The aim of etiquette rules is to create an atmosphere of comfort, order, courtesy and other hallmarks of refinement.
But then, there’s such a thing as robotic refinement- an unthinking, automated application of etiquette rules without due consideration for the outcome.
The root of etiquette should be in the character and not the reputation; character is real and permanent but reputation is virtual and temporary.
Etiquette is not a superficial, cosmetic appliance; its rules can be broken, suspended or modified for a greater good.
Etiquette interrupts etiquette.
No other exemplarily demonstrated this uncommon etiquette phenomenon than that great Princess of Wales- Diana.
I love her quote: ‘I don’t go by the rule book….I lead from the heart, not the head.’
Also, a story is told of an American President who, on noticing the lack of dining manners of a certain man he invited for dinner, dropped his cutlery (even though he knew how to use them) and joined this man in eating without grace.
It is the kind motives behind these actions that validate them.
It is suspicious when a gentleman, as cool as cucumber, as smooth as butter, is mechanically adherent to all the rules all the time; the play out is reminiscent of a pre-programmed missile drone whose mission is seldom positive.
Curious also is the lady with the daily makeup so impossibly perfect, Barbie dolls are jealous.
Not that being a gentleman or looking beautiful aren’t acceptable anymore but the compulsiveness and unfeelingness that dictate these actions are key characteristics of robots.
The 2004 Hollywood movie, I, Robot shows the consequences of being a pre-programmed robot who has the tendency to abuse or misuse the very thing that was designed to make the world a better place as against being a feeling, decisive human being.