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The unwritten, unspoken rules of polite society. It's what keeps you from laughing or commenting on bodily functions that happen in public and ignoring homeless/smelly people until you can escape their visual/audible range.

May also apply to catching someone doing something inappropriate in public, in which both parties act like nothing happened and/or nothing was seen.
I went into the bathroom to wash my hands just as David was flushing the toilet. His shit stunk so bad, it was all I could think about. I tried to hold my breath and ignore it as the social contract keeps me from acknowledging the fact that his shit smell was suffocating me.
by YouStinkLikeShit January 17, 2012
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2
The idea of a social contract originated with the Age of Enlightenment and is the idea that members of a society must cooperate for social benefits (i.e. jobs, marriage, etc). The idea of a social contract insinuates that there are no intrinsic social skills because people are born basically good and corrupted by society, and yet obedience and restraint (i.e. sacrifice of individual freedom) should still be created and instilled by a regional government or the national government. That is because the officials of that government are elected to seek the greater good of the public rather than allow private citizens or private corporations to impose an imprint of themselves onto other people and potentially dehumanize them with excommunication when the subjugated or subordinated person starts to ask too many questions.
The idea of a social contract has been explored by writers such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau during the Age of Enlightenment with the premise being the people are basically good, while films like Stanley Kubrick's, "A Clockwork Orange," argues that people are basically bad and to what extent should people in society be restrained and expected to conform.
by rbdz29 February 24, 2017
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