Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Same Manner

"The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another."

- George Bernard Shaw, Pygmailion

2 comments:

Richard said...

I have to disagree slightly. It is not merely a question of treating everyone equally, but also in a just and respectful manner. I do not consider Professor Higgins behaviour as exemplary.

b said...

Richard...I chose this particular quote because of the irony and particularly, for the wisdom behind it. Higgins wasn't much concerned with how people were treated, as long as they were treated equally. In philosophy, at least. Surely, even in his seemingly equal rudeness toward others much of the time, he still had moments of being contradictory, particularly where Eliza was concerned.

Of course, Higgins is not to be esteemed for he did not live righteously. However, lately, I've been confronted by so many sterotypical assumptions and this quote really struck a chord with me. There is much wisdom behind such a statement...again, not attributing that wisdom to be held by Higgins because he merely uttered the words.

I absolutely agree that it is the way in which you treat people that is signficant but interestingly, we so often allow ourselves to do so on a sliding scale. Why shouldn't we start first with treating people equally? And in seeing people as equals, that sense of humanity should inspire us to treat people with respect.