Although I am not conspicuously well-behaved myself, I have a longstanding scholarly interest in the history and philosophy of the etiquette of what we laughingly call "Western Civilization."

Thus, I am currently reading a book with the title The Polite World. It is carefully though not lavishly furnished with illustrations, some of which date back to the medieval period, of correct deportment.

What continues to strike me as I read more deeply into subject is the utter and elaborate pointlessness of all rules of demeanor, outside the times and places in which they are deeply meaningful. This odd pointlessness seems to undermine the common claim that politeness is basically about consideration for others. If it were really about such a universal principle, why do the strict rules of yesteryear seem so unintuitive and irrelevant?