TED Conversations

Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind

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This conversation is closed.

It seems the conversationalists herein have relegated the golden rule to the world’s list of bad ideas.

With good arguments defending the golden rule, the original question-- Can TEDsters relegate the golden rule to its proper place (in the world’s list of bad ideas)?--would seem bigoted.
However, Matthieu thought supporting arguments were convincing.
Alas, that assessment did not prevail, so I revised the question to: Since people want to keep or “revive” the golden rule how is it to be applied? Some responses seemed to be: Within my limiting circle. Yet, as the conversation progressed, some participants seemed to consider alternatives. Some may have been persuaded by Lelsie’s complete arguments.
Leslie suggested the platinum rule, “do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them.” It requires discussion and succeeds on integrity and reciprocity. An “ego agenda” changes to “we-go agenda.” People learn “to be appropriately independent and interdependent.” To avoid self-contradiction, they’re blunt about personal preferences.
If a rule is necessary for humankind to discover peace, it seems Leslie has a pretty complete package.
Few TEDsters participated, but I am grateful to every participant; the group seemed to get the task accomplished. Interested people should read the conversation for useful details.
Please comment during the remaining time, as I do not plan to extend this discussion.
Phil

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    Oct 9 2011: I think the "golden rule" should be replaced with the "platinum rule" - do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them as opposed to "as YOU would have you do unto them." The golden rule implies we know what others want and/or need without even asking...or that they want/need what we want. The platinum rule requires us to actually communicate with others and ask about their needs and interests.
  • Oct 10 2011: As each drop of water come together to form an ocean,each individual has to put in his effort to
    contemplate without fear, bias and other external influences to search for the truth that existed,
    prevails and be there eternally:if you forget the color of our skin,if we remove the notion of
    nationality,be ego less of whatever possessions that you have and not let religion's divide us,
    WE ARE ALL ONE.
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      Oct 10 2011: vishneswar,
      That's what I'm talking about.
      Is this statement an alternative to the golden rule, an interpretation of it, or does it more or less put an old, bad rule into the book of obsolete ideas? Or do you see it some other way?
      Phil
      • Oct 11 2011: Golden rule is just one aspect(corollary) of what I have stated.
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          Oct 11 2011: Thanks, vishneswar. In your ideal, what is the statement of the golden rule?

          Is it supplemented by civic laws? Is there civic governance? If so, how is it authorized?

          Phil
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      Oct 10 2011: um Jesus? Is that you speaking? : ) Amazingly put! You captured the true simple core meaning of what it takes to unite and understand the complexity of the world by first understanding the simple things! Do you mind if I quote you? Your statement really made me smile.
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    Oct 12 2011: Well I'd love a world where everyone thought for themselves. :P I guess we just like clinging to hive minds. Even atheists all think the same thing.

    I like the fact that there are different ideologies floating around. But as long as we band together in this irrational competition of world views, there's always going to be in-group mentality. It's not going anywhere. Just look at politics.

    If the one universal truth we all agree on is that we're all living people capable of loving and feeling pain, that's fine by me. There's nothing egocentric about that, people just get lost trying to implement it.
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      Oct 12 2011: Fred, what wonderful thoughts: everyone think for themselves; we’re all in it together; that’s fine by me. (I’m no judge but simply agree with you.)
      Thank you and thanks again for that wonderful list—it’s better than Wikipedia’s article,
      Phil
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    Oct 12 2011: Phil, I'm I'm new to TED so I'm not sure I'd do a better job than you. But for years, I've attempted to move beyond the notion of "tolerance" - and actually find the notion of being "tolerant" of others somewhat offensive.

    To me, being tolerant of someone else's differences implies that I don't necessarily respect, value and/or appreciate them but that - for the sake of appearing politically correct/safe - I'm willing to "put up with them." This represents a very passive attitude that is closer to exclusion than it is to inclusion. I truly believe that valuing someone else's difference does NOT require us to discount our own.

