It seems natural to most of us that we shouldn’t burp loudly in front of
未经允许不能碰别人后背 或是不应往那些惹恼我们的人脸上吐口水 这些都是很自然而然的事
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 hardwon foods 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 thereby for the future of manners.
公元前13,000年 英国索美塞特郡 高夫洞穴
13,000 BC, Gough’s Cave, Somerset, England
We’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
山洞里众目睽睽之下做一切事情 更惊悚的是 我们还偶尔有
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
割下 去掉大脑组织 将头盖骨用来作
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
每周泡一次澡 清理一下鼻毛 克制暴躁
having at least a bath a week, to removing nasal hair, to tailing displays of
violence, to policing the way men behave towards women,
将鸡肉鱼肉切块 常刷牙 注意口臭
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
充当牙膏 最受欢迎的是碎骨头和贝壳 马尿是
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 Barbarian:
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.
她请了一位诗人 就是游吟诗人伯尔纳·德 旺塔多恩 让他为她和她丈夫创作了很多关于爱的诗歌
She employs a poet, the troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn to compose songs of love
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.
慢慢地 因女王的努力 一种叫骑士精神的态度
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 an end 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.
它是一部用拉丁文写的诗歌 解释了如何在社交场合里以礼待人 礼貌行事
It’s a poem written in Latin that explains how to act with courtesy and decorum in social situations.
比如 该书建议 如果你想打嗝 记得抬头朝天花板看
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 pester
ladies or look too closely at their dress.
Don’t mind your horse in the hall 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.
它教会人们 克己复礼说极好极优雅的 而非出于繁冗的需要
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
迅速流行起来: 蛋白杏仁饼干 冰淇淋以及最重要的
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”.
那些打嗝 不刷牙 不使用叉子 还有许多鼻毛的人
For the guys who would burp, 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”.
Russo retells the story of civilization as one of loss and decline,
from a primordial state of fresh-faced curiosity, honesty
热情 到残暴的过度礼貌 虚假和欺骗
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.
几百年来道德家们一直在争论说 我们的天然自我是狂野的 有害的 纵欲的
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
进化文明应抛弃礼貌教化的枷锁 去放飞自己 褪下
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 hear whenever someone sticks up for
更简单的生活 建议我们穿着不要太正式 吃得更随意
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:
He is immediately struck by American manners or lack thereof.
托克维尔反思到 在欧洲 礼貌的形成是用来强化
In Europe, reflects de Tocqueville manners have been codified to emphasize
hierarchical differences between people.
普通人得服从贵族 贵族听命于皇室 等等 但在美国
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.
没有人对谁脱帽致意 邮递员可以跟法官随意打招呼 干驴车的
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
riley notes a problem: these casual manners
do not do away with class and wealth differences, they merely sentimentally
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 are not as widespread as is thought then bitterness and a sense of
failure are likely to be the result to de Tocqueville presumed 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.
在美国 1996年至2008年间 领带的销售额减半
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 employee’s breasts at his radio offices.
拍屁股 看胸 言语上搞暧昧在这个时代都被是被视为错误
Patting bottoms, eyeing breasts and throwing out leary comments is now deemed deeply anachronistic and
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 reheed 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.
在相当长的时期 人类似乎总是要躲藏 调和与
For long periods, it seemed that being man it 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
它认为我们都是平等的 但实际上我们并不是 而这会容许一种性别
manners which suggests we’re all equal when we’re not which allow one gender to
there’s a fine line between being natural about things and being bothersome to others.
A line 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.
思想的历史 - 礼节