Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality

In praise of hospitality

The opposite of the screaming matches on the Net is not screaming back and is not staying quiet, but is hospitality.

This is a core term we Americans sometimes don’t pay enough attention to. Oh, we’re hospitable and sometimes spectacularly so, but other cultures hold the standard closer and higher. It’s one of the moral values that are not negative: Don’t steal, don’t lie, but do go out of your way to welcome those who are unlike you. Appreciate them. Enjoy talking with them. Understand that they find difficult the normal customs that you take for granted, so ease their way. (In fact, Loman Tsui, of the Berkman Center, is writing a dissertation that focuses on hospitality as a key virtue for news media.)

The story of Abraham and Sarah welcoming dusty strangers who turn out to be angels says it all. So I’ll stop now. It’s just that having been treated to kind hospitality today, it is on my mind. It is a virtue that makes the world better immediately.

6 Responses to “In praise of hospitality”

  1. There’s some recent science reporting on the origins of hospitality:

    Around 10,000 years ago, residents of large farming communities had to learn to make fair exchanges with strangers and to retaliate against selfish exploiters, researchers propose in the March 19 Science.

  2. Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality…

    Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality…

  3. Hospitality…welcoming others into our lives…is such a key fundamental human principle and so core to American values. I watched an episode of the Louis Gates series earlier today and it struck me that America was unique in its welcoming of strangers in the 20th century. We struggle with that value today but I believe we will alway fall back on it because we are all rooted in it. The evolutionary benefits of this value are so clear.

  4. H’m. We Americans welcomed people — unless they were immigrants: “No Irish need apply” could still be seen in the ’30’s, directed at perhaps the immigrants most similar to Americans, while identifiably Hispanic and Oriental Americans were considered foreign, period, end of story. Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” is about the welcome “Okies” received after being driven from their homes, and later, “DP’s” (displaced persons, displaced by WWII), were regarded with suspicion as free-loaders here looking for a handout.

  5. Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality…

    Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality…

  6. Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality…

    Joho the Blog » In praise of hospitality…

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