    I lead a non-profit organization that serves kids ages 5-12 and encouraging inclusion vs. tolerance is one of our core values. When you have a minute, take a look at our All-American-Kid Diversity Thanksgiving Video at: http://youtu.be/BjvDpF2YvFA - to see what I mean re:valuing another's own culture without discounting one's own.
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      Oct 12 2011: Leslie, I like the video, especailly the screen with "E Pluribus Unum"

      I am glad I know Sam from Thailand, because he taught me to love Thai food. The children might enjoy making another video wherein presenters recognize someone who taught them a new food they like.
      BTW, Sam also taught me how to eat sashimi--gave me some trainer chop sticks--and I love it !

      I'll think more about that new TED conversation.

      Phil
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    Oct 12 2011: You're right about "contradicting ourselves to please others." In the long-run, doing so makes any relationship less than mutually beneficial. My closest friends and I practice "bluntly being ourselves." Our relationships have lasted for decades because we've learned to do be appropriately independent and interdependent, - cherishing our similarities as much our differences.
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      Oct 12 2011: Leslie, your posts just keep encouraging and instructing.

      I have been obsessed for perhaps five years with the insufficiency of “tolerance” and have a speech tracing its history. I started a TED conversation, recommending "respect" and learned so much about the broadness of the issue. No one approved of tolerance; appreciation and understanding were beyond respect; and several people said the world needs more intolerance. Your phrase, "bluntly being ourselves," is less severe than “intolerant.”

      I think a TED conversation on a range between those two terms for observing the platinum rule yet not contradicting self might be useful. Do you think so? If so, please start it, as I think you would do better with it than I would.
      Phil
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    Oct 9 2011: "How are these ideas practiced across circles of association—cultures, classes, politics, nations, religions?"

    Phil, I think children are more inclined to practice these ideas in general because they are more likely to see differences as "cool" as opposed to negative factors. Unfortunately, we adults teach them to attach a negative value to differences because of our political, class and religious beliefs. From both an individual and a national perspective, we're all going to have to learn how to be appropriately independent and interdependent.

    P.S. Thanks for the "thumbs up"...I'm new to TED and it was my first :)
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      Oct 9 2011: Leslie, thanks for another quotable idea: "From both an individual and a national perspective, we're all going to have to learn how to be appropriately independent and interdependent."

      I think you have expressed one secret to marriage, too, even though a couple have much more opportunity and incentives to understand each other.

      Phil

      The machine doesn't seem to allow another tumbs up, but I'm sendng one anyway.
      Phil
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    Oct 9 2011: My personal/professional mantra: relationships - the only human-generated source of energy on the planet...learn to value and manage them well.
    Again, this requires moving from an "ego agenda" to a "we-go agenda."
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      Oct 9 2011: These are great ideas: “do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them,” and a “we-go agenda.”
      How are these ideas practiced across circles of association—cultures, classes, politics, nations, religions?
      Phil
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    Oct 8 2011: Original:
    Humankind has matured beyond the golden rule, an old, egocentric idea.
    In all its forms the golden rule does not consider what the other party prefers--is egocentric (borrowed from friend Hugh Finklea). Everyone is, subtly or not, intolerant of another’s egocentricity: The golden rule is impractical.
    The golden rule would compete with the rule of law. People contract services and expect delivery—no more, no less. Neighbors expect neighborliness-no more no less.
    Some forms of the golden rule may seem helpful. For example, in dialogue a person might wonder, “Do you believe in God?” However, he/she might withhold, reflecting, “I would not want to answer that.” Nevertheless, the rules fail when the recipient dislikes behavior the doer likes.
    It seems the positive form of the golden rule (historically late) was a revision of older, negative forms to support, “Have you accepted my religion?” The positive form would justify the Great Commission.
    The golden rule is stifling—a form of censorship. It influences people to be tolerant when they should be intolerant; e.g., among 60 people at a fitness center, two on adjacent treadmills each wearing earphones and watching sports replays on TV frequently remark about the play in loud voices. Fifty-eight people tolerate the disturbance.
    Sometimes, you don’t know how you would like to be treated--don’t know how to treat.
    There are objections online; e.g., see http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/golden.rule.html , http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/et/et-08-04.htm , & http://bigthink.com/ideas/6871 .
    This idea relates to separation of church and state. Throughout evolution of humankind, politicians and the clergy have used religion to obtain power over the people. (See Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” 1532, which seems written in irony to help save his head.) However, religion is a private endeavor—not the province of governance. I radically oppose people who use people’s religious preferences to gain political power.
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    Oct 6 2011: Some fairly sound objections. I think you have me convinced!
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      Oct 6 2011: Hee hee !
      Your brevity prompted me to read every word of the presentation. :-)
      Phil
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    Oct 12 2011: I'm fictna head out to the fitness center and just want to close with a little celebration, thanks to the Jive Aces:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXvJ8UquYoo

