Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why do adults throw tantrums?

Elizabeth Bernstein tackled this subject in the WSJ, Oct 16, 2012. Of course, we all know common courtesy is dead, thanks to the internet and anonymity.

But why go postal if someone has more than 10 items in the store? Or is talking on a cell at dinner? Or forgot the pickles on your burger?

Some guys at Duke think it's because there are deeply held rules of what's fair. Some inner social contract.

Lying is not fair--because then we can't trust anything--we have no starting point, no benchmark. Nothing means anything.

The Duke people found everyone had a breaking point--a pet peeve, something that really rang their chimes.

Part of the key is to know that and try extra hard to avoid it.

I have several--but I really hate boring commenters on blogs and in newspapers. "Stay on your medication" is a particularly unhelpful and trite remark, in my opinion.

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