The Golden Rule
Rule, found in the scriptures of every
religion, is regarded as the most concise
and general description of human being
rules of conduct.
"It was the task of industrial society to destroy
reciprocity. All that "community" implies - self-sufficiency, mutual aid,
morality in the marketplace, stubborn tradition, regulation by custom, organic
knowledge instead of mechanistic science - had to be steadily and
systematically disrupted and displaced. All of the practices that kept the
individual from being a consumer had to be done away with so that the cogs and
wheels of an unfettered machine called "the economy" could operate without
interference, influenced merely by
invisible hands." - Kirkpatrick Sale
"This call for a world-wide
fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's
race, class and
nation is in reality a call for an
all-embracing and unconditional
love for all
men. This oft misunderstood and
concept has now become an absolute necessity
for the survival of
Now let us begin. Now let
us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter - but
beautiful - struggle for a new
reality. This is the calling of the sons of
God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response.
" - Martin Luther King Jr.,
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient
Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself.
you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
one of you is a believer until he
for his brother what he loves for himself.
And if thine eyes be turned towards
choose thou for thy
neighbour that which thou choosest for
This is the sum of
do naught to
others which if done to
thee would cause thee
Whatever is disagreeable to
yourself do not do unto
to others in such terms as,
just as I am, so are they, just as they
are, so am I .
An it harm none, do what thou
"Is there a single
word which can be a guide to conduct throughout
The Master answered,
"It is shu - reciprocity:
Do not do to others what you do
not want them to do to you."
should wander about treating all creatures
he himself would be treated.
This is the sum of duty:
do naught unto
others which would cause you pain if done to
As thou deemest thyself, so deem others.
Humankind has not woven the web of
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
The heart of the person before you is
See there your own form.
One going to take a pointed stick to poke a baby
should first try it on
himself to feel how it hurts.
imprinted on the hearts of all
men is to love the members of society as themselves.
If you haven't the will to gladden someone's
then at least beware lest you
hurt someone's heart,
for on our
path, no sin exists but
Regard your neighbor's gain as your own
and regard your neighbor's loss as
your own loss.
We affirm and promote
respect for the
interdependent web of all existence of
which we are a part.
Do for one who may do for you,
that you may
cause him thus to do.
Do not return evil to your adversary; requite
with kindness the one who does evil
to you, maintain justice for your enemy, be friendly to your enemy.
for mutual respect and the
kinship of all humanity.
What is hateful to you, do not to your
That is the entire
Law; all the rest is
Karen Armstrong, a
leading British writer on the history of religion, says the Golden Rule, an elegant
concept advanced by sages and
Socrates to Ezekiel, has long been
obscured by disputes of "my faith is
better than yours."
Karen Armstrong says the
ideal of the Golden Rule always applies and
urges that humanity abide by the
ancient call to abandon selfishness
compassion. "The sages
from about 900 to 200 BC worked to find a cure for the
spiritual ills of humanity.
They found that the
way of compassion and the emptying of
selfishness actually worked.
It does bring people a
sense of sacred peace
Humanity has never gone beyond these
great insights, which is why we call this period the "Axial Age" - the pivot of
times, people looked back at these sages
reproduced them to speak to their own
A lot of the religions have
actually shielded people from the Axial Age's concentration on
compassion by erecting
secondary goals, such as orthodox beliefs. Every single one of the "fundamentalist" movements I have
studied in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is
rooted in a profound fear of their
Confucius, the Buddha, the
prophets of Israel, and later Jesus and
Muhammad were more ambitious. They wanted to craft a different
type of humanity. They were
interested only in compassionate
behavior that dethrones the self from the
center of one's reality.
does not matter what tradition you
belong to. Compassion and
kindness bring you into the
presence of what monotheists call God,
also known as
nirvana, Brahmin, or the
Ekstasis, or ecstasy, in Greek means "stepping outside."
This is not an exotic state of
consciousness, it means the
freedom of stepping outside the
This, anybody can
asked, "Which one of your teaching
can we put into practice all day and every day?"
Confucius replied, "Do not do to
others as you would not have done
That means every time we are
tempted to say something unkind about a relative, or an annoying colleague, or a country
with whom we are at war, we should ask, "How
would I like that said about me or our people?"
we refrain, we have transcended
ourselves and our
living on an
Earth united now - whether we like it or not -
electronically; economically and
politically. The only
way we can end
hostility is to
learn to think that
other nations are as important as
ourselves and to practice the Golden Rule - do
not do unto others as you would
not have done unto you - which was first proposed by Confucius about 500 years before
Jesus. It's the only safe
way." - Karen Armstrong
Natural selection can push in
the direction of true selflessness.
emergence of reciprocity allowed humans to trade favors without being
A favor-giver learns to avoid blatant cheaters (those who
would accept a favor but not return it) while learning to prefer generous
reciprocators (those who return the biggest favor they can afford) over stingy
ones (those who return the smallest favor they can get away with).
Since it's good to be chosen as a recipient of favors, a competition
arises to appear to be the most generous partner around, since the favor-giver
can't literally read minds or see into the future.
A reputation for
fairness and generosity becomes an asset.
beneficiaries inflate their reputations the favor-giver must develop
ever-more-sensitive radar to distinguish the genuinely generous partners from
effective way to seem generous and fair, under harsh scrutiny, is to be
generous and fair.
In the long run a reputation can be secured only by
a commitment to be generous and fair.
Some agents evolve to be genuinely
high-minded and self-sacrificing -
they are moral not because of what it brings them but because that's the type
of people they have become.
"Just accept the fact that
holy books are the product of
human creativity, not divine revelation, and thus are subject to
all the errors, exaggerations and fabrications
as any other human effort.
the Old or New Testaments, the Quran or any
other religious tract contains passages
that are problematic, it's because the author was a flawed, imperfect
wasting time bending over backward to
the text is really saying, why not just
set the books down, shake your neighbor's hand, try to get along and just be
nice to everyone?" - Daniel Molitor
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