    Phil
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    Oct 12 2011: Hey Phil & everyone involved in this conversation,

    In the idea incubator section of TED, there's a conversation going on about what TED members can do to Celebrate International Children's Day on November 24th. The basic idea is provided below (in English & Spanish...your participation is greatly encouraged! Just imagine if every TED member did at least one special thing to help even one child on International Children's Day!

    Leslie


    I was thinking we might start a blog & conversation ask all TED members to specify at least one action they will commit to doing on International Children's Day to improve the lives of children in their respective communities. In that manner, people can participate in a way that best suits their individual/organizational needs and interests. On the actual day, we can ask participants to say what they did and how many children were impacted by their actions AND total the number of children worldwide who benefited from our concerted efforts.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Yo estaba pensando que podríamos iniciar un blog y una conversación pedir a todos los miembros de TED para especificar al menos una acción que se comprometen a hacer en el Día Internacional de la Infancia para mejorar las vidas de los niños en sus respectivas comunidades. De esa manera, las personas pueden participar en la forma que mejor se adapte a sus necesidades individuales / organizacionales e intereses. En el día actual, podemos pedir a los participantes a decir lo que hizo y cómo muchos niños se vieron afectados por sus acciones y el total del número de niños en el mundo que se benefician de nuestros esfuerzos concertados.
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    Oct 12 2011: Clearing for a final statement on 10/12/11:
    Since people want to keep, or “revive,” the golden rule, how is it to be applied?
    People are not going to have the same inspiration and motivation; the same culture; the same nation; the same politics; the same abilities; the same property.
    How can humanity apply the golden rule--change from rhetoric to practice?

    Is it collective consciousness—all people are in it together? If so, what are the shared goals? Do the goals include justice, peace, defense, prosperity, the privilege of liberty, and continuity for posterity?
    Is the object of the shared goals each person’s opportunity to live in peace while each establishes and practices personal preferences?

    Is it true that most people just want to live in peace according to their personal preferences?
    Is there something else people want from people?

    Ed: changed "tranquility" to "peace."
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    Oct 12 2011: Great idea! Perhaps we'll introduce the idea to our members and our facebook followers in the future. The kids in my family LOVE eating everything with chopsticks...we're a pretty diverse group - African American, Latino, French, Korean, Native American and English. Their respective lives would be boring without the cultural infusions they've had from other people - YIKES! - they'd really be unhappy with the idea of no pizza, tacos, bagels, bulgogi
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    Oct 12 2011: Thanks Nicholas!
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    Oct 12 2011: Great idea! Perhaps we'll introduce the idea to our members and our facebook followers in the future. The kids in my family LOVE eating everything with chopsticks...we're a pretty diverse group - African American, Latino, French, Korean, Native American and English. Their respective lives would be boring without the cultural infusions they've had from other people - YIKES! - they'd really be unhappy with the idea of no pizza, tacos, bagels, bulgogi, sushi, baklava, hummus, won ton soup, etc.
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    Oct 12 2011: I believe the "golden rule" had some illuminated short comings.

