Fiona Yang Palos Verdes Peninsula HS 9th Grade
Ray Bradbury once wrote in his novel, The Martian Chronicles,“No matter how we touch Mars, we’ll never touch it. And then we’ll get mad at it, and you know what we’ll do? We’ll rip it up, rip the skin off, and change it to fit ourselves.” It has been within human nature since the beginning of time to crave acceptance, and to desire dominance. We could have anything, and still covet everything, and it is this exact greed that leads to chaos. In turn, we create a basic code to regulate us: civility. Civility is a double-edged sword that both restricts and defines a society. But, how does one determine the standards of civility? In today’s age, etiquette has become something far more complex, with various rules and meanings behind each action. What is the foundation for the principles we stand by today?
Integrity. It is the ability to hold morality in any situation, based on a system created by us between the difference of right and wrong, to restrain our natural instincts and desires. However, morality is an idea determined by perspective, and when different perspectives clash, history has proven humans no different from our ancient, barbarian ancestors. Genocides, wars, and even day-to day bullying are all examples of distorted versions of morality and a sense of duty imposed on us by society to remain civil.
I have been taught by those around me to pity and help the needy. I have been taught to fight against the injustices of discrimination in all shapes and forms. I have been taught to stand up for what I think is right, and to voice out my abhorrence against inhumane crimes.
Yet, when I go out with my family and friends, we see the homeless. They beg and plead for something, anything. We just swiftly walk past, hoping and reassuring ourselves that someone else will carry the burden of cleaning up that mess. Nobody will give- so why should we? Guilt swells within me, but my companions pull me closer, saying “Don’t.” And so I don’t.
I speak out against the injustices in the world, and yet I myself impose injustices upon others. I clash between what is right and what is acceptable, and I, along with others, choose the latter.
Civility upholds a society, but it is at the cost of our integrity. We are afraid of how one misspoken word can lead to everyone turning on us, so we start to identify courtesy as either standing in the sidelines, or partaking in the crime ourselves. Although there have been countless movements to eradicate those shackles through several aspects, the truth of the matter still stands- we shun nonconformity. We try so hard to change those that resist. And until we are able to break free from the shackles known as civility, our views of integrity and how we act upon them will remain warped. After all, we are only human.
<Fiona Yang Palos Verdes Peninsula HS 9th Grade