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The Pleasure of The Open Door by Michael Nunes Is there anything more frustrating than opening a door for someone and have that person sail past you without so much as a nod? I know that it makes me feel frustrated and ignored, as though I were only the doorman, and not worthy of recognition. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the long decades of apartheid. There was much wrong with the governing regime, which oppressed a great many people. Yet, within the crushing cruelty and injustice of those years, there were some small glimmers of decency. The...

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by Juan Sepulveda Yesterday, I visited a popular retailer to pick up a few items. After paying for my selections, I realized that I had a rather long drive home and should visit the restroom before leaving. I didn't want to bring my items into the restroom, so I approached one of the employees behind a cash register and asked "may I leave this here while I go to the restroom?" With an unpleasant tone, his reply was "Ok, but I am not responsible if someone takes something from it". I wasn't about to engage in a discussion with this...

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Courtesy is Society's Grease by Michael Nunes What makes for a civilized society? How do societies keep from tearing themselves apart, considering their complex mix of competing interests and opinions? Societies and philosophers have contemplated similar questions for millennia. Some societies resort to fear, societies in which it may be fatal to challenge the status quo. Others use a rigorous ideological homogeneity in which peer pressure and the norms of society govern people's actions. "Social constructs are necessary to keep the wheels of society moving" In large, heterogeneous societies, with a rich mix of religious, ideological and social ideas, other...

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The Courage to be Courteous by Juan Sepúlveda When I was a young boy, I remember how my father seemed to be very effective at communicating with people, even when the topic was not pleasant. When he encountered someone who tried to take advantage of him or when someone was being unfair to someone else, he had the ability to diffuse the situation without having to resort to violence. However, that doesn’t mean that his words were weak, he was able to express himself courageously without compromising courtesy. Today, I have two children of my own and I want to...

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