    The "silver rule" corrects those.
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      Oct 12 2011: Nicholas, I appreciate your thought and hope you’ll consider Leslie’s (below).
      The silver rule is restrictive and thereby is an improvement over the aggressive golden rule. However, the silver rule is still egocentric in that it focuses on your experience and expectations and not those of the other party.
      Leslie proposes the platinum rule: do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them; if compliance would require you to contradict yourself, you bluntly yet kindly state your position, depending upon the situation. For example, visiting New Orleans with family and friends when some proposed visiting a casino, I said, “I don’t go in casinos, but you all go ahead and I’ll catch up after you leave.” I went on to Latrobe Park, where I had my first ever N.O. weird encounter. A homeless guy urinated on the walkway, and the guy next to me yelled, “You pervert! Get out of my park!” The guy zipped up and ran away.

      One other point. It seems to me the TEDsters who support the golden rule do so for their particular circle of influence, predominantly Christianity, with the small sample herein. They drop out of the conversation when asked to expand their considerations. In a perfect group, the golden rule works fine, yet even in a small society there is imperfection. But the serious problems kick in when you try to apply the golden rule in any of its many forms within the larger society--humankind.

      I am gravitating back to a form of my original statement: Let’s retire the golden rule, an ancient, bad idea; the platinum rule confronts the issues.

      Please comment,
      Phil
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        Oct 12 2011: Platinum rule, rules.

        I did not read others comments and when I Ctrl F('d) I didn't find "silver" so I considered it "original" here.

        I stand corrected, very ingenious. Very cognitive.
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    Oct 11 2011: When you ask people how they want to be treated and then treat them accordingly, that's the platinum rule in application. It requires communication as opposed to assumptions but sometimes - as humans - we side-step the communications part and assume that others want to be treated just like we want to be treated.
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      Oct 12 2011: Right. And sometimes, we contradict ourselves to please others. We are not accustomed to bluntly being ourselves. For example, with friends, we might avoid rocking the boat by going into a casino even though we are committed to stay away.

      I am reminded: We have to learn “to be appropriately independent and interdependent.”
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    Oct 11 2011: Hey Phil...I don't really think a problem exists. If a friend wants you to do something that goes against your personal grain, I think it's important to let them know that whatever that activity is happens to be something you choose not to support. A true friend applying the platinum rule would not ask you to do something that conflicts with your needs, interests, beliefs and/or principals.

    Think about this: if your friend was a recovering alcoholic, would you invite them to to accompany you to a bar or a wine tasting event? Probably not. In that particular situation, you'd say to your friend "Hey, you know that's not for me, but you go if you want to and we'll catch up with each other later."
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      Oct 11 2011: Leslie, I understand. The platinum rule needs reciprocity and integrity.
      Thanks,
      Phil
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    Oct 10 2011: Cool beans! Have a great day, Phil.
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      Oct 11 2011: Leslie,
      I am bothered by one aspect of the platinum rule and realized just now you might be able to help me through it. It is a question of self-contradiction in the process of applying the rule.

      For example, in my town, we have casinos. I do not frequent them and encourage people not to go: someone who plays in casinos “picks his own pocket.” If a visitor insists on going, I drive them to the entrance then pick them up when they call. However, suppose I am the guest of someone in their town and they want me to accompany them to a casino for a night of fun on their bill? How do I apply the platinum rule and stay true to my desire to stay out of casinos?

      I ask this because 1) you have taught me so much already and 2) I am anticipating my closing statement for this TED conversation.

      If you agree it’s a problem, it does not diminish the priority of the platinum rule versus the golden rules I’ve seen.

