In my opinion, social obligations have ruined sincerity. By social obligations i mean what people feel like they have to do and say. To give an arbitrary minor example, Let's say that you're walking down a sidewalk and you look out and see an old acquaintance that you secretly don't like and you wish you hadn't seen. I would say that in the majority of occurrences similar to this one, many people will still politely say hi or even get involved in a conversation. Or to give another example, you are eating with some friends, and another friend walks in that you don't really want to eat with but if they see you and you see them, and you notice they aren't with anybody, you will probably tend to invite them to sit with you. So are these things acts of kindness or simply social obligations that we feel must do? How can we tell? I will use a metaphor to better explain, in the case of the soul, we would act the same whether we had one or not which makes it hard to prove either way. So in this metaphor the soul is sincerity and what we do is our social obligations. For another example, let's look at depression. After someone has been identified as suicidal or some such thing, he is forced into meeting with various people on campus, each one telling him that they care. How can you care for someone you've never met? On what grounds can you care about someone, because they're human one may say. So would Hitler then be greeted with the same generosity? If the person depressed is a liability to the staff members, in that if he killed himself it would be a reflection on the school and people who worked with him, how can we know if they are sincerely trying to help or if they just don't want to look bad?
(1) Sincerity exists
(2) Social obligations exist
(3) Both create the same outcome
(4) Therefore, we cannot know whether someone is acting out of sincerity or social obligation
To conclude, some social obligations and formalities are good in that they maintain structure in our society, but many are not needed and they most definitely dont need the amount of importance our society places on them. When we perceive something as wrong or rude, many times it is because we think the person has failed to uphold one of our sacred social obligations. I am a man who admires sincerity, and i place great importance on it, and in my opinion sincerity is more important than social obligations and formalities. The co-existence of sincerity and social obligations make it incredibly hard to tell from which source someone is acting. Therefore if we can remove some of our social obligations or at least the importance we place on them then we can become a more sincere and honest society.