“Courtesy should be apparent in all our actions and words and in all aspects of daily life. But be courtesy, I do not mean rigid, cold formality. Courtesy in the truest sense is selfless concern for the welfare and physical and mental comfort of the other person.”
~ Mas Oyama
“The martial way begins and ends with courtesy. Therefore, be properly and genuinely courteous at all times.” ~ Mas Oyama.
As I have learned more about Mas Oyama’s philosophy and reflections one thing has struck me. His inclination intended or otherwise was Christian/Catholic is disposition. His about quote on Courtesy and others I have covered echo Catholic sentiment. Compare the above Mas Oyama writings to those below of Catholic Convert Marshall McLuhan:
“Courtesy is the entrance-level virtue that allows strangers to suddenly feel that they are kindred spirits. It is also the foundation on which other virtues might be established, such as kindness, thoughtfulness, amicability, and generosity. No true and lasting human relationship can begin without the virtue of courtesy. It appears at the beginning of a relationship (should we call it a relationship?) and abides throughout it. It is expressed to both the stranger and to the intimate. It is the needed antidote to our world of machine-efficiency. It reminds us of our distinctive humanity and invites us to follow its beckoning course. Its sensitivity is always an accepting one, greeting the poor and the afflicted and the affluent and the healthy with equal temperament. It offers the smile of recognition, and the possibility of friendship. It costs nothing, and can, at times, save us from despair.” [Source]
I will leave it to you to ponder, but regardless of your opinion, there is much to be gained by reflecting on the words of both Mas Oyama and Marshall McLuhan. Courtesy is something severely lacking in the world today. A base common decency which raises every person we meet to be our equal and our brother.
Offering them courtesy is the first step to our own improvement. A focus on Courtesy would lead to fewer divorces, fewer fights and conflicts. For Courtesy to flourish it must be bi-directional however we need to lead by example if we are to ever improve.
Courtesy comes naturally to some people, especially if they were raised that way. But courtesy can start with simple words like Please and Thank you. A kind action like opening a door for someone; a simple smile to a stranger; offering your seat on a bus; or, any random act of kindness. Courtesy is considerate to the needs of others. It demonstrates that we are not superior or inferior but equal.
Courtesy can even save your life. I will leave it to you to figure out how. If you think you know leave a comment with your thoughts.
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