      Phil
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    Oct 10 2011: its rarely a case when advice is given, is it actually followed (advice alone). The reason people feel like they should give advice, is because they themselves, have experienced an event, where they were presented with a problem and were ignorant about the effects of their decision. The reason people seldom follow advice is because, they have no relation to the scenario and their emotions of their wants are greater. So what im trying to say is that no matter what the golden rule states, nothing will be done with it, if it is stated alone. Actions speak louder than words. The discovery of mirror neurons show a scientifc correlation between actions observed and instinct. So if we act how we want people to act, and we are successful in our actions, then those that observed us will instinctually act that way. Now what if those don't act in a universally accepted "good" way? then over time if not right away, the action will cause a decline in the well being of the individual. of course heres the bitch part about this thread.....why believe what i say?
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      Oct 10 2011: chandra, your concern seems universal: a person can learn a rule within their culture and think they understand it, but when they encounter someone from another culture feel uninformed about how to act.
      Also, it seems humans have in common the assumption that if they treat others with empathy, the others will eventually perceive the benefits (justice, peace, and the privilege of liberty) and begin to behave empathetically. And since so many people are misbehaving, there seems to be an overall decline in behavior.
      Finally, we understand a person’s motives by their behavior more than their thoughts.
      It is remarkable to me that the trend you indicate may be true for human behavior toward humans only. Recently, particular cultures have stopped or are re-considering long held traditions: a dog eating festival, bull fighting, and chicken-slaughter ceremonies. Yet, notice the demonstrations going on around the world demanding governance of the people by the people and for the people—it’s even happening in America, with the Wall Street sit ins.
      We may be in a more hopeful time than we realize.
      Please comment. Especially, correct me if I did not understand something you wrote—I re-write not to deny your words, but to give you the chance to correct my misunderstanding.
      Phil
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        Oct 10 2011: Phillip i feel i that i didn't adequately address the question that was asked, so thats why i think you misinterperated what i said. To answer the original question, i think that people have both points of views about peace is, collective and individual. I believe it is collective for the reason that if you want just individual peace, yet you fail to awknoledge the community, they you will have a hard time finding peace, that is unless you move to tibet and seek peace for motives of spiritual enlightenment. excluding the dali lama, we all have to realize we are party of society so failure to live ones life accordingly is a statement that you don't care and should have no judgement about what happens to you. Its been seen in histroy with the story of christ, and a more modern individual Gandhi. Both Acted not simply preached and Nations were changed, which changed the world.
        I would also like to agree with you about how the times were in are showing people striving for change, but the problem here is that mass media only shows the negative side. If a population could be cut off from mass media then their efforts would have a greater efficacy, but until then even though we see them doing good, others are brought back down in motivation by still hearing negative stories even if those stories have little social impact. its in our nature to recall the bad not the good. * I also have ADD and its hard for me to transcribe my thoughts to type in a linear manor so i apologize if my logic is hard to follow.
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          Oct 10 2011: chandra, Jesus and Ganhi effected change. Socrates submitted life to obey unjust law. Martin Luther King, Jr., showed sacrificial leadership effects stepwise, needed improvement.
          However, none of them engendered lasting peace. Lasting change--peace--could occur one person at a time. With TED, one at a time could happen before my afterdeath.
          I am one: I took for granted the golden rule applied within my Christian sect until members of my sect told my Christian wife she would go to hell because she did not follow our sect. I re-examined my ideas. Then, I first saw the egocentricity of the golden rule and wrote about it.
          Today, I resist tribalism, one experience at a time--one person at a time. For example, a neighbor who lives nearby recently wrote that he had “dusted off his shoes,” after learning that I prefer other religious views for me yet support his for him. I asked if we were still good neighbors; his response was not reassuring. For him, treat others as you would like to be treated as long as they profess your religion and sect. Otherwise, the other gets dusted.
          Neither Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., nor anyone has been able to discourage the dusting corollary to the golden rule. They did not draw their circle large enough, or if they did, their promoters drew an exclusive circle.
          So, you might say I advocate a grass roots rejection of the golden rule in favor of something like Leslie’s “independence and interdependence” or Chrisopher Chalfant’s “Collective Consciousness,” the sense that we are all in it together. I think you are suggesting a similar idea. Let me know if I understand--or not.
          Phil
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          Oct 11 2011: Hello, chandra, I see that I am worthy of a little dust, and that's ok. There are lots of ways to look at this, but basically, it seems to me you and I do not agree: no human is in a position to dust other humans and it is sad when they think they can. As a fundamentalist in faith in reality, I am intolerent of other people's dust--the dark side of the golden rule.
          I hope you will respnd to my intolerance.
          Phil
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    Oct 10 2011: Phil, Thanks for sharing...now I have a 3rd version of this wonderful idea that I like and (with your permission) will share with others. Have a good night. Leslie
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      Oct 10 2011: Leslie,

