I just had a long discussion about this very thing with 3 co-workers today.
There was of course a bit of beefing about specific events, but on the whole several things were agreed upon.
btw, the ages of this people ranged from a young 27 to about 60.
It was agreed that people today seem more tuned out, or conversely, more tuned into themselves only. Literally not even seeing/hearing others because of being so wrapped up in themselves.
Personally, I do blame technology for a lot of this. It's so easy to shove earbuds in our ears, stare at a monitor or your iphone, seeing the world via the internet rather than the stranger sitting next to you. What an opportunity missed to have an actual conversation with another person, learning when to stop talking and listen, realizing how much we all have in common.
Also, the media, including the entertainment industry. Many people know more about what is happening in the lives of some actor or singer than about our next door neighbor. We're more wrapped up in the lives of a complete stranger we'll never meet, that the person living a few feet away.
Many people have forgotten, or getting more and more common, have never learned how to have a conversation. It's a world of abbreviations and text messages, where adjectives and listening skills are missing.
When it all boils down, it's all about communication. Think about problems at work for instance. Disagreements and problems occur when the lack of communication is a barrier.
One sad thing about a lack of manners is that there are so many opportunities missed to feel good. The appreciative nod when you hold a door open for someone....The smile you put on the face of someone during a random conversation in a waiting room. The realization that the smallest act of kindness on our part can totally make someones day.
I do believe technoloy has enabled many people to take the easy way out and isolate ourselves from the world, even while we are listening to music, texting, writing on a forum, doing everything in our power to make sure we don't actually see or touch another person. Sure that's a bit of an exaggeration, but sometimes I watch people out in public, and it does seems the knack for being able to connect in some way to others is diminishing. Some don't even realize others are around to the extent they don't even know to step out of the way, or not just walk in whatever direction they desire, regardless of others standing in their path.
Manners go away when we close our eyes to the world.