"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it" - Shug, Color Purple, Alice Walker.
Walker does not refer to the mankind's inattentive approach to nature's aesthetics. Though true that is - we hardly notice the magnificent optical textures of jasmine or the tenderness of it's touch, or, to simply put it, it's raw audacious beauty. Sophisticated taste even triggers you to be moved or enthralled or awed or touched or sometimes even shocked by the subtleties. My taste, as unrefined as it can get, I can only sense the pleasure involved. The simple pleasure that jasmine provides me is all I know!!
But Walker's purple is not purple. It is sensitivity. It is respectability. It is acknowledgement.
People are Rude. In a manner of speaking, if you're travelling, they react as if you trespassed on their property; if you're a customer, you're intruding someone's work; if you're at work, you're taken for granted. There is proof for a gradient degeneration in our courteousness. Read literary works written a few centuries ago to understand their lifestyle. A loud obscene comment in public, which would've turned heads in that age is hardly noticed today. Generic humour which was only a funny good-natured banter is now sprinkled with lewdness, impoliteness and intentional offense.
So, what trigerred this transformation? How is the present different from the past? Two things popup in my mind - population, and technology. Thinking about population, every major city of any cultural origin is characterized to a certain extent by it's rudeness. Think New York, London, Tokyo, Mumbai. Has over-population desensitized us? Has the increasing number of people/sq.foot irritated us and eroded our courteous faculty? If so, is it going to be a slow descent into barbaric ages?
Modern technology, which has promised independence of many kinds, has remarkably reduced the intensity of an individual's interaction with the society. I think the cave of nextgen gadgets in which most of the younger populace lives today have been numbed for long to 'feel' the beauty or pathos or depth of anything that happens to him/her. Have the iPod's and cellphones and satellites overwhelmed our senses to the extent that we don't even acknowledge the next person as a person?
Originally posted on LJ on May 9th, 2005