      Yes indeed. Please share it. I would not mind people knowing I care that much about the ideas in the poem. It's one of the chief ideas that helped me forty years ago.

      Phil
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    Oct 10 2011: Phil, when I mentioned that we were fueled by God, internet air and passion, it was a nice way of saying we have never had any money but we do the work and accomplish the results just the same.

    We hope that the children whose live we touch will not be afraid to say "I do not know" and that not knowing will inspire them to pursue more information and seek to expand their relationships rather than perpetuate stereotypes that have been handed down to them by uninformed adults - parents, teachers, politicians, religious leaders, etc. Not knowing is not the problem. Not seeking to know more is.

    LOL, I grew up in a "so whoever cooks does not wash dishes" household and since I hate washing dishes, I became a very good cook - just so family and friends would ask me to cook and I'd rarely have to wash the dishes.

    BTW..Gibran's."On Children" is my ALL-TIME favorite poem. We use it on the parent's page of our website and from the start of our organization in 2004 have opened our board meetings with the vocal rendition of it performed by Sweet Honey In The Rock: http://youtu.be/HCVvoL_F5gA

    Nice to meet a kindred spirit on so many different levels! Let's stay in touch...I like how you think!
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      Oct 10 2011: Leslie, thank you so much for the song.
      While I like Gibran's poem, I don't think the theism helps the message and wrote a secular adaptation I hope you will like:

      [Your children] are with you yet they belong not to you.
      You give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
      You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
      For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

      Yes. And TED is such a great way to stay in touch--learn by sharing.

      Good evening.

      Phil
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    Oct 10 2011: There's a poster that can be seen hanging in a lot of hospitals:

    In Christianity:

    "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." - Jesus, Matthew 7:12

    In Judaism:

    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary." - Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

    In Islam:

    "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself." - Muhammad, Hadith

    In the Baha'i Faith:

    "Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself." - Baha'u'llah, Gleanings

    In Hinduism:

    "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you." - Mahabharata 5:1517

    In Buddhism:

    "Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." - Udana-Varga 5.18

    In Confucianism:

    "One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct... loving kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself." - Confucius, Analects 15.23

    In Taoism:

    "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." - T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien, 213-218

    In Sikhism:

    "I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all." - Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299

    In Unitarianism:

    "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." - Unitarian principle

    In Native Spirituality:

    "We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive." - Chief Dan George

    In Zoroastrianism:

    "Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself." - Shayast-na-Shayat 13.29

    In Jainism:

    "One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated." - Mahavira, Sutrakritanga
    ---

    It seems hard-wired into the human experience.
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      Oct 10 2011: So is mankind doomed by the golden rule? Are the advocates of these differnet versions destined to apply their versions within their group and castigate people outside their group?

      Is it an old, bad rule that should be dropped?

      If not, to whom does it apply?

      How does the theist treat the atheist and vice versa? How does the group that surrenders to Jesus treat the group that submits to Allah and vice versa?

      Did you see Leslie's version, "do unto others at They would have you to do unto them?"

