the fuck bother… 😁🤣

  42. It's not just Jean-Jacques Rousseau who romanticised the "noble savage." The "selfish gene" crowd and "laissez faire" economists are also guilty of reading their own beliefs back into history. We know very little of what people did in the stone age, and nothing of what they believed so we are free to make up stories to support what we want others to let us do to them.

    A couple of centuries ago Europeans made up wild tales about China and Japan, and before that there were moral fables about the Persians.

    Its clear that a lot of the sofa storm-troopers here place no value on manners: many go out of their way to demonstrate that.

  43. CORRECTION: On minute 06:15 about the history of the dining fork in European Courts. It was not in 1533, but 500 years before, when The introduction of the fork to Western Europe, according to theologian and cardinal Peter Damian, was by the Greek Byzantine Princess Theophano Sklereina, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, who at an Imperial banquet in 972 nonchalantly produced one, astonishing her Western guests. (Source – wiki: Fork)

  44. Footnote: The death of ties is also about hygiene though. Many US hospitals now forbid M.D.s from wearing ties on their rounds because they transfer pathogens from one patient to another.

  45. This is utterly absurd. Sexual harassment, molestation, and assault are not "poor manners" or "forgotten manners". They're serious crimes and are rightly punished as such. Trying to explain away the criminal behaviour of others with a flimsy excuse of manners is disingenuous as well as harmful. Please reconsider this stance.

  46. Men caught up in their lack of respectful behaviour towards women are not victims in a so called turn about of social etiquette. Your talk of these men and others in their generations, being used to certain acceptable social or not so social behaviours a few decades ago is abominable. To fondle women in the privacy of the office at work was always unacceptable behaviour, that's why the fellows did it in seclusion, one on one encounters. Try that in public displays and is was always unacceptable and called out. Women are saying enough now, we are not tolerating this anymore ! That's the change !!

  47. 2:06 " we wont have this many manners and complex etiquette for another 1400 years at least "
    ancient china, islamic golden age ( abbasids, andaluss ): im i a joke to you…?

  48. Now that we have set a precident for convicting of crimes done in the past, I wonder what "crimes" people are committing today, that they will be convicted for in 20 years time?

  49. 7:00 Jean-Jacques Rousseau was clearly Western History's first big anti-social loser. There is nothing wrong with politeness, and artificiality. People who encounter each other in public do not need to know every intimate detail about each other. It is NOT normal to "bare scars" with each other. We can get along, and even work together on important projects, without me knowing you intimate sexual fantasies, nor do I need to know anything about your genitalia. There are logical, and tasteful limitations to social interaction. Transactional Analysis is the best way to understand healthy human interaction, because it is based in sober scientific study.

  50. England invented manners so us England people don’t need it because we already got manners

  51. Don't equate causing harm to a woman, and unwanted children thru rape, to breaches in etiquette, such as burping at the table. Pain, fear, and trauma have always very obviously been connected to rape. Rapists past present and future knew/know what they're doing.

  52. At no point in history have women been happy with being groped, raped, or otherwise sexually assaulted. This is video is rape apologist propaganda.

  53. "Do not openly excavate your nostril by twisting your fingers." LOL That's such a fancy way of telling someone not to pick their nose! I've heard of the term, "Digging for gold," but I find comparing the nose to a cave system with 2 mine shafts highly amusing!

  54. 9:01 the United States is not a democracy. Not only that, but most if not all of her founding fathers thought that Democracy was evil. Thomas Paine called it "the ultimate tyranny" the tyranny of the many over the few. That's why they made the United States a constitutional republic

  55. We don't need forks and spoons if we wash our hands well. Our hands are made to make our eating experience quicker & more efficient. Except in some cases like drinking soup, we should use our hands as much as possible & shouldn't discourage others who eat with their hands.

  56. Let's be clear. Bill Cosby fucking drugged and raped women. This wasn't "the 60s." Awful example.

  57. for anyone who needs to hear this, male or female: don’t let the cultural conditioning fool you!! both genders want sex just as much, boys aren’t horny cavemen with no self control, and if girls seem not to want it, it’s because society has engrained us with shitty body confidence and shame for our wants!!!!

  58. Europeans were eating each other at the same time Africans already invented math

  59. All the people whining about ”gngngngn harassment is not forgetting one’s manners”. It is.

    Of course, by today standards, females are not objects or whatev, but back in the day, they were: what written rule says that women or man can’t own one another? None. The only logic rules are math and physics. All other things are looked at through the prism of morality. Morality is not some unmovable and unwritten rule encoded in our DNA. God forbid question our morality, eh? All changes are made through introspection of one’s self and society: u women are pretty happy to have rights, hey? But, in the 1900s, oh, God forbid question our manners: no change required!

    Y’all are idots for saying such things as ”not raping is not about manners”. It is. Stars dying and the Earth revolving around the Sun isn’t about manners, but all things that humans do are.

  60. I wonder what Eleanor of Aquitaine would say if she saw a Nicki Minaj pop vid. Manners are only for men isn't it. No lessons for women.

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