      Thanks for your help.

      Phil
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        Oct 10 2011: Well honestly I see a lot of differences between religious scriptures and the dogmas that follow them. Maybe part of the reason is because religion is a person's (or movement's) relationship to these scriptures, opening the door for all kinds of outside influences of the human experience (politics, fear, culture...). Identifying with an in-group is a behavior that predates all religions and isn't even uniquely human.

        So while Jesus was all-loving and all-forgiving, King Richard wasn't, and neither are many supposed Christians today. But many are. I've been to countless bible studies as a non-Christian and have found much love and acceptance, if only with the hope that someday I'd convert. Some faiths are really open. The Hare Krishnas think just about every path is great, but just that their path is the greatest.

        I don't think the golden rule should be dropped, and I wouldn't want to live in a world where it was. Nor do I see Leslie's version as any different than the original. The problem has never been people following the rule, only people forgetting it.
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          Oct 10 2011: Fred, you raise some interesting points.
          First, the rule seems problematic, but the problem is more with application than with the rule; it relates to in-group behavior. (May I add that that is an old behavior that should be discouraged?)

          For example, there is love at bible study groups, perhaps to win your over. And another group likes all paths, especially theirs.

          What would be wrong with a world where these group differentiations were not practiced?

          I agree, Leslie's rule is problematic when you draw circles of exclusion smaller than the community of living beings. However, it does call attention to the egocentricity of the golden rule. Which of the rules you generously provided is the original?

          People remembering is important. However, what is it they remember. It seems you've made the case they are remembering to favor their in-group.

          I appreciate your concerns for the future.

          Phil
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    Oct 9 2011: Thanks, Phil...
    I lead an organization called KitchenKids! (the name is based on the fact that throughout history, the kitchen has been the original play and learning station for children - regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality and/or socio-economic status). At KitchenKids! we design edu-tainment resources to teach kids ages 5-12 how to be both independent and interdependent; and, our ultimate goal is to help grow kids into adults who will think children...think frugal...think inclusion...think humanitarian...and pay it forward.

    It's a lofty idea but not unobtainable and a small group of us - fueled by God, internet air and passion - have been embarked on this mission for the past 7 years. In March 2011, we launched an eLearning website that now serves kids in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Johannesburg, South Africa and -soon - Liberia and India. They represent various nations, ethnic groups, religious groups and socio-economic backgrounds but they (and their parents) are linked by a passion to learn how to value one another without having to discount their own uniqueness.

    I am the organization's "chief imagination officer" which basically means I'm the head-kid-in-charge. From the right side of my brain, I lead a diversity and inclusion consulting firm that develops organizational strategies and transformation processes.

    Both my right and left brain activities live by this mantra:" Relationships are the only human-generated source of energy on the planet, so we need to learn how to value and manage them well." If we take this notion into any type of relationship - marriage, business, friendship, etc. - there's a greater than 50% chance that the outcome will be mutually beneficial for all parties.
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      Oct 10 2011: Leslie,
      I understand why your thoughts are so developed. Congratulations on your creativity, accomplishments, and experiences.

      When I retired, I realized I could not afford for my wife to retire from the kitchen, so whoever cooks does not wash dishes. Often I cook or prepare fresh vegetables.

      Although your group is fueled by God, there are among the children some who will become adults who, upon studying the unknown and reaching understanding, admit to self, “I do not know,” then publicly state, “I do not know.” How can the platinum rule be operative for them?

      Phil

      BTW, a favorite poem is Kahlil Gibran, Children: http://www.katsandogz.com/onchildren.html .
      Phil
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    Oct 7 2011: This morning, I recall my first encounter with heresy.

    At age 45, I studied religion with elder men, that day Ephesians 4, which reminded me that church businessmen seemed to think they should serve me: I should buy insurance from the insurance man, haircuts from the barber, and so on. Favoritism was being discussed.
    I don’t trust clicks: we’re all in it together--all people of the past, present, and future.
    I was deeply thinking when the teacher said, “Phil. Share with us.”
    I responded, “I think we should be so good that people who happen to notice our behavior will approach us.”
    They’ll say, “I am impressed with your goodness and want to know what inspires it.”
    We’ll say, “I follow Jesus’ teachings.”
    If they don’t know, we’ll tell them about Jesus.
    Christians should mutually promote Jesus’ teachings. Otherwise, we should treat other people equally.
    The teacher asked the class, “Would anyone comment on this heresy?”
    No one responded. I considered not returning to class, but decided to support my position. No one mentioned my heresy.
    About four weeks later, I approached the teacher in private and asked him to explain my heresy. He responded, “Phil, I just do not agree with you and want to leave it that way.”

    I became aware I was establishing my preferences.

    Phil
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    Oct 6 2011: The golden rule " do unto others as you would do unto yourself" is not based in any know religious text. It is really a maxim used by parents most of the time. Judges, I do not think, would ever consider it a rule law, maybe a rule of social contract to help people have a guide line for interpersonal relationships. Let me borrow your example of the people in the gym. In application I have to ask myself how would I like some one to ask me to speak softer about listening and not disrupting others work outs. They could politely tap me on the shoulder and explain their feelings, they coud yell at me, or they could rip the head phones off my ears and scream at me. I would prefer that they politely tap me on the shoulder and explain. I cannot forsee some one wanting to be physically attacked. Thus, applying the golden rule as a filter helps keep the politeness in this situation.I do not see it as a rule that allows me to treat others, or be treated as a door mat. Rather, it should make us all think first about how we will act towards others. I would not throw it on the trash heap as yet. Maybe remove the Political Correctness aspects of it would be helpful. Maybe if everyone applied it instead of those who only thought of their own good it might actually help us keep a more civil society and a whole lot less of the political back biting news that we hear during election time. Just some thoughts to share
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      Oct 6 2011: Hello, James, I appreciate your thoughts.
      But find myself uncomfortable.

      It is unnecessary to be uniformed about common information. If on google.com you enter “do unto others as you would do unto yourself,” you learn about the first two sources: 1) Wikipedia, which lists the many, religious sources of the rule, and 2) Matthew 7:12 (the Bible). The Wikipedia article reports the rule’s recorded history, but usage probably is as old as language, perhaps on the order of 100,000 years (search “origin of language”).

      Not all parents consider the golden rule worthwhile—some even consider it harmful, as I do, so some parents don’t teach it.

      About the example: Once you decide two huge jerks with headphones yelling at each other in public should not be tolerated, you have three options: go tell the teenaged receptionist to come to the aerobics room and tell them they are disturbing the peace; grin and bear it; or happily tell them they are disturbing the peace—no frown, no apology, no meanness, no excuse that you are speaking for others, and by all means no thought of violence—just straight-forward intolerance. No need for complicated rules—just simple intolerance. (The two guys said, “Have a good day,” and stopped disturbing the peace.)
      I wish my mom had taught me intolerance instead of confusing me with the golden rule; I know how to appreciate peacemakers and do not want to belong to a cult.

      Judges do whatever they wish in their courts—even defy the US Constitution, especially its essence, the Preamble to the US Constitution. Most Americans defy the Preamble.

      Our politicians need to sense intolerance, but that’s up to the voters. I don’t think we need the golden rule for those decisions.
      It seems you merely comment and will not reconsider the rule—not my business. If you change your mind, please let us know. At this point, I must conclude that the answer to my question is, “No.” An answer is an answer.
      Phil
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        Oct 7 2011: I appreciate all you have had to say. I must say that I have always used the rule in dealing with others and have never had it backfire on me yet and I am 60. Yet, each of us must find our own way in the world and I honor your choice and honor your beliefs. Thanks for a good discussion of the topic and I wish you peace.
        James